We love our dogs and if there's one thing dogs love to share with us, it's "people food!" The last thing we want to do, however, is to give our furry friends treats that aren't good for them.
We often find lists of edible substances that are toxic to dogs that mention things like chocolate, raisins, and garlic. But what about the foods that aren't on those lists? Is it possible that even those foods that aren't toxic still pose a threat?
We're going to talk about whether dogs can eat watermelon, as watermelon is one of those foods that falls into the grey zone.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Ultimately, the answer is yes. The meat of the fruit is safe for dogs.
The most important thing to note is that they can digest (and even benefit from) the red and light green fruit contained inside the watermelon rind. However, they shouldn't eat the seeds and the rind itself.
Dogs and Watermelon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
According to the American Kennel Club, routine vet visits can cost up to $1,500 a year. This doesn't include emergency vet trips or unforeseen surgeries. A lot of emergency trips to the vet occur after your dog eats something they shouldn't.
Despite popular beliefs, dogs are actually omnivores, not carnivores, and throwing fresh fruit and veggies into their daily intake is always a good idea! Now, let's talk about watermelon and how to safely feed this healthy snack to your dog.
Watermelon contains some of the vitamins that do your doggy good. Watermelon has Vitamin A, which is good for eye, cell, and immune health. It also has B6, which keeps their coat shiny and strong, and the kind of Vitamin C that can keep allergens and sniffles at bay.
Although watermelon does contain sugar, it won't release quickly into their bloodstream. This is because the fiber in watermelon wraps around the sugar and actually slows its natural release.
Fiber has many health benefits. Some kinds of fiber may even promote good gut health. Watermelon doesn't top the charts for fiber content, but it does contain a bit, which is better than nothing!
Watermelon also contains a large amount of lycopene, a phytochemical that is found in naturally red fruits and vegetables. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals in both the human and dog system. Free radicals can damage your dog's cells and create issues in her immune system.
Finally, watermelons, true to their name, are mostly made of water. That means that watermelon is both low in calories and hydrating, making them a good alternative to pre-packaged treats on a hot day.
The parts of a watermelon that you should avoid feeding to your dog are the seeds and the rind. While they are not toxic, they are difficult to chew and digest and could pose a threat to your dog's teeth and digestive tract.
If your dog eats too many seeds at once, they may begin to cause intestinal blockage, making it difficult to pass waste and causing extreme discomfort.
Smaller dogs are more at risk from watermelon seeds than larger dogs, because they have smaller intestines.
The rind is difficult to digest and could pose problems to your dog's digestive tract. It's also very solid, and if your dog has issues with their gums or teeth, sinking into the rind could cause pain or even the cracking or loss of teeth.
There can always be too much of a good thing. Even if you're careful to use seedless watermelon and cut the fruit away from the rind before sharing pieces of watermelon with your dog, there are still ways that this sweet treat can, well, backfire.
When you're introducing new food to your dog's diet, start with small amounts.
Diarrhea is a telltale sign that your pup has had too much of something they don't often eat. If they get diarrhea every time you feed them watermelon, it probably isn't right for them.
Best Ways to Feed Your Dog Watermelon
If your dog has special nutritional needs, it's best to speak with your vet before introducing them to watermelon.
As long as you remove the rind and seeds, there's no wrong way to feed your dog watermelon. That being said, we love to get creative when we're brightening our dogs' days with "human food." Here are a few of our favorite ways to feed our dogs a refreshing summer snack!
Frozen Watermelon Chunks
As long as your dog doesn't have gum or enamel issues that create sensitivity to cold, frozen watermelon is a great option. Frozen watermelon has a malleable, chalky texture, meaning that it shouldn't crack or break your dog's teeth the way ice cubes could.
Cut your watermelon into small chunks and spread them on a freezer-safe tray. Within an hour or two, they should be flash frozen and ready to enjoy or store to savor throughout the year.
If you have a dehydrator, try making watermelon jerky! Watermelon jerky is a good alternative to the processed jerky pet food found in pet stores.
Cut the watermelon into strips rather than cubes. Remove the seeds and dehydrate until it has a leathery feel. You can keep these pieces of watermelon jerky on hand for a few days to reward good behavior or to keep your dog entertained with fun, healthy, human food!
A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog
At Wild Earth, our goal is to make healthy protein dog food and dog treats that make it easier for you to raise a healthy pup!
If you're ready to change the way you think about your dog's diet, visit our online shop to see what we have to offer. Keep checking in with us to learn more about your dog's health!
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