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*Can Dogs Eat Dragon Fruit?*
We’re always happy and thrilled to try out new food or fruit. It can even be more pleasing to make new additions to your dog’s diet such as exotic fruits.
The reasons for this might vary for everyone. It might be that you want to up some nutrients in your dog’s diet or a low-calorie snack they can enjoy without weight changes.
Aside from the reason, determining if the fruit is safe or toxic for your pup can be an uphill task. It is even more so for such a bizarre lookout and spiky fruit like dragon fruit.
If your dog accidentally ate one, you might be frantically surfing the web in search of whether it is toxic or not. Relax, you’re already here, and would get to know how dragon fruit affects your dog.
A little tip; it’s not harmful. However, let’s first take a look at what dragon fruit is.
What Are Dragon Fruits?
Dragon fruit otherwise known as pitaya or strawberry pear is a fruit that grows on a cactus plant. It is native to Mexico and Central America, although it is now grown worldwide.
The most common type has white pulp with black seeds. There are other varieties, like red pulp and black seeds, or yellow skin, white pulp, and back seeds. They are named based on these colors, hence red, yellow, or pink dragon fruit.
While dragon fruits may look bizarre, they really have good taste. It has been said to taste like a sweet cross between a pear and a kiwi.
Can Dogs Eat Dragon Fruit?
This is probably the part you’re eager to read. Well, yes they can. Dragon fruits will not be toxic to your furry friend.
However, when it comes to dogs, everything must be given in moderation. Dragon fruit is no exception. Feeding your dog too much at once can lead to unprecedented problems.
You would be happy to know that dragon fruit is a low-calorie but nutrient-dense and tasty fruit. Therefore eaten in moderation, this fruit can benefit your dog in many ways.
Besides moderation, another important factor is preparation. You have to feed dragon fruit to your dog the right way. This involves removing the spiky and leathery skin. It is difficult to digest in your dog’s gut. We’ll talk more about preparation later.
Do Dogs Like Eating Dragon Fruit?
As a canine, dogs tend to prefer food with a tougher texture. As a result, the soft texture of dragon fruit does not appeal to all dogs.
However, due to the sweet nature of this fruit, many dogs eventually come around to like them. Only you know your pup best, therefore you’ll know whether he likes the fruit or not.
Some pointers that show that your pooch is interested in dragon fruit are;
- Staring at you or the fruit as you eat it
- Tail wagging
- Alert, whining, and raised ears
- Licking lips
- Giving you doll eyes
Once you notice these things, then it is likely your dog is interested in dragon fruit. You might as well go ahead and let him try. However, remember not to make it a regular occurrence because it carries risks.
Nutritional Value Of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit with a sweet and savory taste. It is low-calorie yet nutrient-packed. It is a very good source of vitamins and micronutrients for your pooch.
The picture below gives a breakdown of the nutritional content of this exotic fruit. As you can see, it contains very essential nutrients that can help keep your pup healthy.
Health Benefits Of Dogs Eating Dragon Fruit
After reading the nutritional value of dragon fruit, you already know it has a lot to offer your pooch. Now let’s break it down for you.
It’s important to always watch what your dog eats each day. This is to prevent feeding him excess calories every day and end up risking obesity.
Fortunately, dragon fruit has low-calorie content and therefore is ideal for dogs. This means your pup can enjoy a moderate portion of dragon fruit without going above his daily caloric needs.
To put it in view; if your dog eats 100g of dragon fruit, he only gains 60 calories. And that’s probably less than his daily requirement. However, remember not to feed him that amount daily.
High Fibre Content
Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health, both for humans and dogs. It will enhance bowel movement and prevent constipation in your pooch. That’s something you don’t want to witness.
Vitamin C has been known to perform lots of functions in the human body, and it does the same in a dog too. It brings about its effect through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
However, dogs can synthesize vitamin C on their own. Even at that, a little extra won’t hurt but help the body function better. The excess that isn’t needed by the body can be passed out in the stool.
Regular consumption of a diet containing iron can do a lot for your dog’s health. Iron is necessary for blood production, therefore if deficient can lead to anemia and other problems associated with low hemoglobin levels.
However, with sufficient consumption of iron-rich food, your pup’s blood system will be robust and can easily transport oxygen to all parts of his body. Therefore eating dragon fruit now and then can benefit your dog.
It is common knowledge that calcium is a necessary nutrient for bone growth and skeletal maturity. Most humans even take calcium supplements to make up for its lack in their meals.
