Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
With an increase in canine obesity rates, pet owners are in search for healthy alternatives to prepackaged dog treats. Although canine digestive systems do not process carbohydrates like ours, dogs can still benefit from the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Dogs lack the enzyme amylase in their saliva, (instead the enzyme is found in their digestive tract), which makes it difficult for dogs to break down carbohydrates while they chew. When feeding any food to your dog, one of the most important factors to consider outside of safety is digestibility.
The general advice in regards to carbohydrates like watermelon is to feed in moderation. Feeding too much watermelon can lead to various problems relating to digestion.
Are Watermelons Safe For Dogs?
A limited amount of watermelon is safe to give, and small pieces of watermelon make perfect treats for overweight dogs. Both juicy and sweet, the flavor appeals to our canine companions.
Similar to watermelon, both cantaloupe and honeydew melons are safe treats that can be fed in substitute of standard biscuits or meaty treats. Keep treats to single chunks of watermelon and avoid feeding in excess.
Are Watermelons Good For Dogs?
Despite the fact that carbohydrates are not fully absorbed by the canine digestive tract, there are still significant benefits associated with the consumption of watermelon. As with the related squash family, (where pumpkins live), watermelons contain a decent amount of fiber. Fiber helps to regulate your dog's stools, and it miraculously works to prevent both diarrhea and constipation.
Watermelon also contains a significant amount of moisture. Moisture is an essential part of your dog’s diet. Dogs typically need between 8.5 - 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds of body weight on a daily basis. Dogs that are picky about drinking from their water bowls will greatly benefit from the added moisture in watermelon, especially during the hot months of summertime.
The main vitamins contained in watermelon are A, B6, and C, and a small amount of potassium. Vitamin A promotes healthy growth in puppies and is vital for vision and skin health in dogs. Vitamin B6 is very active in bolstering a dog's immune system, reducing inflammation, and in the production of hemoglobin within red blood cells.
Dogs naturally attain vitamin C via production in their own bodies. Proponents of vitamin C supplementation warn that the breakdown of vitamin C leads to a slightly increased risk of bladder stones. However, many veterinarians believe that vitamin C can help boost the canine immune system and that may outweigh the risk of stones. Furthermore, vitamin C is an antioxidant which means that vitamin C can help reduce the normal wear and tear on the body’s cells.
Because of the higher risk of bladder stones caused by the consumption of vitamin C, dogs with a history or breed disposition towards producing oxalate crystals in the urine may need to avoid watermelon. Discuss the risks and benefits with your veterinarian before feeding watermelon to your dog.
How Much Watermelon Can Dogs Eat?
All types of melons contain sugar, which is part of their appeal. Dogs are insufficient at digesting sugars, therefore melons should be fed in moderation. Too many sugary treats can cause your dog's pancreas to become inflamed, leading to a condition called pancreatitis.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs or a history of pancreatitis may need to avoid melons completely to prevent further episodes from occurring. This does not make watermelon bad for dogs, but even healthy dogs should limit the consumption of fruits to once-a-day.
Watermelons should not be fed as the primary source of fiber in your dog’s diet. Alternatively, pumpkins are an excellent source of natural fiber that can be fed on a regular basis.
Always speak to your veterinarian before introducing any new foods into your dog’s diet. Your dog’s medical history and breed disposition will dictate whether or not a certain food is safe to consume.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Rinds or Seeds?
Watermelon rinds and seeds are non-toxic to dogs. However, unlike watermelon flesh, the rinds and seeds are not easily broken down in your dog’s stomach.
One or two occasional seeds will typically not cause an issue for your dog, but a large amount of seeds could potentially cause both irritation to the stomach and pose a risk of blocking the digestive tract.
The rind poses the same problem as the seeds. Small amounts are not usually harmful, but swallowing large chunks of watermelon rind increases the risk of a dog developing a foreign body obstruction.
An obstruction is considered to be a medical emergency, and it can quickly become life-threatening. If you believe your dog has swallowed a large amount of watermelon rind, immediately contact your veterinarian to discuss preventative treatments.
Due to the risk of obstruction, watermelon should be fed to dogs with both the rind and seeds removed. Seedless watermelon can be given as an alternative if you don't fancy the idea of manually removing the seeds.
Keep in mind that seedless fruit still contains immature seeds. Therefore, you should always ensure that the young seeds are small and easy to swallow before giving watermelon as a treat.