As caring pet parents, we are always on the lookout for yummy and healthy treats for our dogs, sometimes offering them 'people-food' to add a little variety to what seems to us a monotonous, rather boring canine diet. However, many foods that delight our palate are harmful to our dogs, like chocolate, raisins, garlic, and onions.
Enter jackfruit, a relatively recent addition to the North American diet and a trending food craze, as coveted by vegans and vegetarians as seitan is for its satisfying meaty texture and umami, and equally appealing to bona fide 'carnivores,' as well. Why? Because starchy, filling jackfruit is truly scrumptious, especially when bathed in spicy bbq sauce and enhanced with other fixins, magically morphing from mere fruit into 'ribs' or 'pulled pork.' It's often referred to as a miracle fruit for its versatility and abundance of nutrients.
If you are a fan of jackfruit, you may want to share the tasty bounty with your pooch. But can dogs eat jackfruit? Or is jackfruit harmful to dogs? What if your dog steals a piece of jackfruit from the table, should you rush her to the vets? Or, can jackfruit be an occasional treat? Well, the answer to all these questions is a frustrating...maybe. There's no clear-cut answer given the lack of research about this strange, but tempting fruit — either pros or cons — when it comes to dogs.
Let's explore what we do know about jackfruit so far to help make some common-sense choices whether to feed jackfruit to our dogs or to keep this crazy-delicious stuff strictly off-limits to them.
Where does jackfruit come from?
Indigenous to the rain forests of the Western Ghats of India, jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world weighing in at a whopping 80 pounds and up to 3 feet long with a 20 inch girth. Handsome and stately, the enormous jackfruit tree is adapted to humid tropical and near-tropical climates and has spread from the Western Ghats throughout the rest of India and into southeast Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, central and eastern Africa, Brazil, and Surinam, a small country on the northeastern coast of South America. It also grows in San Diego, California and Florida but doesn't reach the gargantuan size it does in the tropics.
Related to breadfruit, figs, and mulberry, jackfruit is green or yellow when ripe and the fruit's interior contains large, edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh. Known as a compound fruit, inside a single fruit, sit 500 smooth, crisp, white seeds. When opened, the flesh of the jackfruit exudes a heavenly aroma of pineapple and banana while in stark contrast, a ripe, unopened fruit emits a strong, unpleasant odor similar to decayed onions.
Can dogs eat jackfruit?
Because jackfruit is so new to the U.S. produce market, and due to the the lack of reliable research studies available about jackfruit and its potential effects on dogs when consumed, it is advisable not to feed jackfruit to your dog until further proof it is OK to do so.
On the other hand, there is an array of fruits that dogs can safely eat, and which are good for them, too, such as; blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, apples (but not the seeds), honeydew melon, coconut, and many more.)Are there any concerns with feeding jackfruit to dogs?
Are there any concerns with feeding jackfruit to dogs?
Human studies with jackfruit suggest that jackfruit is considered to be part of the birch pollen allergy group, which means that if you are allergic to figs, breadfruit, and similar produce, it's best to consult your doctor before trying jackfruit for the first time. By extension, dogs who are prone to allergic reactions may potentially have adverse effects if they consume jackfruit in any portion size.
Jackfruit has a tough, indigestible horny rind exterior and hard seeds inside that could potentially be a choking hazard for dogs if they become lodged in your dog's stomach or intestines, causing a life-threatening blockage.
Lack of research on jackfruit, a relatively new addition to the U.S. produce market, dictates caution when it comes to feeding it to our dogs. Jackfruit can cause allergic reactions in humans and are part of the birch pollen allergy group. Also, the outer layer of the jackfruit and hard seeds inside can potentially cause a choking hazard for your dog.
Bottom line, always check with your veterinarian before feeding jackfruit or any other people foods to your dog, regardless of what you read online. Until the jackfruit becomes mainstream and evidence supports it being OK to feed to dogs, it is advisable to refrain from feeding jackfruit to your dog.
For more information on what you can feed your dog, check out our list of everything dogs can and cannot eat).