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Watermelon: a Hydrating Summer Treat for Dogs


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Watermelon: a Hydrating Summer Treat for Dogs
Like other treats, offering watermelon to your dog alongside their usual nutritious meals should be done in moderation. (Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)
By Niko Gabriel Salgado

Watermelon, with its juicy sweetness and refreshing crunch, is a good summer treat for many. But as a dog owner, you might be wondering: is it safe to share this delicious fruit with your furry companion? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat watermelon, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind to ensure their safety and well-being.

Nutritional Benefits

Watermelon is primarily composed of water, making it a hydrating snack for both humans and dogs alike.

“Watermelon is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. And since 92% of a watermelon is actually water, it’s helpful for hydration—especially on hot summer days,” said Dr. Sandra Mitchell in “Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?” published in the PetMD website.

Beyond its high water content, watermelon also contains essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in antioxidants like lycopene, which can help support your dog’s immune system and overall health.

Fiber is another key component found in watermelon, which can aid in digestion and promote regular bowel movements for your canine companion. However, it is important to remember that while watermelon can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet, it should only be given in moderation and as a treat rather than a staple food.

When giving your dog fresh watermelon, make sure to remove all rinds, seeds and peel the skin, then chop the flesh into small, bite-sized pieces. (Photo from Pic Jumbo royalty-free images)

Precautions

There are precautions to remember even though watermelon is healthy for dogs.. While the flesh of the watermelon is safe for dogs to consume, be mindful of portion sizes. Feeding your dog large quantities of watermelon can lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea due to its high water content and natural sugars. It should be given to dogs in small, bite-sized pieces as an occasional treat.

Never give the rind and seeds of the watermelon to your dog. This poses a health risk for your furry companion.

“Be sure that your dog does not eat watermelon rind. It’s not safe for them to consume, as it can become a serious choking hazard or create an intestinal blockage,” said Mitchell.

“Before feeding any watermelon to your dog, remove the rind and seeds. These black seeds contain cyanide, although it’s unlikely that a dog would be able to eat enough of them to be poisoned. The seeds can also be a potential choking hazard,” Mitchell added.

Some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to certain fruits, including watermelon. Before introducing watermelon into your dog’s diet, it is a good idea to offer a small amount and monitor their reaction closely. Signs of an allergic reaction may include itching, swelling, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any symptoms, discontinue feeding watermelon to your dog and consult your veterinarian.

Feeding Suggestions

When offering watermelon to your dog, there are a few ways to incorporate it into their diet safely. One option is to simply cut the flesh of the watermelon into small, bite-sized pieces and offer it to your dog as a treat. Alternatively, you can freeze chunks of watermelon for a refreshing summer snack that will also help cool down your pup on hot days.

Another creative way to serve watermelon to your dog is by blending it into a homemade frozen treat. Simply puree the watermelon (without seeds or rind) and pour it into ice cube trays or silicone molds. Once frozen, these watermelon treats can be given to your dog as a delicious and hydrating snack.

According to Mitchell, if you are worried that your dog ate too much watermelon, the following are the symptoms of an upset stomach:

· Decreased appetite or loss of appetite

· Fatigue

· Acting depressed

· Looking uncomfortable

· Gulping or licking their lips, the air, or objects

Is It Safe?

While dogs can eat watermelon in moderation, it is important to take precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. Remove the seeds and rind, monitor portion sizes, and watch for any signs of allergic reactions or digestive issues.

When offered responsibly, watermelon can be a tasty and nutritious treat for your canine companion, adding variety to their diet and providing them with essential vitamins and hydration. As always, if you have any concerns about feeding watermelon or any other food to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance.

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard



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