With summer in full swing, you’ve probably been spending lots of time at outdoor barbecues and picnics in the park. Chances are good you'll have watermelon on the menu and, if you have a dog, the chances are even better that your pooch will try to get a bite.
But is that a good idea? We all know dogs love to sneak a snack when no one is looking, and they're likely going to have their eyes (and teeth) on your fresh watermelon. Should you keep this tasty juicy fruit away from your pooch? What human foods are safe for dogs to eat, and does that include watermelon?
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Yes! Dogs Can Eat Watermelon
Not only should dogs be allowed to eat watermelon but it's good for them too! There is a whole range of vitamins and nutrients in this red fleshy fruit that can benefit your pup in a multitude of ways:
Watermelon is packed with these free radical fighters and your dog can certainly enjoy the preventative attributes that antioxidants possess. These compounds are excellent for warding off health problems like respiratory illness, heart disease, skin conditions, arthritis and other joint conditions, and cancer (just to name a few).
Did you know watermelon consists of almost 90% water? Your pooch can stay hydrated on a sweltering summer afternoon by enjoying some cool watermelon.
High in Vitamins
Despite being made up of mostly water, watermelon does provide a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B6, C, and Potassium. These help to keep your dog's brain, body, and coat healthy and happy.
This is well-known for preventing cancer and improving vision in dogs.
We all need a little fiber in our lives to help food travel through the intestines and keep constipation at bay. Dogs who are experiencing diarrhea may also find some comfort and relief from a helping of watermelon because the fruit provides fiber.
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Giving Your Dog Watermelon
So now that we've determined that watermelon is good for dogs to eat, you may be wondering how (and how much) to give your dog. There are a few ways to do it:
Cut into Chunks
It doesn't get much easier than cutting the watermelon into bite size pieces and giving them to your dog. Feel free to serve them room temperature, slightly chilled, or frozen. The cooler the fruit, the more refreshing it can be on a summer day.
Just be sure to remove the seeds and rinds first. Those are NOT good for your dog to eat (we'll go into further details on why that is in a minute).
Dump a few pieces into your blender (without seeds and rinds) and hit the puree or liquefy settings to turn that fruit into a tasty slushie. You can then pour the liquid watermelon into an ice cube tray and stick it in the freezer for frozen watermelon bites.
Watermelon Ice Cream
Combine unsweetened yogurt (dairy or dairy-free depending on your pup's lactose tolerance) and some frozen watermelon slices into a blender. Mix them together for about 30 seconds to create a fast and healthy ice cream treat that your dog will love. Use only plain yogurt without additional sweeteners, sugars, or artificial flavors. Be sure your yogurt does not contain Xylitol as this can be toxic to dogs. When in doubt, go with the plainest yogurt possible.
Why Not Seeds and Rinds?
All dogs, big and small, can enjoy watermelon in moderation. But you should not allow any dog to consume the seeds of a watermelon as this could be very dangerous.
Due to their shape and size, watermelon seeds can get stuck when moving through your dog's digestive tract. One or more can become lodged and create an intestinal blockage that could present a very hazardous health condition. This is particularly true in small dogs. The seeds are too hard to be fully digested but your pup is too excited about that fresh tasty watermelon to worry about it.
Don't worry if your pup swallows one or two - that's not going to pose any significant problem. But ingesting a whole handful of them increases the risks associated with intestinal clogging. So always take the seeds out before giving your dog any watermelon.
As for the rind, avoiding this part of the fruit can help prevent similar blockages and gastrointestinal issues as the outer layer of the skin can be swallowed without being fully chewed first. Dogs don't always think about these types of things since they just get distracted by how good watermelon tastes. It's up to you to be the responsible party here and be sure your dog is safe by eating only the appropriate parts of the watermelon.
The fruit itself is suitable for dogs. Artificially-flavored watermelon products are typically not. These food items are usually full of sugars, dyes, and other chemicals that will only result in your pup getting a stomach ache. Always be sure you're feeding your dog only natural watermelon products, and avoid the other stuff altogether. Your pup will be happier in the long run.
Curious about other foods your dog can and can't eat? Be sure to check out the Two Tails Blog!