Yum, yum, yum! Watermelons are so sweet and juicy! Now you wonder if you could feed them to your pooch.
No worries, I have thought about the same question before, too.
In this article, the main idea is to discuss the safety and nutritional values of watermelons, and the important guidelines to consider.
Is watermelon safe for dogs?
Did you know that watermelon originally came from northeast Africa where it was found growing wild? (source)
According to AKC, watermelons are safe for dogs but precautions are needed, when feeding them to your pet. (source)
Nevertheless, it is always a good practice to consult your vet first before feeding it with any other food, apart from its normal dietary plan.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon for Dogs
According to Vegetable Research and Information Center, University of California Cooperative Extension, each 1 cup cubes of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) contains:
- Calories (50)
- Fat (0.7g)
- Calories from fat (12.6 %)
- Cholesterol (0)
- Sodium (3 mg)
- Protein (1.0 g)
- Carbohydrate (11.5 g)
- Dietary fiber (0.6 g)
- Vitamin C (15 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (0.23 mg)
- Thaimine (0.13 mg)
- Vitamin A (58 RE) –
- Magnesium (17 mg)
- Potassium (186 mg)
Vitamin A is important for night vision. It aids your dog to see during the night.You can also provide your pooch with this vitamin from nectarines.
In addition, most aged dogs are incapable of producing their own natural vitamin C.The intake of vitamin C from watermelons and oranges will improve their immune system.
Also, potassium is useful in avoiding heart diseases.
Health Benefits of Watermelons
Watermelons are also rich in water and this is a good way to make your dog stay hydrated, especially during summertime.
This fruit, with its 92% of water, provides necessary fluids and nutrients to the body, including lycopene – which potentially helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers as well as protect skin from harmful UV rays. (source)
Citrulline found in watermelons can help produce a compound that relaxes blood vessels – great for heart and cardiovascular function. Penelope Perkins-Veazie (a USDA researcher in Lane, Okla) said that citrulline exists in all colors of watermelon, but is the highest in the yellow-colored one. (source)
Based on a study, there are 10 main medicinal uses and health benefits of watermelons. Watermelons can:
- Help prevent stroke and heart attack.
- Help in decrease blood pressure.
- Reinforce sex drive.
- Help prevent (skin, breast, lung, stomach and other types of) cancer by 40% – Lycopene found in red watermelon
- Help improve eyesight
- Benefit the stomach – Watermelon has 92% alkaline water that is good for stomach, especially for ulcer sufferers.
- Help reduce bad breath.
- Clean kidneys and bladder – by removing kidney stones and reducing germs in the bladder
- Help in reducing gout
- Act as a powerful energy drink
Can dogs eat watermelon rind?
We know watermelon flesh are good for dogs. But what about the rind?
There is a higher content of citrulline found in rind than flesh on a dry weight basis (24.7 vs 16.7mg/g dwt). (source)
Due to its nutritional benefits, some countries in South Asia and the United States include it into salads. (source)
Nevertheless, we still cannot feed our pooches with the skin.
It is because watermelon rind can cause intestinal blockage and other severe digestion issues in dogs. (source)
Dogs usually have a hard time chewing through the rind and this may result to serious tooth damage, too.
So, we should remove the rind first whenever serving our pooch with watermelon.
Are watermelon seeds good for dogs?
We all know that watermelons have many tiny seeds and some people actually enjoy eating them.
However, not everything that works for humans works for dogs, too.
Dogs have a delicate digestive system. Some enzymes that we use to digest other foods like the seeds in the watermelon may lack in its digestive system. (source)
If you have to feed it with watermelons, try looking for one that is seedless, or remove them manually by hand picking the seeds before the feeding time.
You might think one seed will cause no harm. Let’s imagine the damage it would do to your pooch if a collection of seeds passed through its digestive system – a fatal block!
Please take your dog to the vet as soon as possible, if you dog shows any of the following signs of intestinal blockage after being fed watermelon:
How much watermelon should I feed my dog?
Watermelons have very little calories.That’s why it is easy for you to get tempted to overfeed your fido.
There isn’t a limit to how much watermelon you can feed your fido. However, everything has to be in moderation.
Plus, your dog’s belly has other food to fill in other than watermelon.
More importantly, if it is the first time that you give this fruit to your pet, make sure it is given in small bits. This is to make sure its stomach adjusts to this melon.
Please consult your vet to get an exact guide on how much watermelon your pooch should enjoy, as every dog is unique.
Can I Give Watermelons to My Dog With Kidney Disease?
Dogs with kidney disease can benefit from fruit and vegetable options as low phosphorus treats.
Watermelon is one of them.
According to Vet Nutrition, an ideal treat option for dogs should not be higher than 150mg phosphrous per 100 kcal and 100mg sodium per 100 kcal for most chronic kidney disease dog patients, as well as avoiding high protein intake. (source)
How to pick the best watermelon for your dog
Natasha Haynes, Extension agent and host of The Food Factor suggests tips for choosing the best watermelon. Watermelons should:
- Be well-rounded
- Be firm
- Feel heavy – a heavier watermelon means a riper watermelon
- Have a deep yellow field spot
Dogs can actually eat watermelons. But they should be given in moderation, even as a good treat!
Having learnt that watermelons provide so many health benefits to not only humans, but also our pet dogs; would you give them a try?