You are in the produce section of the grocery store and you saw that leathery pinkish fruit. Around it, the fruit is what seems like several spikes with a green tip.
This seemingly alien fruit is exotic and it’s called a Dragon Fruit.
Now, to introduce your dog to safe and new snacks it can experience, you took that Dragon Fruit and asked yourself, “Is this safe for my dogs to eat?”
You are in the right place as we will find out if Dragon Fruit can be eaten by your pet.
Can Dogs Safely Eat Dragon Fruit?
While Dragon Fruit may seem like a dangerous fruit due to its appearance, fear not because dogs can safely eat this sweet, low-calorie, and non-toxic fruit.
If you glean at the website page of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), they are also giving it thumbs up. Yahoo!
Not only is this spiky fruit non-toxic, but it also has a lot of great health benefits for your tail-wagging best friend.
But of course, you just don’t chuck out a Dragon Fruit for your dog! It must be prepared the right way and fed at the right amount for them to fully enjoy its benefits.
What is a Dragon Fruit?
A Dragon Fruit is also called by its Mexican name pitaya or even pitahaya. Additional common names of this striking fruit include: Queen of the Night, Night Blooming Cereus, Honolulu Queen.
Pitaya and Pitahaya are the fruits of the genus Stenocereus and Selenicereus, respectively. Both also belong to the family Cactaceae or Cactus.
Where did it originate? Some historical accounts would say it was brought from Vietnam 100 years ago. But another version says that it originated in the 1870s from Nicaragua or Colombia. What is consistent in both accounts though was that the French pioneered distributing this tropical fruit worldwide.
The pitaya from Hylocereus cactuses comes in three colors and it is said that it is sweeter and squishier:
- pitaya blanca (white)
- pitaya roja (red)
- pitaya amarilla (yellow)
The variety’s color differs from where they originated. Those coming from Vietnam and other parts of South East Asia usually have white flesh and black seeds. Those from Central America have deep maroon flesh and going further to the Middle East, its flesh lightens into a pink.
Whatever the variety of Dragon Fruit you have, all are safe for your dogs to consume and are rich in vitamins.
Dragon Fruits have medicinal properties. It was also used to improve eyesight and help relieve symptoms of hypertension. Its soft, black seeds are also great in lowering down blood sugar of people suffering from diabetes.
Another cool fact about Dragon Fruit is that its pink flesh is used to naturally dye clothing and even foods and pastries.
All over the world, it is best enjoyed cold, in a sorbet form, or even juiced.
What are the Benefits of Eating Dragon Fruit for Dogs?
Dragon Fruits do not only have a robust appearance but will also greatly benefit the health of your dog. Here are some of the benefits Dragon Fruit offers:
- Vitamin C- Dragon Fruits are rich in Vitamin C that can naturally boost your dog’s immune system. It is also essential in preventing a variety of diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Did you know that your dog produces their Vitamin C? And giving them an extra push from fruits rich in this will definitely help. But balance is the key as too much of this vitamin can also lead to additional health issues.
- Vitamin A- Did you know that one serving of Dragon Fruit contains 100 IU of this vitamin? Apart from also helping give your dog a healthy immune system, it also improves your dog’s eyesight and gives them healthy and smooth skin.
- Calcium and Iron- the combination of these minerals provide your dog healthy and strong bones!
Calcium is important in a lot of bodily functions. It helps in your dog’s proper development, proper heart health, helps blood to clot, and supports adequate nerve function that your buddy uses to be active all day long.
Iron, meanwhile, is important in having robust red blood cells. It is important in transporting oxygen throughout the body. As you know also, iron takes your dog far away from the snares of anemia and fatigue.
- Omega 3- this fruit also has significant amounts of these fatty acids! It helps give your dog healthy skin and coat. Plus, it boosts their immune system, decreases bodily inflammations, and enhances their brain development.
