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Can Dogs Eat Star Fruit? Keep Your Dog Safe!

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat_star fruit

Can Dogs Eat Star Fruit? Keep Your Dog Safe!


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Star fruit or carambola is an appropriately named southeast Asian fruit of the tree of the same name. It’s a global food item grown in the warmer USDA Plant Hardiness Zones of 10 and 11 in the United States.1 Its unusual shape and brightly colored flesh make it a unique culinary addition, whether eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. If your dog likes fruit, you may wonder if you can offer it to your pup.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. It can have severe health effects, especially if it’s a regular treat.


The Problem with Calcium Oxalate

Star fruit is part of the Oxalidaceae or wood sorrel family. The fruit’s toxicity is in this name and its oxalate content. The word “oxalic” comes from the Greek word “oxys,” which means sharp.2 Oxalates are either insoluble, as in pothos and Calla lily, or soluble, like rhubarb and star fruit.

The former are crystals that can cause painful skin irritation in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Soluble oxalates are more dangerous as they are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and bind with calcium in the bloodstream reducing the amount available to be used.

Scientists refer to oxalate as an anti-nutrient for this reason. It can cause a dangerous drop in calcium in a dog’s bloodstream or hypocalcemia. This mineral is vital for canines and other organisms, including humans. Deficiencies can adversely affect the nervous and muscular system function.3 It can also lead to kidney failure if the pet consumes a lot of oxalate-containing foods.

Signs of soluble oxalate poisoning include:
  • Vomiting
  • GI distress
  • Fluid retention
  • Blood in the urine
  • Seizures

It may take a day or so before you notice that something is wrong with your pup. It can make the diagnosis more challenging when you don’t see an evident cause and effect. However, a sudden onset of signs in an otherwise healthy pet is often a red flag pointing toward poisoning.

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Other Red Flags

Veterinarians typically see oxalate toxicity more often in livestock than in small animals. Research shows they may be more tolerant of these chemical compounds because of their digestive systems. While many unknown factors exist in pets, we can learn from the cautionary tales of the effects of oxalate on other animals.

Best Practices for Introducing New Foods

We strongly urge you to consult the Pet Poison Helpline before offering any new food to your dog. Just because you can eat it doesn’t mean the same thing applies to your pet. Think chocolate, onions, garlic, and grapes—all are toxic to your pup.

You should also offer a small portion the first time you give your dog something new. Then, wait for at least a day before allowing your pup to eat any more. GI distress and vomiting are common signs of many poisonous substances. Notably, an allergic reaction presents quickly with swelling, hives, and redness once it is triggered, which means you should get them to an animal hospital quickly.

a dachshund dog looks sick lying on its owner
Image By: Leka Sergeeva, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, star fruit is not on the list of safe foods you can give your dog. We don’t recommend offering your pet even small bits of this otherwise tasty fruit. Instead, offer your pooch treats formulated for canines and make sure to limit them to no more than 10% of its daily caloric intake.

If your dog has eaten a star fruit contact your veterinarian straight away for advice.

See also: 

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