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Watermelon is a delicious fruit noted for its sweet, juicy flesh and black seeds, both of which are highly nutritious.
The flesh of the watermelon, as well as the fruit’s seeds, are typically consumed raw. However, the flesh may also be processed into fruit juice and used to flavor other beverages. Watermelon rind is also edible but only if cooked.
If you’re a dog owner with a penchant for feeding your canine friend people foods, you may have wondered if it’s safe to share watermelons with dogs. This article will put your doubts at rest by exploring everything there is to know about watermelon and dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Dogs can eat watermelon if it’s served correctly. Watermelon is a great source of several vitamins and minerals that dogs require in their diet. The fruit is also high in fiber and water but low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol. Besides, it’s full of beneficial antioxidants.
However, dogs shouldn’t eat watermelons the same way humans consume these fruits.
It’s important to exercise moderation while feeding watermelon or any fruit to your canine companion. That’s the only way to minimize the risks of negative reactions.
Health Benefits of Watermelon for Dogs
1. Watermelon May Promote Hydration
More than 90% of watermelon comprises water. Serving the fruit to your dog can be an ingenious way to keep the animal hydrated during warmer weather or if he’s suffering from a medical condition that reduces his thirst drive.
2. Watermelon May Support Weight Loss
Watermelon is considerably high in fiber and protein, a combination known to induce weight loss. These two nutrients mainly support weight loss by inducing feelings of fullness.
3. Watermelon May Treat Indigestion
In addition to its role in supporting weight loss, the high fiber content in watermelon may also help in treating indigestion. That’s due to the nutrient’s ability to bulk up stool.
4. Watermelon May Improve Your Dog’s Coat
Watermelon is a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an excellent immune booster. The vitamin is also noted for its role in rejuvenating skin by combating the signs of premature aging.
5. Watermelon May Protect Your Dog Against Heart and Cardiovascular Disease
Watermelon also abounds in potassium, a mineral that plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure. Keeping your dog’s blood pressure in check is a proactive way of guarding against cardiovascular diseases, including arteriosclerosis and heart disease.
6. Watermelons May Protect Your Dog From Cancer and Other Chronic Illnesses
We’ve already identified vitamin C as one of the antioxidants in watermelon. But it’s not the only one. These fruits teem with many other antioxidants, including beta carotene, lycopene, and cucurbitacin. The numerous antioxidants in watermelon can reduce the incidences of many other chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and degenerative brain diseases.
Potential Side Effects of Watermelons for Dogs
Watermelon seeds are arguably the biggest drawback to feeding these fruits to dogs.
Due to their hardness, watermelon seeds can prove difficult for your dog to chew. Attempting to swallow the seeds whole might cause asphyxiation and intestinal blockage.
b) Unhealthy Weight Gain
Watermelons also contain worrying levels of sugars (up to 6.2 grams in a 100-gram serving).
Dogs do not need sugar in their diets. Therefore, giving your pooch foods laden in sugar may not be a prudent decision, nutritionally speaking.
Besides, the considerably high sugar content in watermelons may lead to dangerous blood sugar spikes. This could up your dog to medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
c) Allergic Reactions
Watermelon allergies in dogs are rare compared to other fruits like blueberries and strawberries. But that doesn’t mean your dog will be perfectly alright after snacking on a watermelon-based snack.
Allergic reactions could still occur, especially in dogs that are sensitive to pollen. Symptoms depend on the nature of exposure. Common ones include sore throat & pale gums, skin itchiness & inflammation, coughing & sneezing, vomiting & diarrhea, labored breathing, and hives.
What Is the Best Way to Feed Watermelons to Dogs?
i. Remove the Seeds
Watermelon seeds are highly indigestible. Therefore, dogs should never consume the seeds.
The good news is that there are numerous seedless watermelon varieties out there. But in case you happen to have purchased the seeded varieties, your best bet is to remove the seeds before serving the fruit to your dog.
Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. All you need to do is slice the fruit open and manually remove the seeds using a knife or other sharp-tipped kitchen appliance.
ii. Remove the Rind
Surprisingly, most of the beneficial nutrients in watermelon are concentrated in the fruit’s skin, also known as the rind. However, the rind is only edible when cooked.
But while cooking watermelon renders the rind softer and easier for your dog to digest, it also destroys many of the nutrients present in the fruits. Therefore, your best bet is to remove watermelon rind and only give your dog the fleshy part of the fruit. And needless to mention, you should serve the fruit raw.
iii. Keep the Portions Low
It doesn’t matter whether your dog has been consuming watermelons all his life or you’re only now considering integrating this tasty fruit into his diet. It’s always important to observe the cardinal rule of moderation.
When all is said and done, remember that a dog’s digestive system isn’t given to processing fruits, veggies, and other plant-based foods. Therefore, serving watermelons to your dog in excess will almost always cause side effects.
Watermelons are safe for dogs to the extent that these fruits do not contain any compounds known to cause immediate toxicity. However, careful preparation is paramount if seeking to share the fruit with your canine housemate. That largely entails removing watermelon seeds and rind, as well as serving the fruit to your pooch in small portions.