Is Papaya Good for Dogs?

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We are now up to the letter “P” in our dog food ingredient series. Today we are writing about the use of papaya in dog food.


What is Papaya?

Papaya is the fruit of the tropical tree-like plant. The papaya plant grows large with a single stem growing from 16 to 33 ft. tall (5 to 10 m tall).

Common names for Papaya

The most common names for papaya include melon tree, papaw and papaya fruit. In dog food we will only see either papaya or papain (an enzyme extracted from papaya) listed in some foods’ ingredients.


Why is Papaya in Dog Food?

Papaya provides many health benefits (see below) including improved digestion. It is also a flavor enhancer and source of sweetness.


Is Papaya Commonly Used in Dog Food?

Papaya or papain is in about 5.25% of all dog foods. It is far more common in wet food than in dry. 92% of the dog foods containing papaya or papain were wet, while only 8% were dry.


Common Benefits or Risks of Papaya

Papaya is a good source of fiber. Papaya is used for preventing and treating gastrointestinal tract disorders, intestinal parasite infections, and as a sedative and diuretic.


The enzyme papain in papaya can help the body break down and digest proteins.


A small papaya fruit (~150 g) contains about 70 calories and is loaded with Vitamin C. Papaya is also a source of Vitamin A and the minerals magnesium, calcium, and iron.


There are no known risks of using papaya in the food of normally healthy dogs.

slimdoggy smiley 

Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

Papaya is a healthy ingredient to have in a dog food recipe and it gets the SlimDoggy Happy rating.


Miscellaneous facts about Papaya

Papaya plants come in three sexes: “male,” “female,” and “hermaphrodite.” The male produces only pollen, never fruit. The female will produce small, inedible fruits unless pollinated. The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate since its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries.


Sources and further reading


Editor’s note: to view all of the dog food ingredients we have covered, search on the tag “ingredients” or click here:

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  1. I bet we would like papaya, but here in MN, they aren’t real easy to find. Maybe when we are on vacation in the south we will find some.
    Emma recently posted…The Snowstorm That Wasn’tMy Profile

  2. I have noticed papaya in wet dog food before, and honestly never thought much of it, so thanks for the info!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…#WeRemember – We shall not forgetMy Profile

  3. we hope we can find some of this fruits here, seems they are good for peeps and pets. and if I don’t like it, then my staff can eat it :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TERRIBLE TUESDAYMy Profile

  4. Interesting! We had a papaya tree in the back yard when we lived in Orlando, but I always picked them too early and they were just latex-y. Ew. I guess letting them ripen is good. I wish I’d known they were dog friendly.
    Flea recently posted…Lamb Shanks, A Toy Dog BoneMy Profile

  5. I’ve noticed papaya in some dog treats. Yum 🙂
    Sue recently posted…Gordon Setter Dog Jewelry | Dog Lover Holiday GiftsMy Profile

  6. I don’t even think I’ve ever had papaya. It sounds good! And judging by Ace’s general love for fruit, I bet he would like it too!
    Lindsay recently posted…Which animal shelter or rescue group is your favorite?My Profile

    • I bet he would – try it and see…is he like Jack? Jack likes everything.
      mkob recently posted…Is Papaya Good for Dogs?My Profile

  7. I’ve never tried papaya, but sounds good
    Misaki recently posted…11th NovemberMy Profile

  8. It is hard to find decent papayas around here. Every once in a while, but not often.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–The TwistMy Profile

  9. I was so thrilled to see you covering papaya. I had no idea it was cropping up in dog foods.

    But as we set sail, we’ll need to look for a wider range of nutritious foods to add to Honey’s diet. Papaya was a daily part of our diet when we were in Panama. I hope Honey likes it too.
    Pamela recently posted…Keep Your Boat Light…My Profile

  10. interesting about intestinal parasite prevention, need to look into that.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Wordless Wednesday~Glory’s Boyfriend SilasMy Profile

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