Calcium does not only work in the bones. It also aids in nerve conduction, heart function, blood clotting, and muscular contraction. Therefore calcium deficiency will definitely affect a lot of systems in your pup and rapidly bring him down.
Therefore occasional consumption of dragon fruit can help supplement whatever amount of calcium your pup is getting from his diet.
Many would think every fat is bad, but that’s not true. Your pup needs fatty acids to function optimally. The seeds of dragon fruit happen to contain certain fatty acids that dogs can’t produce on their own and have to take in as food. They are linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acid.
Food packed with healthy fatty acids is important for your dog’s growth, immune system, and healthy skin and coat.
Risks Associated With Dogs Eating Dragon Fruit
In as much as we’ve said that dragon fruit has a lot of good to do for your pooch, there are risks or problems associated with it. However, these problems only manifest when you start feeding dragon fruit to your dog in excess.
Dogs generally have a sensitive digestive system, some more than others. Therefore you must be careful with what you introduce to your pup’s diet.
A large amount of sugary food like dragon fruit can irritate your dog’s gut and cause stomach upset, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you’ve ever been to the dentist for dental caries or cavities, then you know it’s best to avoid sugary food. The same goes for dogs too.
When you regularly feed dragon fruit to your dog, it can predispose him to gum disease and tooth decay. Therefore it is best to leave sugary food like dragon food as once in a while treat. You have to resist the urge to satisfy your dog’s sweet tooth.
Continuous consumption of dragon fruit can lead to the accumulation of sugar in your dog’s body and hence unhealthy weight gain. Obesity isn’t just about weight anymore, it affects many systems in the body.
It can lead to deterioration in joint health, and heart function and even predispose your pup to diabetes mellitus. Obesity is preventable therefore you wouldn’t want to please your pup at the expense of his future health status.
Hair, Coat, And Skin
Hair and skin are maintained thanks to several hormones secreted by the endocrine system. Excess sugar in your dog’s body can disrupt this system and cause havoc.
This can result in the hair of your dog falling off and unhealthy skin. You definitely don’t want that.
Best Way To Feed Dragon Fruit To Your Dog
The best thing about dragon fruit is that it does not require further preparation like cooking or steaming. Well, it’s a fruit and the best way to eat ii is natural and fresh.
First of all, you’d want to know if your dog actually enjoys dragon fruit. Just cut a small part of the soft flesh and feed it to your dog.
As I said earlier, many dogs prefer food with tough texting therefore will pass on dragon fruit. However, if your dog happens to like dragon fruit, let’s move on to preparation.
It is best to slice off the pink leather skin. This is because it is not edible and is challenging to digest, therefore can result in stomach upset.
Once you’ve peeled off the skin, cut the mushy part into tiny pieces and leave it for your dog to enjoy. Remember you shouldn’t cook it or even attempt to add spices. Many spices are toxic to dogs.
If your dog likes dragon fruit but still finds it difficult handling the soft and mushy texture. Then cut up the fruit into tiny pieces and put it into the refrigerator to get frozen. This is especially helpful during summer to keep your dog cool.
How Much Dragon Fruit Can Dogs Eat?
As I’ve said earlier, problems only arise when you are sucked into pleasing your dog by satisfying his sweet tooth. Dragon fruit should only be used as a treat and not regular feeds.
Once you encourage continuous consumption of this fruit, then you’re begging for problems. At most give your dog a moderate portion once every week and you’re good.
What Are The Alternatives?
If your dog loves dragon fruit, I’m sure you’ll start looking for other similar fruit your dog will enjoy as well. It’s better than giving him processed sugars for sure.
Bottom Line: Can Dogs Eat Dragon Fruit?
Yes, they can. Dragon fruits are natural sources of sugar, it is low calorie yet nutrient-dense. You will not run into problems once you apply moderation when feeding this fruit to your dog.
This exotic fruit is not toxic to dogs and can serve as a treat for your pup. It contains several essential vitamins and micronutrients that can do wonders for your dog’s health.
Always remember to start gradually when you’re introducing a new food or fruit in this case into your dog’s diet. Once you notice signs of stomach upset, then you have to stop and maybe consult your vet.
Another point of note is that dragon fruit is quite expensive, therefore you shouldn’t let your pup get addicted to it. It won’t fare well for your dog and your pocket.
Basically, dragon fruit is a safe treat for dogs and causes no harm when consumed in moderation.
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