Fans of canines and fruit have long asked, “can dogs eat watermelon?” After all, it’s hard for dog owners to enjoy their food like everyone else! When you sit down after the work of preparing and cooking your meal, there’s one last obstacle a dog parent needs to overcome: two big puppy eyes looking up at you, begging for scraps. You feed your dog, you take care of your dog, but it can still be hard to say no when the whimpering starts.
Though summer may be coming to an end, the summertime snacks aren’t going anywhere — and neither is your dog’s begging. For now, let’s just focus on one summer treat: watermelon.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Fruit?
As omnivores, fruit is a crucial part of a human’s diet. However, canines are naturally carnivore-biased, meaning they don’t need fruits the same way humans do. It is perfectly fine to restrict your dog to a kibble-only diet, but the occasional fruity treat is fine, depending on what kind. The main fruits to make sure your furry friend stays away from are avocados, cherries, grapes, and tomatoes. These fruits can contain persin, cyanide, and solanine, all of which are dangerous to a dog. Other fruits will serve as a great snack for your dog, including watermelon.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat watermelon, but only the fruit part! What dogs can’t eat is the rind and seeds of a watermelon. The rind can cause gastrointestinal trouble, and the seeds could lead to an intestinal blockage. To reduce the risk of seeds causing stomach trouble later in the day, play it safe and grab a seedless watermelon.
As for the fruit itself (or flesh), watermelon contains vitamins A, B6, C, and is rich in potassium, adding up to a healthy snack for your dog. While the fiber content in watermelon is not high, the amount present helps with sugar absorption. Additionally, they call it watermelon for good reason. Watermelon is 92% water, meaning a cube or two of the fruit on a hot day will hydrate your pet almost as well as plain water.
How Often Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Being partial to a carnivorous diet, a dog digests food much differently than a human. While your hound will likely enjoy as much watermelon as you give it, make sure to only feed them fruit in moderation. A canine’s intestinal tract will have difficulty digesting large quantities of watermelon, leading to diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. Watermelon and other treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. The best time to feed your dog watermelon is during hot months. This is typically when the animal will be outside for extended periods!
Can Watermelon Give My Dog Diarrhea?
Any dog can react poorly to fruit, especially if given in large quantities. Don’t feel like you’re depriving your pet of healthy food by not offering it your apple or watermelon. Dog’s might enjoy fruit, but regular pet food is already giving your dog all the necessary nutrients!
Every dog is unique, and every dog’s health can be affected by new foods. A change in diet is a potential problem for any creature’s internal homeostasis. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian in order to determine what’s best for your particular pet. If you keep the fruit snacks occasional, rindless, and seedless, your dog should not get diarrhea.
Health Benefits of Watermelon for Canines
Watermelon is a food packed with health benefits. It is low in calories, and high in nutrients like vitamins and potassium. Potassium (an electrolyte in blood and cells) helps to regulate your dog’s nerve impulses, brain function, muscle activity, and heart capability.
Watermelon is also packed with health-protective antioxidants and vitamins A, B, and C. Vitamin A assists with the growth and immune system of your canine, B vitamins affect their energy metabolism, and vitamin C reduces inflammation and cognitive aging. Watermelon is also a great source of hydration for dogs, especially when the weather is hot!
How to Prep Watermelon for Dogs
When serving your pet watermelon, you need to be careful. Why? Dogs will eat just about anything! Ask anyone who owns both a dog and a cat and they’ll tell you some litter-box horror stories. So it won’t surprise you to know that when canines eat watermelon, they’ll also eat whatever is in, on, or around it. Watermelon seeds can cause intestinal blockage in your pet, so remove any seeds beforehand. Alternatively, offer them seedless watermelon rather than seeded.
Next, be sure to remove the rind. Watermelon rind is not dangerous to dogs in the same way that cherries or avocados are, so if some rind gets through, don’t worry. Those other fruits contain cyanide, persin, or solanine, which are all harmful to dogs.
The danger with a watermelon rind is its texture and toughness. Just like seeds causing an intestinal blockage, a piece of rind that is not thoroughly chewed by your pet can back up their gastrointestinal tract. Once you’ve separated the rind and seeds from the rest of the watermelon, it’s safe for your dog. Here are some ideas for serving your furry friend (remember to keep your pet’s treats limited to less than 10% of their daily calorie intake):
The easiest prep for pet-owners will be to cut up your watermelon into cubes appropriate for the size of your dog. If they have sensitive teeth, be sure the watermelon is easily chewable and not too thick. If your dog’s teeth are strong, try freezing the cubes for a crunchier snack. Offer your dog this sweet snack as often as you would a dog treat.
Frozen Watermelon Smoothie
If your dog has trouble chewing or needs easy foods to digest, a smoothie is your best bet. Mix 4 cups watermelon chunks with ⅔ cups of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, one tablespoon honey, one tablespoon chopped mint, and a cup full of ice in a blender to make a delicacy safe for man’s best friend. Has your dog’s been especially well-behaved lately? Feel free to throw in some other safe fruit like cantaloupe (seedless and rindless) or blueberries. Keep in mind that just because this recipe will yield a certain amount of smoothie, it does not mean you should give your dog all of it. Remember the “10% of daily calorie intake” rule, and keep serving sizes appropriate to the size of your dog.
Yogurt is another treat that your dog may or may not react poorly to, depending on their digestive tract. Dairy, like fruit, can upset a canine’s stomach if given regularly. As always, a consultation with a veterinarian never hurts. If everything looks good, then fill an ice cube tray or molds with nonfat, plain yogurt. Blend your fruit, top the yogurt with watermelon puree, and freeze. Separating the yogurt into an ice tray or a mold before freezing will help you transport the yogurt and control portion sizes. Once the watermelon yogurt is frozen solid, serve as you would treats.
Humans have a hard time eating the same thing just twice in one day. We crave variety, so it can be difficult to see our pets eating the same food every day and not feel like they’d appreciate some diversity in their diets as well.
Keep in mind that pet food is specially engineered to offer your pet all of the vitamins and nutrients your animal needs to stay healthy and happy. Radically different food than an animal is used to, or large amounts of fruit or dairy can lead to an upset stomach.
Still, who loves a treat more than a dog? Watermelon should be just that for your own best friend, a treat. Nourishing, hydrating, and delicious, serve your good boy or girl some seedless, rindless watermelon every once in a while to show your love.
Read Next: The 5 Best Superfoods For Your Dog’s Diet
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Written by cheefryan at www.holistapet.com