Incorporating fruits into your dog’s diet is always a good idea to add variation while providing your pup with added vitamins and minerals.
However, we should also be mindful of what we are putting in our dog’s food bowls since they cannot safely eat all of these healthy human foods. And one of the most nutrient-dense fruits that we may be tempted to offer our pup is dragon fruit. But, can dogs eat dragon fruit?
Can You Give Your Dog Dragon Fruit?
Dragon Fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya, is an exotic fruit grown from several different species of cactus indigenous to North, South, and Central America.
This sweet fruit was then brought to other countries in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Today, this non toxic sweet and juicy fruit is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, as well as in India, Southeast Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, and the United States.
One look at its weird appearance can either lure you to taste this tropical fruit or encourage you to keep your distance. And the same sentiment can be shared by your curious canine companion. But, just in case your dog ends up eating this spiky pink fruit, you have nothing to worry about since dogs can safely eat dragon fruit.
This tropical fruit is one of nature’s weirdest, yet most beautiful and tasty offerings. From its alien-like red spiky leathery skin to its white flesh or light pink flesh, the dragon fruit is both stunning and delicious. Its tiny black seeds scattered on its tasty white flesh also create a “cookies and cream-like” appearance that makes it more irresistible.
Dragon fruit also has a lot of health benefits that both you and your pup can enjoy. However, if you feed dragon fruit to your canine friends, make sure to just keep it in moderation.
If dogs eat too much of these exotic fruits, they can have stomach upset which can cause loose stools. Also, when feeding dragon fruit to your dog, don’t forget to remove its skin since it can be difficult for him to digest.
Do Dog Likes Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit flesh is soft and almost mushy, so, expect that most dogs will not enjoy eating it. However, since it’s a sweet fruit, some dogs will learn to love it, too, eventually, once they are used to it.
If you know that your dog hates mushy foods, you may want to slice the dragon fruit flesh first into bite-size pieces and freeze them before offering them as treats. This is especially great during summer to provide your dog with a refreshing, crunchy, and healthy snack.
When you are giving dragon fruit for the first time, you may want to observe your dog’s body for signs indicating whether he likes it or not. Below are some body indicators that will alert you that your dog is interested in dragon fruits:
- Looking at you or at the fruit as you eat it
- Eats the fruit with excitement
- Wags his tail, or keeps his tail upright while eating dragon fruit
- Alert, whining and raised ears
- Licking his lips
- Begs for more by raising his ears or by barking
- Pawing at your legs while eating or holding the dragon fruit
If you notice any of these attention-grabbing behaviors while you are eating dragon fruit, it’s totally fine to give your dog a small piece to see if he really likes it. If he eats it all and comes back for more, then, he is definitely into it.
But again, remember to only give your dog dragon fruit occasionally and in moderation. If he doesn’t like it, it’s okay, too. There are a lot of other healthy options that you can choose from. Perhaps, your dog would love a slice of fresh pineapple, instead.
Dragon Fruit and Dogs
Depending on where they were grown and cultivated, dragon fruits could come in different colors. And the good thing is that all types of dragon fruit are safe for dogs to consume.
However, the risks of indigestion, as well as choking are always there when offering your dog this tropical fruit with its leathery skin still intact.
Pink Dragon Fruit
This is the most common out of all the types of dragon fruits out there. As its name suggests, pink dragon fruit has a bright reddish-pink skin with spiky yellow leaves, bright pink flesh or white flesh, and tiny black seeds. Pink dragon fruits with vivid pink and white flesh mainly come from Vietnam, while those that feature deep to light pink flesh are mainly grown in countries in Central America like Nicaragua and Ecuador.
Red Dragon Fruit
Red dragon fruit is like Pink Dragon Fruit except that its flesh has an orange-red hue. Dogs are also allowed to eat red dragon fruit as this is non-toxic and safe for them to consume. Just like the other dragon fruits, this type features tiny, crunchy black seeds that dogs can safely eat. Red dragon fruit can be enjoyed all year in Central America, including the Costa Rica region. This fruit contains minerals, potassium & fiber that are all good for dogs.
Purple Dragon Fruit
Purple dragon fruit is also safe for dogs to consume. Not only is this variant visually appealing, but it’s also tasty and packed with folate and antioxidant betalain. It is also high in beta-carotene, which is good for your dog’s eyes. And just like the pink and red dragon fruits, this type also has a bright reddish-pink skin. However, it features a striking fuchsia to purple flesh from the inside.
