In the world of healthy eating - and in great food in general, persimmons are currently one of those buzzed about foods that seem to be all over Instagram even if they can be a little hard to find in the grocery store. There's no doubt they are a healthier sweet treat for humans - they have a rich, sweet taste and are almost liquid when ripe - but how about dogs? Can dogs have persimmons?
The answer is not always a clear-cut one. The fruit itself is harmless to dogs and may even be good for them. What is not good for them is if they eat the persimmon's seeds, its pit or its pulp like exterior, as all of these can lead to stomach upset and even intestinal blockage if consumed by dogs.
Do Dogs Need Fruit?
Before we get into more about persimmons and their benefits - and risks - if consumed by dogs, it's important to note that dogs, unlike humans, do not need fruit, or even vegetables, to be healthy. The idea that they do is something usually perpetuated by the advertising put out by certain dog food brands.
Dogs are omnivores and, as such, CAN eat both meat and vegetation (unlike cats who are absolute carnivores and may become very ill or die if restricted to a vegetarian diet) but they don't need to.
Choose a good, well-balanced dog food for them, and they should get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need from that.
That having been said, dogs love treats, and some, but not all, dogs like sweet treats. In moderation, the soft fruit of the persimmon is fine for most dogs. However, it should only be given to them in moderation, and they should never be given the seeds, the pit or outer pulp.
Persimmon Nutritional Profile
Persimmons come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the majority of them being from Asia. Fuyu and Hachiya are the two primary varieties of Asian persimmons. These are the types that grow in North America as well, and they can both be utilized in dessert cookery.
Wild trees thrive all over the South, from Maryland to Florida, and from the Piedmont of North Carolina to Texas and beyond.
Hachiya persimmons are oval in shape and brilliant blood-orange in color. The ideal way to enjoy these fruits is to let them ripen until they're really soft, and the interior has turned nearly pudding-like.
Fuyu persimmons are more of a true pale orange color and have a squat form with flat bottoms. These don't need to be ripe as Hachiya persimmons to taste great.
Most people use persimmons in fruit pies and desserts, but they can be eaten alone, or with cream (your dog should NOT have the cream).
The persimmon has some significant health benefits. They are a great source of fiber, and a number of essential vitamins and minerals.
As every fruit is different, it's impossible to pin down specific nutritional values, but, on average, according to the FDA, a medium-sized persimmon contains:
- Calories 118
- Fat 0.3 g
- Sodium 1.7mg
- Potassium 270 mg
- Dietary Fiber 6g
- Sugars 21g
- Protein 1g
As you can see, for a fruit, persimmons are quite high in calories and sugar. This means that for humans - and dogs - who are following a calorie restricted diet, it's important to eat them in moderation.
Possible Health Benefits of Persimmons for Dogs
Very little research has been carried out into the possible health benefits of consuming persimmons on dogs.
More has been undertaken on humans, and it is possible that some of the possible health benefits they can offer to pet parents may be helpful for their dogs as well.
These health benefits are said to include the following:
Increased Cardiovascular Health
Persimmons can help to keep arteries clear and decrease heart disease risk.
Atherosclerosis is the name given to a health condition that causes the hardening and constriction of the arteries, and persimmons are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals, all of which are important components of an antiatherosclerotic diet, according to one study conducted on middle-aged humans.
Increased Eye Health
Persimmons can aid in the maintenance of good canine eye health. One serving provides more than half of the daily required vitamin A consumption for humans, which is vital for vision.
Furthermore, persimmon peel is high in lutein, a nutrient that has been linked to the prevention of eye diseases in both humans and dogs.
Possible Coat and Skin Benefits
The vitamin A content in persimmons may help keep your dog's coat and skin healthier and shinier.
Some anecdotal studies have suggested this might be the case, but pet parents do need to be careful when feeding their dogs foods high in vitamin A, as too much of it has been shown to lead to vitamin A poisoning.
Oversupplementation of vitamin A can result in dry skin, weakness, weight loss, constipation, excess bone formation, and painful or limited movement in dogs, although this only happens if they eat a lot of vitamin A-rich foods.
How to Feed Persimmons to Dogs
As we mentioned earlier, the most common use for persimmons in human kitchens is to bake them into a dessert pie, which is not something we would suggest feeding to your dog, as the sugar content in most dessert pies is too high for their needs.
When feeding persimmon to dogs, it should be fed in small chunks, and only the soft fruit itself should be offered to them.
The Dangers of Persimmon Pits and Seed to Dogs
As we have mentioned this a few times here already, you are no doubt wondering by now why dogs should never be given the seeds, pit or skin from persimmons.
These things are not toxic to dogs, but if they are consumed they can expand within the dog's digestive system and cause a painful, and sometimes even fatal bowel or intestinal blockage.
These dangerous blockages are most often seen in dogs when they eat things like sticks and rocks - which some dogs do - or other foreign objects like chunks of dog toys. The condition must be treated quickly by a vet, and may involve surgery.
Therefore, doing everything you can to prevent this is a must, including keeping your dog away from the pits and seeds contained in persimmons.
In general, pet parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of intestinal and/or bowel blockage so that they can be prepared to act should their dog eat something they should not.
These can include all the following:
As these symptoms can often also be a sign of a number of other health conditions in dogs, consulting your vet as soon as possible is the best course of action.
To prevent intestinal blockages, keep things like whole persimmons away from pups, do not let them eat sticks and rocks when outside and always supervise playtime to prevent the accidental ingestion of toy parts (especially squeakers, which can also be a serious choking hazard.)
How Much Persimmon to Feed Dogs?
In terms of how much chunked persimmon fruit you should feed to your dog it should be offered in strict moderation.
The rich nature of this fruit - which is part of the reason that many humans are finding they like it so much - can lead to stomach discomfort and diarrhea in dogs if fed in excess, especially in smaller dogs.
Offering them the occasional chunk or two when you are also enjoying this rich, sweet fruit should do little harm, however.
If your dog has eaten persimmon fruit and he or she is acting abnormally or suffering allergy-like symptoms, be sure to call your vet, emergency clinic, or animal poison control center at (888) 426-4435 right away.