Picture this: A hot summer day, the family by the pool and a freshly cut watermelon ready to enjoy. Just as you take your first juicy bite, you notice your dog staring with those puppy dog eyes that make it so hard to say no.
You think to yourself: “It wouldn’t hurt to give my dog a refreshing, healthy snack right?”
Well you could be wrong, but only if you fail to follow the proper precautions. However, as long as you make sure the watermelon is prepared for the dog to eat safely, it is usually fine to allow your dog to eat watermelon.
While there are many summer snacks such as ice cream and milkshakes that may not be safe for your animal to ingest, watermelon is a great snack your animal can enjoy to cool off and hydrate when the temperatures rise.
How to prepare watermelon for a dog
It’s important to know how to prepare watermelon to make sure your dog isn’t at risk of getting sick or choking. Before feeding watermelon to your dog, there are a few precautions you should take to make sure the watermelon is safe for your dog to consume.
The most important thing to do when preparing watermelon for your dog is to remove the seeds. While missing a few seeds may not make a huge difference, ingesting too many seeds could cause a block in the animal’s digestive track, leading to further complications.
Dog owners should always remove the tough rind before giving watermelon to their dog. The rind is difficult to chew and could pose a choking hazard if the dog ingests whole pieces of the rind. Consuming watermelon rinds can also lead to intestinal blockage, especially for smaller dogs. The rind is often difficult for dogs to ingest, which may lead to abdominal pains, vomiting, constipation or lethargy. If you notice symptoms of intestinal blockage, it’s important to take your dog to a Vet to receive medical attention immediately.
Avoid giving your dog too much watermelon. While watermelon is a healthy snack for dogs to enjoy, ingesting too much watermelon could make your dog sick. Dogs can often become ill when given a new food. Start with one or two small pieces and see how your dog reacts. If your dog exhibits signs of gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, severe gas or diarrhea, watermelon may not be the best snack for your animal.
Cut the watermelon into bite-size pieces to make it easier for your dog to chew. Avoid cutting the watermelon into pieces too small to chew, as this could be a choking hazard. Always watch your dog while eating to make sure it chews properly.
As with any new food, observe your dog after the first time it eats watermelon to make sure there are no adverse reactions, as some animals could be allergic to the fruit. If your dog begins showing signs of illness or allergic reaction, contact your vet immediately.
Advantages of watermelon for dogs
Watermelon is packed full of vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamins A, B6 and C. It’s also a great source of potassium, and has a high amount of fiber which can promote healthy digestion. Watermelon is low-calorie, fat-free and cholesterol-free, and it’s low in sodium. Watermelon is made up of around 90 percent of water, so it’s a yummy choice for hydration for dogs.
Other Safe and Healthy Fruits for Dogs
There are many other fruits your dog might enjoy that are safe for ingestion. Why not get creative and make your dog a delicious fruit cocktail or smoothie? Most dogs can safely eat apples, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, peaches, pears and mangoes. Avoid giving your dog grapes, cherries, avocado and tomatoes.
As with any fruit, make sure to check with your veterinarian or animal nutritionist to make sure it is safe for your dog to ingest. Make sure all fruits have been rinsed and cleaned to remove any pesticides, the rind and seeds have been removed, and the fruits are cut into pieces that can easily be chewed by dogs.
While fresh fruits are a healthy choice for a dog treat, avoid giving your dog pre-made fruit snacks or things with fruit flavors, as these can contain additives and sugars that could be unsafe for your animal.
Fun tip: For an extra cooling snack your dog will love, try freezing chunks of watermelon before serving them to your dog.
Watermelon is a yummy, refreshing snack that is healthy for dogs to enjoy. As long as the fruit is prepared properly by removing the seeds and rind and cutting it into appropriately sized pieces, it is safe for your dog to ingest. Once you have checked with your dog’s veterinarian, you can begin enjoying delicious, hydrating watermelon with your pet.