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Watermelon is a favorite summer fruit. This healthy melon is popular at picnics and barbecues (or any time for that matter). For those of us with dogs, our desire to share the deliciousness may leave us wondering: can dogs eat watermelon?
If you eat watermelon often but worry about handing a piece to your pup, worry no more. Below, you’ll learn more about feeding your dog watermelon.
We’ll cover the different parts of a watermelon, nutritional benefits, and precautions. Find out if it’s safe to share this fruit with your beloved furry friend.
Please note: this article is intended to be informative, but it should not be taken as a replacement for veterinary advice. Please always consult with your vet before feeding your dog something new.
What exactly is a watermelon anyway?
Can dogs eat watermelon?
The fleshy pink fruit of the watermelon is generally safe for dogs to eat. This is because watermelon is mainly water, has nutrients, and doesn’t contain anything harmful to your pet.
So, in short, yes. Dogs can eat watermelon. However, not all parts of the watermelon are safe for your pooch. With that said, there are some precautions that you’ll need to take.
What are the nutritional benefits of watermelon for dogs?
Is watermelon good for dogs? Yes! Watermelon has many nutritional benefits. It contains several different vitamins including A, B6, and C.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is great for your pup’s vision, bone growth, and reproduction. Vitamin A is essential for skin, coat, muscles, and nerve health.
- Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin in humans and animals. It forms amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of cell growth. This vitamin can improve the look and feel of your dog’s coat by adding shine and strength. Additionally, amino acids reduce tooth decay and promote bone health.
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system. In your dog, vitamin C can reduce inflammation and cognitive aging. While dogs can synthesize vitamin C on their own, sometimes supplementation is needed.
Essential electrolytes like potassium are also found in this large melon. Consequently, watermelon is great for hydration. Electrolytes are important to proper hydration.
The amount of water in a watermelon adds to that. Watermelon is made up of about 92% water. This makes watermelon a great treat to give your dog during the hot summer months or after vigorous activity.
Additionally, watermelon contains fiber. Fiber aids in digestion. This melon also contains sugar but don’t worry.
Because of the fiber, the sugars in watermelon are released more slowly. This reduces spikes in blood sugar when compared to other sugary fruits.
Furthermore, antioxidants including lycopene are found in watermelon. Science has linked watermelon to a decrease in inflammation, thanks to these antioxidants.
Not to mention, watermelon is low in calories and contains no sodium, fat, or cholesterol. This makes it an excellent treat for your furry friend.
Is watermelon ever dangerous for dogs?
So, watermelon is generally safe, hydrating, and contains nutrients — but is watermelon bad for dogs? As mentioned previously, the pink flesh is fine for dogs.
The other parts, however, are not. Therefore, yes, watermelon can be dangerous for your pet if you don’t take the right precautions.
Other parts of the fruit
Watermelons aren’t made up of only flesh. These large fruits have a hard, green rind that is bitter and thick. Additionally, watermelons are full of seeds.
If a dog consumes watermelon seeds, it can lead to an intestinal blockage. Intestinal blockages can cause vomiting, discomfort, and pain. If your dog is dry heaving or gagging after eating watermelon, it’s possible they accidentally ingested a seed.
Even scarier, a blockage can lead to a medical emergency. In some cases, they can become serious enough to require surgery.
Generally, one or two seeds won’t cause any major health issues.
However, it doesn’t take much more than that to lead to a blockage, especially in dogs of smaller breeds. While larger breeds tend to have less of a problem with ingesting seeds, it’s still best to avoid the risk.
Can dogs have seedless watermelon?
Can dogs eat watermelon rind?
The watermelon rind is the hard green outer skin. The rind itself isn’t poisonous, nor does it contain anything particularly hazardous to your dog.
However, the toughness and texture can cause some serious issues.
A dog may not chew the rind completely. Therefore, intestinal blockage becomes a possibility. In addition, the rind poses a choking hazard, especially to small breed dogs.
A few nibbles on a watermelon rind won’t hurt your pooch, but they shouldn’t eat the skin. No matter what size your dog is, the skin cannot be properly digested.
If your dog consumes a watermelon rind, don’t panic. He’s not necessarily in danger but you should still watch him closely for any adverse effects.
So, can dogs have watermelon? Yes, they can, but with seeds and rind removed.
If my dog has health issues, can I still give them watermelon?
If your dog has current health issues or is on a special diet, it’s best to speak with your vet before introducing a new food.