- Fiber- Like most fruits, Pitaya is also high in fiber that regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Just a cup of Dragon Fruit already contains 7 grams of fiber. This is beneficial in saying goodbye to digestive problems. A clean digestive tract also helps remove harmful toxins.
But also keep fiber at a 5% recommended allowance of your pet’s diet per day or too much of it can also bring trouble.
- Antioxidants- these inhibit oxidation and that’s when free radicals are produced. These free radicals damage cells and are even linked to cancer. With this benefit present in Dragon Fruit, it helps protect cells from aging and other damage.
- Low in Calories- Give your dogs low-calorie treats if they are on the brink of obesity. Dragon Fruit is one of those low-calorie fruits that you can share in moderation with your pup as it only has 60 calories in 3.5 ounces of it!
Are There Risks in Eating Dragon Fruit for Dogs?
Luckily, unlike other fruits, Dragon Fruits are completely non-toxic and safe for your dog. The only issues of Dragon Fruits are:
- Too much Dragon Fruit can also upset their stomach and give them loose stools!
- Many dogs may also not enjoy eating Dragon Fruit due to its taste and its soft texture. Hopefully, your dog will get past that initial hurdle.
Of course, when your dog enjoys it, it will definitely show you by wagging its tail or asking for more. Again, if this happens, still stick to the recommended intake.
Can Dogs Eat the Dragon Fruit Skin?
Dragon Fruit’s pink, spiky and leathery skin is what makes this fruit interesting. But while it is fun to look at, this can be tough for dogs to chew and digest. So throw away the skin before giving it to them.
Can Dogs Eat the Dragon Fruit Seeds?
As a rule of thumb, you should not give your dog any seeds of fruits and vegetables. Luckily, the seeds of the Dragon Fruit are so small and soft, you need not worry about your dog eating them.
Yes, Dragon Fruit’s seeds are perfectly safe.
How Can I Feed My Dog Dragon Fruit?
If it is your dog’s first time to try this exotic fruit, share it slowly and watch how their stomachs will react to it. If they vomit it or show any bad signs, it is best to stop feeding Dragon Fruit. The good news is, most dogs do not react negatively to Dragon Fruit.
How to prepare Dragon Fruits great for your dog’s consumption?
- Cut the Dragon Fruit in half
- Scoop out the mushy flesh
- And most importantly, throw away the skin!
Your dogs can eat Dragon Fruits in a variety of ways and you will never go wrong with the old-fashioned way of giving it in bite-sized cubes. But of course, no one is stopping you from being creative!
You can mash it up and serve right up or you can even mix it with their regular food. Your pooch will also enjoy it cold or frozen so go ahead and make some pupsicles.
Whatever you do, serve it raw. Do not cook it and never add any more seasonings or spices as these are bad for their health.
How Many Dragon Fruits Can My Dog Eat?
Moderation is always the key no matter how healthy Dragon Fruits are. Limit their intake to 1 cube or 1 to 2 tablespoons at most. You can feed it to them once daily but it is best if you don’t do it and just feed it weekly to them.
Since Dragon Fruit also hydrates your dog, giving them lots of water after is a bad idea.
Your dog will benefit from Dragon Fruit optimally if you follow this guide.
Signs My Dog Has Had too Many Dragon Fruit
Again, too much of Dragon Fruit can also be bad. Your dogs are not like humans where our bodies can consume more. Apart from too much fiber that can give them a bad stomach, this fruit just like any other is still loaded with sugar.
Too much of Dragon Fruit can lead to:
- Depilation and endocrine disorder
- Dental problems
- Upset stomach or loose stools
Conclusion: Should I Give My Dog Dragon Fruit?
Yes, Dragon Fruit is a healthy, low-calorie choice for your dog! Just remember that any variety is great if you feed just the flesh. Of course, its skin is hard and will be a nightmare to digest. If you plan to feed your dog this tropical fruit, two (2) spoonfuls is the max already. Do not go overboard or it will just result negatively.
So, next time you have Dragon Fruit, you can now enjoy it with your pooch! Enjoy!