Yellow Dragon Fruit
The colorful Yellow Dragon Fruit is suitable for your canine friends’ consumption, as well. This type is native to South America. It is known for its bright yellow skin, and white flesh stuffed with tiny black seeds. Compared with red, pink, and purple dragon fruits, this type has a higher Vitamin C content.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
While it is not recommended for dogs to consume dragon fruits in large quantities, they can safely eat dragon fruit and enjoy its taste and nutritional benefits when taken in moderation.
High Levels of Calcium and Iron
A correct calcium intake should keep your dog active all day long! Calcium is essential to forming bone and skeletal structures. So, giving your dog small portions of this healthy fruit will keep your dog's bones healthy and strong. Calcium can also be helpful for the cardiovascular system and the nervous system. It is also good for appropriate blood coagulation and muscle health.
Regularly consuming iron-rich whole foods like ripe dragon fruits is a good way to improve your dog's health. A good iron level will help develop red blood cells that circulate oxygen to the body. Red blood cell therapy can help prevent fatigue and anemia.
Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory qualities and may help improve cognitive functions. Vitamin C can be helpful for dogs in reducing their chances of having cancer or heart disease. Unlike humans, dogs can produce their Vitamin C. However, a little extra can be beneficial to the immune system, and excesses will be eliminated by the body.
Rich in Omega Fatty Acids
The seeds of dragon fruits also contain plenty of nutrients that can aid with dogs' digestion. They are incredibly high in linoleic acid or omega-6 fatty acids which are rare fatty acids that canines do not produce and must obtain from their diet. The addition of healthy fatty acids is essential to the development of the brain and joints, as well as for the promotion of your dog's skin and hair health.
Low in Calories
Low-calorie fruits are good to give to your dog whether you want to help him lose weight or not. By consuming low-calorie fruits your dog can eat small portions without exceeding his daily caloric requirement. If you give your dog 3.5ounces of dragon fruit you will be relieved to know that it only contains 60 calories.
High in Fiber
Fiber is incredibly effective in helping dogs maintain a stable weight while also helping in lowering their cholesterol and keeping their blood sugar levels stable. However, you should avoid feeding your dog plenty of dragon fruits because 3.5 ounces of this tropical fruit contains 1.8 grams of fiber.
Antioxidants prevent oxidation in your dog's cells, which then helps in neutralizing cancer-causing free radicals. Dragon fruits contain many antioxidants (like Vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene) thereby reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases in dogs. Antioxidants also protect cells from aging and other damage.
Is Dragon Fruit Safe for Dogs?
Yes, all types of dragon fruits are safe for dogs to consume in moderation. Also, unlike other fruits, the tiny black seeds of dragon fruits can be safely consumed by your pup.
However, just like with most fruits, you should remove the fruit’s skin before offering it to your dog since it can be difficult for him to digest and could also pose a choking hazard.
Is Dragon Fruit Bad for Dogs in Any Way?
Dragon fruit is not toxic to dogs, and most dogs love its sweet taste. However, since this exotic fruit is rich in sugar and fiber, you should avoid overfeeding your dog with it to prevent some potential side effects, which include the following:
- Fur loss or depilation
- Dental and gum problems
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Endocrine disorders from excess sugar intake
How to Safely Serve Dragon Fruit to Your Dog?
Giving your dog fresh dragon fruit is the best way to go, but it should not end there. As mentioned earlier, you should also avoid giving your dog dragon fruit skin since it can be difficult to digest, and can also be a choking hazard. And of course, you should limit the serving of dragon fruit to a couple of cubes or 1-2 teaspoons of its flesh.
Just like other fruits, dragon fruit is considered a treat. Hence, it should be accounted for 10% of your dog’s daily caloric requirement from dog treats. If your dog loves dragon fruit, you can also get creative with it.
You can freeze cubes of raw dragon fruit and offer them to your dog as refreshing treats during hot weather. You can also add some to your dog’s smoothie or popsicle recipe. And you can also use dragon fruits as tasty meal toppers. Simply smash a small amount of dragon fruit and add it to your dog’s morning or evening meal.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Dragon Fruit?
Dogs can definitely eat dragon fruit, which is great considering its many health benefits to our canine friends. It is packed with antioxidants that help fight cancer and prevent cell aging and deterioration.
It’s also high in fiber which is good for digestion, and it is rich in omega fatty acids to promote skin and coat health and support your dog’s overall health and wellness. Dragon fruits are also rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C, and they are low in calories.
However, just like other fruits, you should only give your dog dragon fruit as an occasional treat and in moderate amounts. Giving your dog too much dragon fruit can lead to several potential side effects such as tooth and dental problems, stomach upsets, and unwanted weight gain.
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