Enjoying fresh watermelons is especially meaningful on a hot summer day. And with your pooch lapping at your feet with its sad, begging look, you’re more than inclined to let it have a bite or two of your favorite summertime fruit. In fact, most pet owners will often give their pooches a whole slice of this watery treat. But the question remains, should you? Is it safe for mutts to devour watermelon? Can they eat watermelon at all?
A Healthy Refreshing Fruit
Not everyone thinks that watermelons are good for your pets. Some actually believe that it is a diuretic which means it increases the frequency and volume of urine passed by your pooch. In hindsight, this can actually have a variety of benefits since the increased urination is actually in response to the 92 percent water per cup of fresh watermelons consumed by dogs. Increasing urination can help reduce the strain of too much fluid on the heart. Increasing urination also helps cleanse the tubules in the kidneys while also flushing out toxins and other unwanted byproducts of metabolism. And this is just the water that we are talking about. The remaining 8%, while miniscule by today’s standards, is actually packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins that can help ensure healthier and more optimum growth and maturation for your pooch.
Let’s try to examine the many benefits of giving watermelons to your pooch through the action of its nutrients.
- Vitamin C – Almost everyone already knows what Vitamin C brings to the table. However, aside from its immune system-boosting capabilities and antioxidant properties, there is one additional benefit that pets and their owners will surely love. Ascorbic acid is recognized to play a very important role in the synthesis of collagen. This substance is what gives structural rigidity or firmness to the different tissues of the body, but mostly on the skin. Canines receiving vitamin C are not only protected against infectious and inflammatory diseases, they are also ensured on having healthier coats and skin.
- Pantothenic acid – Vitamin B5 is important in the metabolism of macronutrients to provide your pooch with the necessary building blocks for growth, fuel for a host of physical activities, and molecules for cellular integrity.
- Vitamin A – There are many variants of vitamin A which can include retinol and beta carotene, among others. Watermelons are naturally rich in beta-carotene which is regarded for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is in addition to its benefits to your mutt’s eyesight.
- Vitamin B1– One of the most important benefits of vitamin B1 is in improving the health of the nervous system. It is particularly helpful in enhancing the cognitive functioning of dogs especially those that are already old. It also has antioxidant properties.
- Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine is important for healthy immune and nervous system functioning. Of course, like all B vitamins, it plays a role in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbs.
- Copper – This mineral is regarded for its ability to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, aid in the formation of red blood cells, help prevent premature aging, and assist in improving the health of connective tissues as well as the eyes and hair.
- Potassium – Potassium is helpful in strengthening the muscles while also improving the health of the nervous system. It is also beneficial in improving overall metabolism and fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Biotin – Pet lovers will appreciate biotin’s role in enhancing the health of their dog’s coat, nails, and skin while also protecting the brain against premature cognitive decline.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is important in relieving constipation by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the digestive tract. It is also crucial in maintaining healthier levels of sodium, potassium, and calcium in the blood.
- Lycopene – This nutrient is well-regarded for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It should provide your pooch with healthier skin while also improving the functioning of its immune system, protecting it from infections.
- Citrulline – Citrulline is a type of substance that is converted into arginine, a type of amino acid. It improves the flow of blood so that more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the cells and tissues.
Not Everything is Healthy
Just because watermelons are packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and health-enhancing properties doesn’t mean you should give your mutt the whole fruit. Like all human foods given to our pets, watermelons should always be given in moderation.
Because watermelons are comprised mostly of water, there is a great tendency of dogs to have stomach upset if they eat too much of these melons. Typically, they end up passing watery stools. While it is a good way of removing excess fluids from their bodies, it’s not only water that is removed but also important gastric acids and electrolytes. In such cases, if the diarrhea becomes very frequent or very profuse or both, then metabolic abnormalities may ensue. While it is tempting to give our pooches a whole fruit for them to chow on, this should never be done.
Additionally, the skin of the watermelon should never be given as most dogs cannot really digest this melon part really well. It will only upset their stomachs. As for the fleshy white part, the rind, some say it is okay for mutts to nibble on it while others say it should not be given. Because rinds are ‘harder’ than the red, edible part of watermelons, some dogs may not be able to chew on these thoroughly which can lead to blockage in the intestines.
For a large dog, this is usually not a problem. But if you have a small breed or even a toy breed of pooch, then even the smallest rind can cause blockage in the gut. And speaking of intestinal blockage, watermelon seeds should also not be given especially to smaller dogs as these can also lead to blockage.
Can dogs eat watermelon? Sure they can. But you should always stick with the fleshy edible portion and get rid of the seeds, although it’s perfectly okay if your mutt happens to be a large breed.