There are many different types of food out there, but while humans seem to be capable of eating almost anything we’d consider food, dogs are in another situation.
Some of the things that we like can actually end up being toxic to a canine, and in some cases, it’s things you wouldn’t even expect. It wouldn’t be that farfetched for lychee to be a problem for a dog.
Thankfully, lychee is actually dog friendly. Nearly every part of this tropical fruit, including the seeds and the skin, can be safely consumed by a dog. Of course, like many things one could feed to their dog, it is best to practice moderation with lychee, as there are some things to consider.
In this article, we’ll discuss the potential health benefits of lychee for your dog and the other essential factors to consider about feeding it to them. Lychees aren’t very complicated fruit, but like most of life, they are more complex than most people realize.
What is a Lychee Fruit
Before discussing it, it usually pays to know what you are talking about, so what is a lychee fruit?
It’s a tiny fruit primarily grown in Asia, with a lot of flesh and not a lot of peel. It has a red, rough exterior. The red husk hides white flesh, and brown seeds lie underneath that. Many say it tastes like a cross between strawberries and watermelon.
Lychee has high water content, and like many other fruits hailed as “superfoods,” it is very high in antioxidants, especially epicatechin and rutin. These antioxidants help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lychee is also notably high in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Along with flavanols, Lychee offers many beneficial nutrients.
On the downside, Lychee is very high in fiber, which is good in and of itself but can be a problem if you eat too much of it. This is especially true for dogs, as getting too much fiber can lead to stomach problems like excessive bathroom emergencies and vomiting. Lychee also has a fairly high sugar content.
All of this is to say that Lychee, on the surface, has many health benefits while theoretically lacking anything that could be considered particularly harmful to dogs. That being said, there should be no actual harm in feeding Lychee to your dogs, though there are still some things that need to be kept in mind.
Lack of Dedicated Research
It’s important to keep in mind that there hasn’t been much in the way of study when it comes to dogs and lychee. That is to say, there have been few if any, specific studies testing the effects of lychee on various dog breeds.
That’s why lychee is theoretically safe for dogs to eat. It lacks any chemicals that should be dangerous to dogs, but they haven’t been officially tested.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you really need to worry that much. Even though there hasn’t been much dedicated research, there’s no reason to believe lychee would seriously affect dogs like chocolate or chives does. In fact, the range of concerns for feeding lychee to your dog is relatively small and mostly just minor things one needs to remember.
In What Ways Could Lychee Be Bad for Your Dog?
While lychee lacks any severe concerns for your dog, there are still a few hazards to keep in mind. For instance, the flesh of the lychee is no big deal for your dog to eat, but you shouldn’t allow your dog to eat the skin or the seeds.
Not because these parts of the lychee are toxic, but because they could present a choking hazard, especially to small dogs.
Even if your dog doesn’t choke on these small parts of the lychee, they’ll have trouble digesting them properly, which could cause intestinal blockages for your dog.
Of course, the seeds themselves are toxic, but the toxin is so minor that a dog would have to consume vast quantities of them to be a real problem.
Unripe lychees are a significant hazard, though that would be true for humans as well. Unripe lychee contains toxins that could cause hypoglycemia and other serious gastrointestinal issues. Needless to say, it would be a very bad idea to feed unripe lychee to your dog, just as it would be to eat them yourself.
The biggest issue to worry about is feeding your dog too much lychee in one sitting. The high amounts of fiber mentioned earlier could lead your dog to have stomach problems, and the high sugar content could also contribute to other health problems. However, these are not serious concerns if you are just giving your dog an occasional lychee.
What Could Lychee Do For Your Dog?
One thing that always needs to be said when asking what you can feed your dog is that almost nothing you could give them is something they actually need.
That is to say, dogs don’t need to eat lychee fruit, and there’s nothing a lychee fruit can provide for them, nutritionally speaking, that they can’t get from another source.
If you are feeding your dog the correct type of quality dog food, they should get all the nutrients they need to live happy, healthy lives.
This doesn’t mean that lychee can’t offer any health benefits, but lychee is not filling some gap in your dog’s diet that it sorely needs. The benefits that have been mentioned before are not exclusive to lychee.
So, the vitamins and minerals lychee offers will undoubtedly offer something to your dog, but not anything vital that they weren’t already getting from quality dog food.
This means that whether or not you should feed lychee to your dog is primarily dependent on whether or not you want to, not whether or not you need to.
And, of course, it’s not like your dog will be unhappy to get a treat from you since dogs tend to be happy about eating anything offered to them by their owners.
But you could also give them nearly anything else as a treat instead. Lychee could offer some health benefits for your dog, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats Unripe Lychee or Seeds?
Because both seeds and unripe lychee are toxic for your dog, you need to be very careful with them. But what if your dog ends up eating one of these anyway?
Because the outcome could be sickness or worse, it’s very important to know this. What symptoms should you look out for, and what can you do about them?
First of all, the best thing to do if you know your dog ate one of these things is to call your veterinarian. If you can’t get a hold of the vet, find an emergency clinic and go there right away.
Better safe than sorry. Be sure to inform them what your dog ate and how much of it. The primary symptoms you may see in this situation include:
- Weight loss
- Dark urine
- Muscle spasms
- Excessive Drooling
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to take your dog to the vet. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you’d be able to do on your own even if you knew that your dog was in trouble.
This is also why you should make extra sure to keep lychee away from places your dog may be able to access without your intent.
Lychee is a tasty fruit that has a lot of health benefits, and you can feed it to your dog, though to do so, you must peel away the skin and remove the seeds: the skin could be a choking hazard or block the intestines, and the seeds are toxic if too many are eaten. You must also ensure that your dog does not eat unripe lychee.
If you do those things, your dog can eat lychee, but only in small amounts on infrequent occasions. That is because lychee is very high in fiber and relatively high in sugar, so if your dog eats too many of them, it could cause stomach problems or lead to increased weight gain. Lychee does have many vitamins and antioxidants, however.
It is safe to feed your dog lychee if you wish, but there is no real value to doing so. All of the nutrients and vitamins lychee offers should be readily available to your dog via its regular dog food, first and foremost. And even if you want to give your dog a treat, there are better options that have no hazards to them at all.
Overall, lychee is best left to human consumption, but if you just can’t resist the puppy dog eyes while eating them yourself, you can hand one or two to your dog without fear of anything bad happening.