FoodFact: Can Pet Dogs or Cats Eat Watermelon?
Watermelons are a real summer fan-favorite for snacking on hot days. They taste good and leave you feeling very refreshed. If you’ve had the urge to share some watermelon with your dog or cat in hopes that they may feel refreshed too, we get you! But are watermelons okay for dogs and cats? Can dogs and cats even eat watermelon?
Yes, watermelons are safe for dogs and cats!
But before you let Floof gorge on some of this watery fruit, there are a couple of things you must keep in mind. First, seeds. Watermelon seeds are not toxic to pets per se (like apple seeds). However, they may cause intestinal blockages; especially in smaller pets. It’s best to serve them seedless. Secondly, the rind and skin may be tough and can cause blockages too, if your pet hasn’t chewed them completely. Which in most cases they won’t. Deseeded watermelon flesh is the goof-proof way to go!
History and Widespread of Watermelons
Watermelon belongs to the same plant family as Cucumber, Muskmelon, Pumpkin, Zucchini, etc. It comes from a vine-like flowering plant that originated in West Africa. Some of the earliest evidence of watermelon cultivation (the seeds) are found in Ancient Egypt in the Tombs of Pharaohs.
Watermelons are grown in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. China alone accounts for the cultivation of 68% of all the watermelon grown around the world. Followed by Turkey, Iran, and Brazil. Seedless watermelons are cultivated too.
The flesh can be eaten raw or pickled, the rind after cooking and the seeds by drying, roasting or as a flour. Its subtle sweetness and refreshing properties make it a favorite among Indians during the summers. We consume them raw, as a juice or as flavors in our favorite sweets and icecreams.
Nutritional Build-Up of Watermelon and how it affects your Pet
Watermelons are about 92% water. They are fat-free, extremely low in Sodium and have only about 40 calories per cup. Moreover, watermelons are loaded with significant amounts of Vitamin A, B6, C, Lycopene, Potassium, Anti-Oxidants and Amino Acids.
- Water makes up the majority of a watermelon, hydrating and refreshing your pet. They make for a great treat for summer days or if your pet refuses to consume water on his own.
- Vitamin A in pets helps maintain their skin, coat, muscles and keeps the nerves functioning properly. It also aids in bone growth, vision and boosts immunity. The immune system of your pet takes a major hit if your pet has a deficiency of Vitamin A. Other effects could be skin and coat conditions, poor growth, and even night blindness. Watermelons are a great way to include some Vitamin A in your pet’s diet. Apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin are other foods with Vitamin A that are safe for your pet.
- Vitamin B6 stabilizes blood sugar, aids with weight regulation and hormonal balance in pets. Deficiency of Vitamin B6 can lead to anemia, weight-loss, insufficient growth, tooth cavities or even epilepsy. Pets that are diabetic, have insulin resistance or Cushings disease can benefit from Vitamin B6. Meat and eggs are good sources of Vitamin B6. Watermelon, carrots, spinach, bananas, potatoes, and broccoli are rich in Vitamin B6 too.
- Vitamin C is produced by dogs in their bodies. Hence, it was long deemed unnecessary to be supplemented. However, it has been observed that the Vitamin C levels in dogs that are sick reduce dramatically. And supplementing your sick pet with Vitamin C rich foods helps them recover faster and easier. It can also help pets that are stressed. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, boosts immunity, works as a natural antihistamine and maintains joint health. Watermelons, broccoli, spinach, papaya, and strawberries can provide your pet with good doses of Vitamin C.
- Lycopene is a pigment found in red food items. It is an antioxidant and helps with vision and cancer prevention, among other health benefits. Red foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, and papaya are rich in lycopene. The redder and ripened the watermelon, the higher the levels of Lycopene in it.
- Potassium is a vital element to an important group of blood minerals and electrolytes. It helps in the conduction of electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles. Lower levels of potassium compromise with the functioning of these tissues. Kidney diseases, prolonged starvation, stress, and an imbalanced diet can lead to Potassium deficiency. Watermelon, apples, bananas, potatoes, carrots, beans, and peas are a good way to include potassium in your pet’s diet.
These nutrients make Watermelon a super snack for your pet, especially during the summers.
How to serve Watermelon to Pets
Like we mentioned before, the skin, rind (white flesh) and seeds could cause intestinal blockages in pets. The best way to serve watermelon to your pet is to cut away the rind and skin, deseed it and cut it into bite-sized cubes. You could freeze the watermelons for some extra refreshment on scorching days. If you’re the creative type, you could make some icy watermelon treats, pupsicles or add some yogurt and blend it into a smoothie.
Stay away from store-bought foods that contain watermelon or watermelon flavor. Like ice-creams, candy, juices, concentrates, etc. They could do more harm than good. Buy fresh watermelons and serve them yourself so you know exactly what you’re feeding.
Also remember, excess of even a good thing could be bad. Feed your dog watermelon in moderation. If your pet has a sensitive tummy or reacts to new foods, introduce them to the goodness of watermelons gradually. Keep an eye for diarrhea. If your pet swallows too many seeds or has eaten the skin or rind, they may experience vomiting, difficulty passing stools or stomach aches. Consult your vet should you notice any of these symptoms.
Watermelon can be a refreshing treat for your pet during summer days. They hydrate your pet and charge them with vitamins to keep their body functions in check. Skinned, deseeded and cubed watermelons in moderation are the way to go. They are a great natural and healthy replacement for store-bought treats, laden with preservatives and flavors.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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