With its sweet, juicy and refreshing taste, the watermelon is a favorite summer treat for many of us. In fact, it might come close to being the perfect food: highly satisfying and hydrating, yet amazingly low on calories. But can dogs eat watermelon ?
Besides being tasty, this lovely fruit is also packed with important nutrients such as vitamins C, B5 and A, and the powerful antioxidant lycopene, all of which contribute to optimal health.
And humans aren’t the only ones who find watermelons utterly delicious, thanks to their unique texture, taste and hydrating ability – our furry best friends seem to like it just as much!
Can dogs eat watermelon ?
Well, if provided carefully, the answer is an absolute yes. It sure is much better than giving your dog an ice cream, which can cause ugly stomach upsets, but is watermelon actually safe and healthy for dogs? We have all the information you need on the subject, so let’s dive right into it.
Are there any health benefits of watermelon for my dog?
Watermelon consists of 91% water and 7.5% carbs, with a moderate amount of fiber and almost no protein or fat. Even though it contains simple sugars, each serving of watermelon is very low in calories and eating it should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels.
That’s great, but what exactly makes it the superfood we know it is?
- Watermelon is a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant which is vital for immune function and the growth, development and repair of all body tissues, and vitamin A, another essential micronutrient important for normal vision, reproductive health and immunity. Last but not least is vitamin B6, another water-soluble vitamin that watermelon contains in decent quantities. Vitamin B6 is responsible for turning food into energy, the normal development of the brain and the immune system and regulating the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.
- Watermelons also provide a healthy round of minerals, such as potassium, which regulates blood pressure and heart health, and copper, which helps the body form red blood cells and protects the bones, nerves and blood vessels. In fact, studies show that increasing copper intake helps prevent of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
- Finally, the antioxidants. Lycopene, an extensively studied phytochemical with well-documented antioxidant properties, is a powerful ally of hearth health and cancer prevention. In fact, watermelon is one of the very few dietary sources that provide hearty doses of lycopene. Providing lycopene-rich foods to your dog can protect their vision, slow the rate of cancer growth and prevent age-related bone damage.
In that context, as both research and collective experience have shown, infrequent and small portions of watermelon can bring amazing health benefits for your dog, including immune system protection, reduced risk of cancer, fast regeneration of damaged tissues, improved eye sight, boosted serotonin levels and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
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Can dogs eat the watermelon seeds?
Even though the watermelon seems like quite the harmless snack for our animal friends, who would happily gobble it up on a sizzling summer day, there are a few important precautions you’ll need to take if you want to introduce this lovely fruit in your dog’s diet: get rid of the seeds.
Ingesting watermelon seeds may be perfectly safe for humans, but that’s not so for our significantly smaller companions. The large, mature watermelon seeds have a difficulty sliding through the dog’s digestive system, which can cause an intestinal blockage, making it difficult to pass waste and causing intense pain.
This means that you need to strictly monitor the amount of watermelon your dog gets to eat, or opt for a seedless watermelon variant. In addition, the rind of a watermelon is also very difficult to chew and digest and may also wreak havoc to your dog’s digestive tract, as well as hurt their gums or teeth.
Since watermelon is high in sugar, it should not be a regular part of your dog’s diet. Even though the sugar from watermelon won’t release quickly into your dog’s bloodstream, thanks to the fiber it is wrapped up in, high sugar consumption is bad news for dogs, causing them to develop obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and other health problems.
But as long as you ensure moderation, watermelon can be the perfect odd snack for your dog – just make sure to lose the seeds and the rind and keep the portions small.
Can a dog have too much watermelon?
Well, yes. Too much of a good thing can sure cause you a lot of headache, and that’s certainly true in the case of watermelon-eating dogs. When dogs eat too much watermelon, they may experience stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea. That being said, if you have a larger dog, your dog can be allowed to eat more watermelon compared to a smaller breed.
If your dog is diabetic, or has special nutrition needs, watermelon should not be offered in large quantities until you consult your vet about safe serving sizes.
When you first introduce your dog to watermelon, it’s best to start small. If they like it, you can then slowly work your way up to bigger servings. Even if your dog is perfectly healthy and offered watermelon on rare occasions, you should always watch out for any signs of digestive discomfort and react accordingly.
What are some fun ways to serve watermelon to your dog?
As we mentioned, as long as you remove the rind and seeds, and don’t let your dog stuff itself with watermelon all day long, this superfood with a plethora of tried and tested health benefits can become one of your dog’s favorite snacks all-year round. Still, here are a couple of suggestions for making the treat really special!
- Classic Watermelon Chunks: Cut the watermelon into chunks, then remove the seeds and rind and serve it fresh to your dog.
- Frozen Watermelon Chunks: Cut the watermelon into chunks, remove the seeds and rind and store the chopped up fruit in the freezer for two hours. Unless your dog suffers from sensitivity to cold, this is a great option that your dog will most likely enjoy.
- Watermelon Ice Cream: While you’re at it, why not offer your dog the ultimate treat made of dog-friendly fruits? Puree a mix of fruits such as bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes, apples, blueberries, strawberries and pineapples along with some peanut butter or plain yogurt, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Yummy!
- Watermelon Jerky: Cut the watermelon into strips, remove the seeds, and dehydrate it until it has a leathery feel. Even without the hydrating benefits of watermelon, your dog will love the texture of this chewy treat.
The final verdict
As omnivores, dogs don’t have a real need to consume fruits as part of their diet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be allowed to enjoy the occasional fruity treat. Much like their human counterparts, dogs are able to enjoy the many health benefits of fruit snacks, and honestly, they should.
Watermelon is probably one of the best fruits you can offer your dog. Abundant with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, it is one of the rare foods that perfectly combines deliciousness with nutrition value. However, in order to prevent digestive problems, it’s very important that you always remove the seeds and the rind before serving the watermelon, which should be done infrequently and in moderate quantities.
As long as you keep that in mind, feel free to excite your dog with this sweet delight right away!