Yes, of course! But loose the rind and the seeds!
During warmer summer days, watermelon is one of the most popular treats and is a common fruit that you can treat your furry friend with! It’s a sweet, juicy fruit comprising of 92% water (giving it top status on fruits with high water content) and has a nutrient density few fruits have. While it’s a preferred choice for people, it’s also a healthy and hydrating treat!
As packed with nutrients and moisture as the watermelon is, there are some things to consider when offering a bite to your pet. Understanding the benefits and limitations of watermelon as a snack for your pet can help your friend enjoy watermelon just as much as you do! That being said, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and precautions of feeding watermelon as a treat for your animal friend.
If animals swallow watermelon seeds, the seeds can cause an intestinal blockage — which is not only painful for your pet – be it a dog, cat, bunny etc.. but could become serious enough to require surgery to correct – so please make sure to remove them before sharing it with them.
While a seed or two is unlikely to cause health problems for large animals, it doesn’t take many of them to cause a blockage in smaller pets.
It’s also unwise to give your pet the rind — the hard green outer skin of a watermelon — as ingesting it can cause gastrointestinal distress that triggers vomiting or diarrhea. While the fruit of the watermelon is a healthy snack in small quantities, eating too much of it could also give your pet an upset stomach.
Make sure you keep an eye on them to ensure it agrees with their stomach.
Watermelon can help hydrate your pet
Watermelons are one of the most water-rich fruits, containing 92% water. In humans, eating a slice of watermelon can help rehydrate as much as a cup of water would. The same hydrating properties can be enjoyed by your animal companion even if you feed them this fruit in smaller amounts. A tablespoon of watermelon contains around 9 milliliters of water. In addition to providing your pet an ample supply of clean water, giving them this fruit can be a tasty way to keep them rehydrated, especially during sweltering summer days.
How to Feed Your Pet Watermelon
Here are a few guidelines to follow when feeding watermelon to your pet:
- Only give your dog seedless watermelon or pieces of watermelon from which you’ve removed all of the seeds.
- Scoop out the fruit with a melon baller or cut it into small bites, being careful to remove any part of the rind.
- Only give your dog real watermelon. Artificially flavored watermelon treats or candy might contain other ingredients, added sugars or artificial sweeteners that could harm your pet.
Here are some safe ways to feed your pet watermelon:
- In chunks: Slice up watermelon and remove the rinds and seeds
- Frozen chunks: After removing the rinds and seeds, freeze the fruit in the freezer and take out on a hot summer day. The treat will help cool down your dog!
- Puree: Puree the fresh fruit after seeds and rinds are removed, then freeze in an ice-cube tray.
- Watermelon ice cream: Blend frozen watermelon chunks with plain, unsweetened yogurt. Add on top of your dog’s food bowl. Unless they suffer from lactose intolerance, plain yogurt is safe to eat for most dogs. It’s usually better tolerated than ice cream, plus the bacterial cultures in yogurt are great for intestinal health. Just be sure to choose plain yogurt without any added flavors, fruit, sugars, natural sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners. Read the label carefully to be sure the product does not contain toxic Xylitol. If your dog doesn’t handle yogurt well, consider other options like lactose-free, dairy-based yogurt, or dairy-free yogurt made from plant products. Always read the label to avoid any unsafe additives or ingredients.
Let’s take a deeper look at what the benefits of this tasty fruit are
Because it’s composed of mostly water, watermelons have been wrongly accused of just being a mixture of sugar and water. This could lead you into thinking that watermelon is bad for you pet’s health as well as yours. However, studies have shown that it actually offers a number of health-promoting vitamins and phytochemicals.
If you’re worried about feeding watermelon to your pet, please don’t be. Serving this delicious snack as a treat or as an addition to a nutritionally adequate, species-appropriate diet can be beneficial for their health.
- Moisture: A high moisture percentage (94%) helps with hydration, an important consideration in hot weather.
- Antioxidants: Repairs cells damaged from environmental stresses put on our bodies and that of your dogs. Think of them as the oxidation soldiers seeking damaged cells and saving them from decay that breaks down our dogs’ bodies as they age.
- Lycopene: It’s what contributes to the beautiful red in watermelon and tomatoes. It’s also beneficial for cancer prevention and supporting vision in dog. Studies have also shown that lycopene has anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes and anticancer properties. It also protects your pet against oxidative stress, which could damage their cells and organs.
- Potassium: Supports healthy kidney and heart function, promotes healthy bone density, regulates the fluid levels, and helps muscle development.
- Vitamin C: Another powerful antioxidant, boosts the immune system, and reduces inflammation.
- Fiber: Keeps food moving through the intestinal tract to avoid constipation, help resolve diarrhea, and avoid blockages.
- Vitamin A: Supports proper function and quality of skin, coat, muscles, and nerves.
- Vitamin B6: A critical coenzyme for brain and body functions regulating fluid balance, building proteins, regulating hormones, and supporting neurotransmitters in your dog’s body.
What about the sugar in watermelon?
Watermelon has sugar, but the high amount of fiber acts as insulation for the sugar, letting it release into the bloodstream slower than the sugar in fruits. However, if your pet has diabetes, watermelon shouldn’t be offered until your vet has advised you about serving sizes and your pets specific dietary needs. Healthy treats like this should comprise less than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. Of course, always remember, when feeding watermelon to your animal companion- feed it to them the same way you would eat this fruit — without the seeds and the rind.