Is watermelon ok for dogs?
Watermelon is good for dogs. Composed of 91% water, it’s wonderfully hydrating. Feed it to help keep your dog cool in hot weather. It will also flush his lymphatic system.
Can dogs eat watermelon rind?
Can dogs have watermelon rind? To be safe, feed only the red flesh and remove when they get down to the white bit.
Is watermelon bad for dogs if it has seeds?
Anecdotally, many owners say they feed both black and white seeds with no problem. I feed seedless watermelon just to be sure. If you’re in any doubt, you can pick out most of the seeds and feed only the red flesh.
This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. I encourage readers to see my full disclaimer here.
Watermelon may help weight loss in dogs
A Japanese study in 2018 investigated whether watermelon could also have an anti-obesity effect.
Researchers gave 12 dogs a watermelon-based beverage instead of water over a three month period. They found the watermelon significantly lowered levels of the hormone leptin in the blood. What’s the significance of leptin? Fat cells make it and scientists believe it helps regulate body weight. High levels of leptin are associated with obesity.
Obesity in dogs is a major issue in countries like the United States where as many as 1 in 2 dogs are overweight. In Australia, obesity is the most common nutritional disease in pets. So it’s helpful to know how to help a dog lose weight.
Good for urinary tract
Owners often ask what foods cause crystals in dog urine? But what about which foods help reduce them? Interestingly, the Japanese researchers also found fewer crystals in dog urine after about two months of consistently consuming watermelon. This makes sense since increased water intake dilutes the urine and is recommended to reduce bladder stones.
Be aware that watermelon will cause a lot of peeing. Feed it early in the day unless you want an interrupted evening.
Watermelon is very low in calories — only 30 calories per 100g. So if you’re feeding it as more than a treat, you’ll have to give a lot more of it by weight (compared to meat) to provide significant calories.
A note on dogs and fruit
Dogs are “facultative” carnivores. This means meat is their primary food source but they can (and do in the wild) eat fruit as a secondary food source.
Modern dog owners tend to be so far removed from natural feeding practices — kibble being the highest expression of this detachment from nature — that this can come as a shock.
Check out this footage of wolves grazing on blueberry bushes in the summer of 2019. It was captured by the Voyageurs Wolf Project in northeastern Minnesota.
Furthermore, analysis of scat (see image below) from a single wolf pack has found berries comprise 56 to 83 per cent of the gray wolf’s weekly diet at the height of summer.
Not only are adult wolves eating blueberries, The Voyageurs Project discovered they were regurgitating berries for their pups. (Also pictured below, photograph courtesy of the The Voyageurs Wolf Project).
How digestion works
Fruit digests much faster than meat so it’s important when feeding fruit to do it in a separate meal to meat. Otherwise, the digestion of the fruit will be interfered with by the presence of the meat. If fruit languishes in the alimentary canal the gut bacteria begin to decompose it (not in a good way), producing waste products that can accumulate and lead to disease.
In addition, research going all the way back to the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov shows the sugars in fruit inhibit the secretion of the acidic gastric juices needed to break down protein. In this way fruit interferes with efficient digestion of meat.
So, by all means feed fruit — just make sure you don’t feed it at the same time as meat.
Taking our cues from nature
Followers of the “natural hygiene” movement, founded by Herbert Shelton in the early twentieth century, apply the above principles of digestion to optimize health.
The basic idea is to eat within the limitations of the body’s digestive enzymes. Different enzymes are secreted, and at different times, depending on whether carbohydrate, fat or protein enters the stomach.
When different classes of macronutrient are consumed together — as is customary amongst modern humans everywhere — digestion is compromised, leading to waste by-products and eventually to disease.
This is one of the reasons commercial dog foods are not conducive to optimal health. Look at the ingredients list and you see that pet food makers reproduce the errors humans make in their own diets by combining (very fatty) cuts of meat with all manner of carbohydrates.
Look to wolves, for instance, and you see they always consume meat separately to plant matter. To emulate natural feeding, and avoid digestive conflict, offer your dog “mono meals” of either fruit or meat, never the two together.
Hopefully you can now not only confidently answer the question “Is watermelon safe for dogs?” but you can also understand the reasons why.