Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Watermelon is a great fruit to eat, especially during hot summer days. It’s made of 92% water, hence obviously juicy, and is sweet too, satisfying your body and soul in the sweltering heat. Moreover, it’s packed with nutrients too and therefore, has an important place in the list of healthy fruits. Pet owners therefore may want to feed their pups this cool treat in summer and the question arises can dogs eat watermelon.
The good news is that yes, dogs can eat watermelon. Still, along with its benefits, dog owners have to remember certain precautions too while feeding watermelon to their dog. Plus, they should consult their vet before offering watermelon to their canine companion.
Published: March 24, 2022.
Health Benefits of Watermelon for Dogs
Watermelon is packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, potassium, and antioxidants, and it contains no fat or cholesterol and very few calories, and low sodium content. It’s also loaded with fiber and lycopene.
According to the Watermelon Promotions Board, a USDA department, watermelon is a superfood. Besides being a great choice for hydration on a hot day because of its 92% water content, watermelon has a high nutritional value due to which it’s one of the best choices as a healthy snack for a dog owner as well as their doggo.
Here are the health benefits of watermelon in detail:
Hydration: A high percentage of water (92%) in watermelon helps with hydration, an important factor in a hot climate.
Potassium: Potassium in watermelon improves heart and kidney function, supports muscle development, regulates the fluid level, and promotes healthy bone density.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A in watermelon improves the quality and functioning of the coat, skin, nerves, and muscles.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is a critical coenzyme for brain and body functions, regulating fluid balance, supporting neurotransmitters, regulating hormones, and building proteins in the dog’s body.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C in watermelon is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.
However, this particular ingredient is of not much use to dogs because dogs’ body can make their own vitamin C, and hence, they don’t need to consume this vitamin from outside.
Antioxidants: The everyday bodies of humans, as well as dogs, are subjected to oxidative stress. Antioxidants in watermelon protect both dogs and their owners from breaking down cells as they age.
Fiber: The high fiber content in watermelon helps keep food moving through the digestive tract and thus avoid constipation, avoid blockages, and helps resolve diarrhea.
Lycopene: Lycopene offers an attractive red color to watermelons (& tomatoes too). It helps in cancer prevention and improving vision in dogs. Studies show that it slows down the growth of cancer.
Which Part of Watermelon the Dog Shouldn’t Eat?
Watermelon is a cool, sweet fruit full of water that one’s furry friend would like to gobble up on a scorching day.
However, the dog owner should prevent their doggie from doing that because they can consume other parts of the fruit too along with the flesh.
Watermelon seeds are bad for dogs. A seed or two if gulped accidentally won’t perhaps cause any harm. However, if a dog owner lets their dog munch on a watermelon slice, the dog may ingest too many seeds.
In that scenario, the dog’s digestive tract may not let the hard seeds easily pass down which may cause an intestinal blockage.
This happens especially in smaller dogs whose intestines are much smaller than that of larger dogs. Offering small pieces with their seeds removed is the best way to let the dog enjoy this juicy fruit.
Is Seedless Watermelon Good?
Yes, in fact, seedless watermelon is the best choice for dogs. They contain seeds that are not mature enough or not in a high number to cause blockage in the digestive tract. However, the dog owner should be still watchful of the seed content of the fruit.
Is the Watermelon Rind Safe for Dogs?
Another part of the watermelon that isn’t safe for dogs is its rind. Although they can chew on the light green part of the rind, the dark green outer rind is too hard for them to nibble.
Their digestive system is unable to break it down effectively and thus it can cause an intestinal blockage just like the seeds. So, the best way is to remove the seeds and rind from the fruit before feeding it to the dog.
Can Excessive Amount of Watermelon Harm the Dog?
Anything in excess can cause problems. Watermelon is also not an exception.
Dog owners should remember the 90-10 rule i.e., 90% of the dog’s diet should comprise of their regular nutritionally balanced dog food, and treats like watermelon and other fruits should make the remaining 10%. This will prevent obesity and diabetes in one’s dog.
Plus, there are other adverse effects of excessive consumption of watermelons like stomach upset, diarrhea, or constipation.
Smaller dogs should be given even less amount of fruit than larger dogs.
Also, the best way is to take the advice of one’s vet regarding how much watermelon should one give to their dog as per the dog’s particular breed, size, etc.
How does Sugar in Watermelon Affect Dogs?
Watermelon has sugar but it also has a high amount of fiber which acts as insulation for the sugar, allowing it to release very slowly in the bloodstream as compared to other fruits.
However, if one’s dog has diabetes, the owner shouldn’t serve watermelon to the dog until their vet advises them about the serving size and the dog’s dietary needs.
Only Natural Watermelon
Dog owners may wonder if they can feed the watermelon-flavored sweet treats available on the market to their dogs. The answer is strictly NO!
These treats may contain artificial flavors, chemicals, sugar, and other ingredients that can make a dog ill.
Too much sugar can cause stomach upset in the short term and obesity and diabetes in the long term in dogs.
Artificial sweeteners like xylitol are downright toxic to dogs. Hence dog owners should choose only natural watermelon to feed their dogs.
How to Offer Watermelon to Dogs?
Chunks: The dog owner can cut chunks of watermelon, remove seeds and rind from them and offer them to their furry friend.
Frozen: Dogs also love frozen chunks of watermelon on a hot summer day as freeing changes its texture.
Puree: Dog owners can even puree watermelon pulp (with seeds and rind removed) and add the puree to ice cube trays to freeze and offer the cubes to the dog as a snack.
Dehydrated: The dog owner can dehydrate watermelon (without seeds and rind) and create a chewy treat. This will of course delete the hydrating properties of the fruit. But it’s okay to serve it once in a while and the dog will enjoy it.
Doggie Ice Cream: The dog owner can mix watermelon with other dog-safe fruits like bananas, pineapple or blueberries, and peanut butter or yogurt, and freeze the mixture into ice cube trays for a creative treat. Or they can even make a smoothie of all those ingredients and feed the pooch.
Watermelon is good for one’s dog and so, can be a valuable addition to the dog’s treat menu.
It’s cool, very low in calories, nutrient-dense and delicious, and ideal as a hydrating food on a hot summer day.
However, one should first talk to their vet and serve the fruit without its seed and rind, and in moderation as an excessive amount can cause stomach problems in their beloved pooch.
So, serving a small amount of this tasty treat once in a while will make the dog very happy!