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We all love watermelon. And we love our dogs and usually want to treat them to nice things but it’s best to be careful because the health of our pets should be a priority. On hot days especially a juicy fruit that is 92% water can be a very healthy and refreshing solution, and not just for dogs but for humans too. Dogs enjoy sweet foods as much as so your dog would definitely enjoy being treated to a snack as nice as watermelon. So that brings us to the main question, can dogs eat watermelon?
Yes, dogs can eat watermelon. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are omnivores and though their digestive system is quite different from ours, they can still eat a lot of things that we eat with variations in the appropriate quantity. They can properly digest and benefit from the nutrients that a watermelon will provide but as it is with a lot of other fruits, there are some things you should know first.
The Benefits of Giving Dogs Watermelon
Watermelons are filled with a lot of healthy nutrients that are as beneficial for dogs as they are for humans. It contains antioxidants that help to repair cells that may have been damaged from external stress on the body and a rich antioxidant diet reduces cognitive dysfunction in older dogs.
They are also rich in potassium which helps to promote healthy heart and kidney functions, regulates fluid levels in the body, helps in muscle development, and promotes healthy bone density.
Then, they contain vitamin A which helps in the quality and proper functioning of the skin, muscles, and nerves.
Vitamin B1 is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and high energy organs need it to function properly.
Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, also has its role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, as well as proteins and fats.
Vitamin B6 is a critical coenzyme (a substance that enhances the function of an enzyme) for brain and body functions, it supports amino acid metabolism and helps to improve bladder health, it helps in regulating hormones, and supports their neurotransmitters.
They are also rich in vitamin C which is a very powerful antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and support healthy aging. Vitamin C can also improve overall energy and provide relief to dogs suffering from UTIs (Urinary Tract Infection).
They have very high fiber content which helps to keep food moving in the intestinal tract during digestion and this prevents issues like constipation and blockages and can help with diarrhea. Its high nutritional value makes it one of the best choices if you’re looking for a healthy snack. Among its numerous benefits is a naturally occurring chemical, Lycopene which gives it its red color and can help to improve vision and prevent cancer or slow the rate of cancer growth.
With all these benefits it’s understandable if you would just want to constantly feed your dogs with watermelons and as healthy as that might sound, here’s why it’s not a very good idea.
When is Watermelon Bad for Dogs?
It is ideal that watermelon doesn’t make up a large part of your dog’s diet and that’s because too much of it will most like lead to diarrhea or other signs of gastrointestinal upset. It is possible that your dog may just be having an initial reaction because they’ve never had watermelon before so you should try in very small amounts and see how they react.
The seeds of the watermelon can also cause problems. They are not toxic, but they are hard and difficult to chew and digest properly. This isn’t a major risk because one or two seeds won’t make a difference but consuming a lot of them can cause a blockage in their digestive tract. This might not be a major issue at all for larger dogs who can pass the seeds with their feces but smaller dogs are at a higher risk of experiencing a blockage.
The rinds of watermelon are also a hazard because they are hard to chew and your dog is more likely to swallow it if they can’t chew it. This is also worse for smaller dogs. The outer light green part is safe to eat though but you should cut it out carefully to make sure it contains no parts of the hard exterior because some severe cases of blockages will require surgery to remove them.
If your dog consumes too many seeds or part of the rind you should monitor them for signs of diarrhea, repetitive vomiting, dehydration, vomiting, reduced appetite, whining and hunching, or any forms of discomfort, slowness, unresponsiveness and unusual inactivity. If you notice any of these symptoms do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for treatment or advice.
You should also ensure your dog can’t get into your trash can so they don’t get the chance to eat rinds or seeds that have been thrown away. This is also a good general rule so your dogs won’t come in contact with any other spoilt or unhealthy food.
However, if your dog is diabetic, the fibers might help to slow down the rate at which sugar is released and absorbed by their body, but as a rule, you should stay away from fruits unless your veterinarian gives the go-ahead and make sure you stick to the amounts recommended.
If they are obese the sugar in watermelons and most other fruits will just worsen the situation and the higher the amounts, the worse it gets.
Though this is very rare if your dog is reacting badly, they might just be allergic to watermelons. This might lead to symptoms like itching, and gastrointestinal upset. In some severe cases, this can lead to anaphylaxis which is a very dangerous and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Some of its symptoms are wheals or hives (red swelling on the skin), excessive drooling, a swollen face, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should contact your veterinarian immediately you notice any of these symptoms.
If your dog has any other preexisting conditions then you should speak with your veterinarian first to find out if your dog can have watermelons, how often they can, and what amounts are appropriate.
How many watermelons Can Your Dog Eat?
Treats should not make up more than 10% of the daily calorie intake for dogs no matter their size. This is usually referred to as the 90/10 rule where the remaining 90% comes from their regular dog food. While you might be tempted to give in and just give in and give them watermelons because of their numerous benefits and just as a nice gesture, remember that their long-term health is more important.
How to Feed Your Dogs Watermelon
Make sure all seeds and rinds are removed completely. seedless watermelons are a very easy option. These are watermelons that are produced by some chemical alterations and cross-breeding and although they’re not totally seed-free as you would expect when you hear the name, they only produce hollow shells that don’t mature into hard, black seeds. These are soft and totally edible and harmless.
Then cut it up into small chunks and that’s all. It’s really simple and you can decide to get creative and mix it up with some other healthy fruits like mangoes, strawberries, bananas, cherries, and cranberries in a fruit salad but don’t get too crazy with it and make sure any fruits you’re going to be adding are prepared properly and free from any forms of seeds.
Serving them fresh is a straightforward and really easy way to go about it but you could also give them frozen watermelons as a very refreshing treat on a hot day but be sure that their teeth are strong enough to handle frozen food.
Freeze-dried or dehydrated watermelons as they’re often called are also safe but they don’t have as much water and have a higher sugar concentration so they should be given in smaller amounts than regular watermelon treats.
Can Puppies Eat Watermelon?
Yes, they can but it should be cut into much smaller sizes and take up an even smaller portion of their diet. Watermelons are good for them but because of their small size and still maturing tummies, it’s best to give them very little amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Products?
Snacks or candies or anything with artificial watermelon flavoring should be avoided because a lot of these have sweeteners or preservatives that can be very harmful to your dogs.
Unless their lactose intolerant plain yogurt is fine for them and you can blend watermelon chunks with it as a treat but make sure the yogurt does not have any added flavors or sweeteners.
If handled properly watermelon can be a very healthy ad nutritious treat for your dogs. This should be done in moderation though and as a rule, you should talk to your veterinarian before sharing any human food with your dogs and watermelon is not an exception.