While watermelon isn’t necessarily dangerous, it could cause some health issues for dogs that have digestion issues or other gastrointestinal problems.
Also, due to its sugar content, watermelon might not be suitable for dogs suffering from diabetes.
Can dogs have watermelon flavored treats?
What is the best way to prepare watermelon for dogs?
Before giving your dog watermelon, be sure to wash it thoroughly. Watermelon is grown in fields on the ground. Therefore, a watermelon’s rind can be contaminated with bacteria and pesticides.
If you cut into the fruit before it’s cleaned, you could be transferring those pesticides and bacteria into the pink fleshy area. Once it’s been washed, you can cut it without worry.
Serving watermelon in its regular form is best, but there are many different ways to prepare watermelon for your dog.
First, you’ll want to prepare the fruit. Scoop out the fruit and cut it into small bites. Remove the rind completely and remove the seeds.
Once you’ve removed the seeds and the rind, you can hold out a piece of fleshy fruit (seeds removed) and let your dog lick it while it’s in your hands. Additionally, you can just give them the cubed pieces to chew on.
Can I make frozen watermelon treats for my dog?
Can I dehydrate watermelon?
Can dogs eat watermelon if it’s dehydrated? Yes, they can, however, it will reduce some of its hydrating capabilities. Dehydrating watermelon in a food dehydrator will create a chewy, tasty treat for your dog.
Simply cut a seedless watermelon into slices. Remove the white seeds. Place the pieces into a food dehydrator.
Alternatively, you can always dehydrate the watermelon pieces in your oven. This takes longer than using a dehydrator but it works.
Heat the oven to 135 degrees and place the cubed watermelon on a baking sheet. Dehydrate for about 8 hours or until dried completely.
What are some tips for feeding your dog watermelon?
As with any dog treat, introduce it to your dog slowly. Start with small one-inch wedges. Wait a couple of hours to look for any adverse reactions.
If there are no issues, you can gradually increase the amount. With that said, it’s best not to feed your dog more than five one-inch cubes over the course of a day.
How much watermelon can I feed my dog?
Remember that watermelon is a treat. It should not be the main source of energy for your dog. Your furry friend still needs to receive protein from its regular diet. Treats, including watermelon, should make up no more than 10% of your pup’s caloric intake.
It’s also important to keep your dog’s size in mind. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the dog, the less watermelon he should consume. Larger dogs might get away with consuming one cup of cubed watermelon (seed and rind removed). With smaller dogs, however, a one-inch cube or two is probably best to start.
Avoid overfeeding your dog watermelon. When eaten in excess, watermelon can cause diarrhea, thanks to its high water content.
Moreover, because watermelon has such high levels of vitamins A, B6, and C, feeding your dog too much can result in a vitamin imbalance. Dogs can produce vitamin C in their livers on their own. While supplementation is needed for dogs with metabolic issues, healthy dogs don’t need excessive doses of this vitamin.
Can I use watermelon as a training treat for my dog?
Are all melons safe for dogs?
Watermelon isn’t the only melon safe for dogs to eat. Similarly, cantaloupe and honeydew melon are also high in water content, vitamins, and electrolytes.
These fruits need to be prepared the same way as watermelon. They should be washed and the seeds and rind removed. As with watermelon, they should be cut into small, bite-sized pieces.
Be aware, however, that these fruits are also high in sugar. They, too, should be given in moderation.
What other fruits can my dog eat?
Watermelon isn’t the only fruit that you can give to your beloved furry friend. The following fruits are acceptable for dogs (in moderation, of course):
- Apples (peel, core, and seeds removed)
- Bananas (no peel)
In addition to fruits, vegetables can also be given to your pet. Things like cucumbers (without the peel and seeds) and green beans are excellent ways to add more nutrients to your dog’s diet. Don’t forget to check with your veterinarian first!
Be mindful when serving it, however. The fruit is high in vitamins and electrolytes, but there are parts of the fruit that your dog shouldn’t eat.
Always introduce new foods gradually and make sure that you’re there to observe your pet afterward.
Always check with your vet before feeding your dog any new foods. It’s best to confirm that it won’t have any negative effects on your pooch’s body.
The next time that you enjoy a wedge of watermelon, feel free to share the deliciousness with your pooch.
As long as watermelon is provided safely and in moderation, it’s an acceptable treat for Fido.
P.S – For another handy safety guide on dogs eating human food, check out this article explaining if dogs can eat pickles!
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