When it’s hot outside, you enjoy watermelon as a sweet treat that helps you cool off and stay hydrated. Chances are, your dog has been running around and panting a lot more than you have. They see that watermelon and they know it’s the perfect treat. They’re probably being a very patient, very good boy or girl, sitting and giving you the “please” face while waiting for their share of this summer refresher. But can they actually have any?
Yes, they can! The watermelon is just as good for your pup as it is for you, but you’ll need to serve it to them differently. They don't have hands and they can’t spit the seeds they encounter. They’ll need manageable pieces of watermelon that have been prepared specifically for their safe enjoyment.
The Benefits of Watermelon for Your Dog
The health benefits of watermelon for dogs are very similar to the health benefits of watermelon for humans. Your dog’s body will appreciate it the same way your body does.
Watermelon is Hydrating
Watermelon is almost completely water. If your dog has had a lengthy excursion with their friends at the park or if they’ve accompanied you on your morning jog, they need to rehydrate. Watermelon is the perfect snack to help them with that.
Watermelon is Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are basically compounds that take damage on behalf of your cells. Environmental stressors and even daily functions like the act of digesting food can introduce free radicals to living bodies. These free radicals seek an electron to steal, and will steal it from a healthy cell. The healthy cell is then damaged in the process. Antioxidants offer up their resources instead, acting as soldiers to protect the health of your pup at the most foundational levels.
Watermelon is Packed with Vitamins
Watermelon is naturally high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Vitamin A is vital for your dog’s skin health, nerve health, and muscular health. Vitamin B6 regulates brain and body functions. Vitamin C fortifies your dog’s immune system.
Watermelon Contains Potassium and Lycopene
Red or pink colored fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, a powerful antiproliferative that may be beneficial in preventing certain types of canine cancers. Potassium is a vital electrolyte and mineral that supports heart health, regulates kidney function and fluid retention, and supports muscle recovery.
Active dogs are constantly using their muscles and are prone to dehydration. Potassium, when coupled with its high water content and its ability to regulate fluid levels, is what makes watermelon a perfect snack for an energetic dog.
Precautions To Take Before Serving Your Dog Watermelon
Don’t toss your dog a watermelon the same way you’d toss them a tennis ball. Before you give your dog their special treat, there’s a few things you need to consider, and a special way to present it.
Preparing Watermelon for Your Dog
Humans can safely eat an entire watermelon, including the rinds and seeds. The seeds and rinds aren’t good for your dog, though. Seeds can accumulate and lead to blockages of the intestines, and dogs will have a hard time digesting the rind. Separate the black seeds from the flesh of the watermelon and discard them first.
If you’ve bought seedless cubed watermelon or you’ve separated seedless watermelon from the rind already, it’s perfect for your dog. Seedless watermelon sometimes contains small white seeds, but these seeds are immature. They’re unlikely to accumulate in your dog’s intestines.
Always Be Mindful of Sugar
Watermelon contains sugar. This sugar is from a natural source, and it comes packed with a lot of fiber. The naturally occurring fiber will help to counterbalance some of that sugar. If your dog is overweight or diabetic, this counterbalance may not matter as much. If your vet has placed your dog on a strict diet, don’t deviate from that diet by feeding your dog treats the vet hasn’t approved of.
Don’t Overfeed Your Dog Watermelon
We all love giving our dogs special snacks, but they have less leeway in their diets than we do. Most people who attempt to make healthy choices will abide by the 80/20 rule. About 80% of what they eat is healthy, and 20% of what they eat is indulgent. Your dog needs a balance of 90% healthy to 10% indulgent.
A couple cubes of watermelon for a large dog or a single cube of watermelon for a small dog is perfectly safe every once in a while. Just don’t make watermelon a staple in your dog’s diet.
Two Ways Your Dog Can Enjoy Watermelon Treats
Your dog can enjoy watermelon the same way you do — in manageable pieces without the rinds and seeds. If you want to incorporate watermelon into fun pup treats, there are a few simple things you can do to make your dog a little more excited for their special snack.
Frozen Watermelon Cubes
If your dog likes ice cubes when it’s hot outside, they’ll definitely love frozen watermelon cubes. You can freeze the watermelon in whole pieces, or you can freeze the juice, pulp, or puree of the watermelon in ice trays. You’ll have on-demand hot weather treats for your pup waiting in your freezer.
Ice Cream for Your Pup
If your dog is lactose intolerant, this one’s a no-go. If they can eat just about anything without issue, this will become a fast favorite.
Plain yogurt is full of probiotics that help to support your dog’s digestive system, as long as you choose the right plain yogurt. Always check the ingredients list for sweeteners. Dogs shouldn’t have any sweeteners or added sugar in their diets. Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener touted for its dental health benefits in humans, is actually toxic to dogs. Yogurts safe for dogs will generally have very short ingredients lists.
Mix some watermelon into plain unsweetened yogurt to give it a boost of flavor. Stick the yogurt in the freezer for a few hours to allow it to develop a texture similar to ice cream. If your dog isn’t the most patient, put the yogurt cup on the floor and watch your dog zoom across the kitchen with their nose stuffed into it. Fair warning — we can’t promise this will be the cleanest treat you ever gave them.
Keeping Your Pup Happy, Healthy, and Active
The occasional bit of “human food”, especially if that food is healthy, may be beneficial for your dog. Your dog’s body is similar to your body. You both need healthy snacks and a balanced diet to support overall wellness.
At VETCBD, we take your dog’s health seriously. Active dogs can enjoy healthy, hydrating snacks. They can also enjoy CBD. CBD can help to soothe active or wound-up dogs, and it may help ease everyday aches and pains that an active pup may feel after a long session of rambunctious play.