Can I Give My Dog Kiwi?
It’s no surprise that our dogs love fruit just as much as our preschoolers. When it comes to the standard, safe, kid-friendly fruits, we pretty much know the drill: apples are good, bananas are good, and grapes are a big, fat, forbidden no-no. These staple fruits are familiar to us, and most of us are pretty confident in incorporating them into (or excluding them from) our dogs’ diets.
When we cross over to fruits that are tropical or seasonal, our job gets a little more complicated. A perfect example is our favorite, fun, tropical green fruit, the kiwi. We love to mix kiwis into our fruit salads and our smoothies, and for many of us, that’s when we hear the heavy thump of a tail wagging against the kitchen table’s legs. We look down to see a big pair of pleading puppy eyes. Our hearts tell us yes, but our brains remind us to be careful. While the unique, fuzzy little green fruit has climbed its way up onto the super fruit pedestal, we are all too aware that dogs and people can’t always eat the same foods.
So what’s the verdict on kiwi, anyway? Can dogs eat kiwi? If your dog eats kiwi, is it healthy, is it life-threatening, or somewhere in between?
If you’ve been sneaking your dog slices of this tropical treat, you can rest easy: kiwi is perfectly safe for dogs. Though your dog will be perfectly healthy without eating any tropical fruit, kiwi is a good choice for any pet owner looking to add a little fruity variety to their companion’s diet.
Those who have done a little research on dogs’ eating habits realize that, unlike humans, dogs do not need to eat any fruit to stay healthy. The mainstream considers the big, conspicuous Ultimate Health Benefit of fruit to be the high Vitamin C content. While dietary Vitamin C is crucial for us humans, dogs’ bodies produce the nutrient completely on their own. This means that, in theory, dietary Vitamin C is useless in a dogs’ diet.
In reality, some dogs—especially those undergoing physical or emotional stress—do not produce enough Vitamin C to maintain optimal health. For those dogs, it may be beneficial to supplement their diet with small amounts of raw, Vitamin C-packed fruits like kiwi. The famous vitamin is a powerful antioxidant which combats free radicals and may help prevent some cancers. This fuzzy little fruit can also serve as a powerful weapon against inflammatory respiratory problems like asthma.
This same vitamin also boosts the immune system, which may help your dog fight off colds and painful urinary tract infections. Because of these immunity-boosting effects, some veterinarians even recommend increasing a dog’s Vitamin C intake right before their vaccinations. Some studies have even shown that the chemicals in kiwi reduce the risk of cardiovascular illness, support eye and skin health, and lower blood pressure.
But kiwi’s superpowers don’t stop there. In addition to soothing the inflammation in the airways that causes asthma, Vitamin C may combat painful inflammation in the joints, thereby easing the symptoms of arthritis, spinal problems, and even hip dysplasia. Kiwi is also very high in folate, which is most notable for its importance in child-bearing. This makes kiwi an excellent healthy, whole food treat for dogs who may be expecting puppies. In addition, kiwi is high in fiber and water, which may help relieve constipation.
Things to Keep in Mind
The biggest downside to feeding your dog kiwi may be the cost. These little tropical fruits are expensive and relatively small, so they are not a cost-efficient way to incorporate fruit into your dog’s diet. Taking into consideration the fact that your dog (who did not evolve to eat large quantities of fruit) may not reap very many of kiwi’s impressive health benefits, you may be better off picking out a cheaper, more beneficial fruit or vegetable. Apples and carrots, which help clean your dog’s teeth, are great substitutes.
As full of potential as kiwi may be, it is important to remember that most dogs struggle to consume fruit in large quantities. Suddenly increasing their fruit intake dramatically often results in upset stomach and diarrhea, so make sure to keep their portions small and infrequent to start with. View kiwi as a treat or a supplement, and not as a staple! If you go overboard, your dog will quickly deliver an ugly reminder of kiwi’s laxative effects.
If you decide to share some kiwi with your precious pooch, remember to remove the fuzzy skin and cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. If you give your dog a whole kiwi, it becomes a choking hazard. They can eat this fruit cooked, raw, or even dried, but if you decide to go the dried fruit route, check to make sure the dried kiwi you purchase is low in added sugars.
Dog Eating Kiwi Video: