There are no health risks for dogs inherent to kiwi so, can dogs eat kiwi fruit?
Yes, dogs can eat kiwi fruit.
There are, however, aspects to be careful about.
Kiwi fruit is incredibly nutritious and below we will discuss the health benefits, the risks you need to be aware of, and how best to feed kiwi to your dog.
For information about what your dog should and should not eat, be sure to take a look at our “Can dogs eat…” article where we cover over 80 different items.
What is kiwi fruit
Often considered a tropical fruit, or even an exotic fruit, kiwi fruit is actually pretty commonplace these days. Kiwis originated in China but these days can be found growing (and being eaten!) all around the world.
Some people are allergic to kiwi fruit and an interesting fact is that if you are allergic to latex, you are likely to be allergic to kiwi fruit as well.
Kiwifruit contains two times more vitamin C than oranges. It is also a rich source of potassium, folic acid, vitamin E and K, and many other essential nutrients. Compared to other fruits kiwi offers tremendous nutritional benefit per gram of fruit. Medium-sized kiwifruit contains only 46 calories.
Health benefits of kiwi for your dog
The nutrition packed into those 46 calories is tremendous.
Twice as much vitamin C as an orange, rich in fiber to keep your pooch regular, high in collagen to keep your pooch’s skin healthy, and enough other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep an elephant healthy.
Because of the tremendous health benefits, kiwi fruit is OK as a healthy snack or occasional treat but, as with other snacks and treats, should not make up the majority of calories for your dog’s diet.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
As mentioned above, kiwi fruit offers more than twice the vitamin C of oranges.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is important for dogs as it helps with iron formation, strengthens your dog’s immune system, can help prevent cancer, is required for proper adrenal gland function, and a host of other critical aspects of your dog’s health.
It’s important that dogs can synthesize the vitamin C they need themselves in their livers. They do not normally need this supplemented. As your dog ages, this vitamin C production can decrease. If your dog, for some reason, has a vitamin C deficiency, this should be managed by your vet rather than self-diagnosis and treatment.
One reason to consider giving extra vitamin C is if you are also giving your dog vitamin E supplements as vitamin C will help with recycling that excess vitamin E. Again, this is something to work with your vet on.
Your parents used to tell you that eating your carrots is good for your eyes. We all heard it. Turns out, they were right (of course!)
Carrots are high in vitamin A, as are kiwi, and this vitamin A can help ensure healthy eyesight in your dog’s later years. It also helps with other cell functions, immune functions, and for the overall growth of your dog.
to help keep your dog’s eyesight sharp into the later years.
Vitamin K is key to facilitate your dog’s blood clotting capability. Any cuts or abrasions or, critically, ingesting any kind of poison (rodent poison usually) will be helped by having a healthy vitamin K profile. Vitamin K is essential for forming scabs after cuts and abrasions.
As for humans, dogs need dietary fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system and to help manage their weight. Kiwi fruit provides a healthy dose of high-quality fiber which helps dogs (and humans!) feel full and therefore eat less.
Fiber will help the food your dog eats move more efficiently through the digestive tract which is also good if your dog has diarrhea.
A high fiber diet can also help manage canine diabetes as it will help minimize fluctuations in glucose levels.
Potassium is an electrolyte that is critical for muscle, heart, and blood cell functions. Hypokalemia, or low potassium, should be treated by your vet.
As humans, I think we primarily equate collagen to maintaining youthful skin but its benefits go far beyond just skin elasticity. Collagen is also a building block for connective tissues such as cartilage and ligaments, it helps ensure your dog’s teeth are strong and its coat is healthy. Collagen can also help with arthritic pain as your dog ages.
Your dog’s ability to create collagen internally will decrease as your dog ages, so collagen supplementation is usually recommended for aging dogs.
That’s a strong list of health benefits and I didn’t even cover them all! Just know that kiwi is a nutrient-packed fruit that, in small doses or as an occasional treat, can help supplement your dog’s diet.
Risks of kiwi fruit for your dog
Kiwi fruit is just about the perfect size for a medium or large dog to choke on if they try to eat it whole. Additionally, the skin of the kiwi fruit is tough and difficult to chew thoroughly. Most dogs who try end up swallowing large pieces of unchewed skin.
Take care that your dog doesn’t eat whole kiwis or even pieces that may be too large, given the size of the dog.
Anything that can get bound up in your dog’s guts can cause intestinal blockage, which is painful and can be fatal.
This could happen if your dog stumbled on to your stash of kiwis and decided to eat a bunch of them.
If you are missing a bowl full of kiwi fruit and your dog’s stomach is extended and perhaps painful to the touch, you should call your vet immediately.
Too much fiber
Kiwi is high in fiber and if your dog is already getting enough fiber in its diet, adding kiwi fruit may cause upset stomach and diarrhea due to excess fiber. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration.
As with any new food, there is a chance (however small) that your dog could be allergic to kiwi fruit so when starting to feed as a treat, start very small and wait to see if there is a reaction.
How much kiwi is safe
Keep in mind that most experts recommend less than 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake come from snacks. They should get the overwhelming amount of nutrition from their dog food rather than snacks. There is a risk in feeding your dog too many snacks that contain a high ratio of a given vitamin.
For example, kiwi contains more than twice as much vitamin C as oranges do so using kiwi as treats for dogs can upset that nutritional balance. Your dog may end up with too much of a good thing.
With this in mind, we recommend feeding kiwi, or anything else other than dog food, sparingly.
Some folks like to use treats like kiwi and other human food as training aids, which is a great motivation for your dog but, again, may end up being too much of a good thing. Giving a small piece of kiwi each time Fido sits would eventually result in a lot of kiwi snacks!
How should I prepare kiwi for my dog?
Ideally, your dog will eat the kiwi meat only. Not the skins or the seeds.
Buying canned kiwi, dried kiwi, or otherwise prepared may be helpful here. If you are doing this yourself, you want to remove the skin and the seeds and feed your dog only the meat.
Your standard kiwi is just about the right size for a medium to a large dog to choke on it, so don’t feed them whole kiwis.
You don’t want to feed them the skin or the seeds (see below) so since you have your knife out anyway, go ahead and cut the kiwi into easily manageable chunks, depending on your dog’s size.
Can dogs eat kiwi skin?
Kiwi skin is touch and can be difficult to chew thoroughly. For this reason, we recommend not feeding outer layer skin to dogs as it can present a choking hazard. Often, when fed to dogs, it’ll come out the other end unchewed and largely undigested.
Are kiwi seeds toxic?
It depends on what you read. Almost everything “out there” simply says something along the lines of “…like most fruit, Kiwi seeds can be toxic to dogs…” .
Here’s our stance:
You already are not giving them the skin, so cut the seed part out too. Why take the chance?
If you are going along with our recommendations, though, the amount of kiwi you are feeding your dog will be minimal which means the amount of kiwi seed they may ingest will also be minimal. With this approach, they most likely will end up eating a small quantity of seeds but it won’t be enough to cause problems.
Mmmm, here’s the good stuff. This is what you want to feed your dog if you can keep from eating it yourself. Feed it in small chunks with the skin and as many seeds removed as possible.
Can dogs eat kiwi berries?
The entire discussion has so far been about kiwifruit but we should touch on kiwi berries as well.
Kiwi berries are small, grape-sized kiwis with fuzz-free smooth skin. This makes it easy to pop a few into your mouth like grapes.
They’re equally delicious and have all of the nutritional benefits and low-calorie count of the kiwifruit.
And, yes, your dogs can eat kiwi berries. All of the above discussion applies equally to kiwi berries as well as kiwi fruit.
Can dogs eat kiwi fruit? Conclusion
Should you feed your dog kiwi? Well, hard to say you should. But can dogs eat kiwi fruit? Yes, they can, sparingly. Kiwis are quite nutritious and tasty and will make a great treat or perhaps a training aid. Keep in mind that your dog should get the vast majority of calories and nutrition from dog food though, so don’t overdo it. As a once in a while treat, kiwi is fine for your dog.
We often hear “can dogs eat [fill in the blank]” so we are working on a series of articles to discuss these topics. Please see our articles here:
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