Can Dogs Eat Lychee? Is Lychee Safe For Dogs?

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Lychee is a beautiful-looking fruit with a bright-red and spikey exterior and fleshy interior that many humans enjoy, but can dogs eat lychee? Is this fruit that tastes similar to a pear or a grape safe for dogs?

Technically, the short answer is yes, but our recommendation is no; lychee has only a small amount of flesh, and that’s the only edible part of the fruit. Plus, the fruit has an unfortunate history of being poisonous to both humans and animals when unripe.


Our general rule this: is if the risk is too high, the preparation too great, and the benefit too little, it’s just not worth introducing a food into a dog’s diet.

But the final word on this must always come from your veterinarian. If you want to introduce your dog to a new food item, run it by them first.

Why Is Lychee Bad For Dogs?

While lychee has nutritional benefits, it can also be quite unhealthy for even us humans. When unripe, the fruit is quite toxic. Ripe lychee is reddish-brown in color, while unripe lychee is green.

In 2014, a number of children died after eating large quantities of unripe lychee. Later, it was deduced that the fruit of the soapberry family contains a specific amino acid that has a drastic and negative effect on blood glucose levels.

Unfortunately, with lychee, this is just one of a few concerns. Additionally, there’s also the skin and the seed to worry about.

Lychee skin is rough and hard to digest. Aside from being a choking hazard for dogs, it can also create intestinal blockages when ingested.

The same goes for the seed, which is quite large and contains saponin — a substance poisonous to humans and animals. Some plants produce this substance to protect themselves from insects, and it’s often used to make soaps and detergents.

We all know how unhealthy ingesting soap and detergent is!

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Lychee?

Hands of holding Lychee

(Picture Credit: Ziyi Zhuang/Getty Images)

If your dog ingests unripe lychee, this is a major cause for concern — enough to warrant a trip to an emergency veterinarian, as it has been documented to kill humans when eaten unripe.

Giving a bit of ripe lychee flesh, free of the skin and seeds has been known to be okay, but is still very under-documented. It’s really not worth risking. If you really want to give your dog a tropical treat, the dragon fruit is a much safer and very nutritious option.

If you suspect that your dog may have gotten into some lychee kept in your home, there are some signs to look out for:

  • Dark Urine
  • Extreme Drooling
  •  Muscle Spasms
  •  Seizures
  •  Stomach Cramps
  • Vomiting

If you’re seeing anything like this with your dog, seek veterinarian care immediately. Dogs can recover from lychee poisoning, but it depends on how quickly you act and how much they consumed.

Have you had any negative experiences with lychee and your dog? What safer fruits do you share with your pooch? Let us know in the comments below.

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