Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

Dogs cannot eat onions but yes - they can eat watermelon. Watermelon is an excellent vitamin rich hydrating snack. But as with all melons do heed the "feed it alone or leave it alone", advice that applies to all species that eat melons.

Comprising over 90% water, watermelon is very thirst quenching so provides a great hydrating snack for both man and hound! As with all fruits, watermelon is bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, so is a nutrient rich snack too.

Watermelon is rich in vitamins and minerals

It is quoted as being especially rich in Vitamins C and B6, Lycopene, calcium and phosphorus, although it also contains many more. It even contains some fibre, which helps to slow the release of sugars into the blood. Cut into slices, dogs enjoy eating the flesh of the watermelon and chewing the rind. This is really good for cleaning the teeth and exercising the jaws.

Most dogs enjoy chewing virtually anything, but they don’t necessarily swallow it. If your dog tends to just swallow great chunks without chewing (think Labradors here who swallow their food faster than greased lightning), it would be wise to cut the rind off the watermelon first as it has been suggested that it could cause digestive upsets and even blockages.

I have treated several cases of intestinal blockage from the cores of cooked corn on the cob (sweetcorn) which I had to remove surgically. But I have never seen any problems with watermelon seeds or rinds. One can imagine that a little dog might choke on a seed and the internet is full of such dire warnings. One can also imagine that a Labrador fed nothing but kibble might gobble up this rare taste of real food way too fast. But I am not sure if these are based on fact or just the usual supposition.

Being a very sugary fruit, watermelon is digested extremely fast, so must be fed on an empty stomach, before any other foods (or at least 6 hours after), just like all melons. And this is why.

Undigested Fruit Creates A Build-Up Of Gas

When fruit is digested in the stomach, it needs to pass quickly into the small intestine and onwards to continue its digestive journey. If other foods such as meat, bones or worse, processed foods, have been fed recently, they will still be in the stomach as they are digested much more slowly. If the digested fruit is prevented from leaving the stomach, it will ferment, causing a build up of gas.

This can cause the stomach to become an unstable, gas filled balloon which can become the life- threatening gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), requiring urgent medical attention and surgical intervention.

Dogs have a very robust, adaptable digestive system, so whilst they are designed as protein and fat based carnivores, they manage to adapt to digesting carbohydrates, like fruits. But it is wise not to overdo it. Excess fruit can easily result in diarrhoea as some undigested sugars reach the large intestine and upset the delicate balance of pre- and probiotics.

The main food for a dog should be a good clean, raw source of protein and fat, which is easily achieved using vegan or animal sources. Fruits should not form more than 10-15% of the diet and most definitely should not be fed with the protein and fat components.

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