Healthy or Not So Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet: Watermelon

The next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy or Not So Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is watermelon. Watermelon is a summer staple and every time I see a picture of a dog chewing away at the center of a watermelon, I wonder if it’s good for them or not. 

What is Watermelon?

Watermelon is a fruit, a flowering plant that comes from West Africa. It is a vined plant that grows along the ground, similar to pumpkin and squash. It comes from the Cucurbitaceae family and is called Citrullus lanatus.

Why would it be in pet food? 

It’s unlikely that you will find watermelon as an ingredient in any pet food. Its water content (92%) would make it difficult to process or hold it’s shape. But you will find many of your pets drooling in front of you as you bite into a piece of cold juicy watermelon.

There are plenty of nutrients packed into that juicy fruit including Vitamin A, C, and  B6, as well as the minerals Potassium and Magnesium. Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene which have some cancer fighting properties.

Also beneficial to your pet is the high water content as it can help them (and you) stay properly hydrated on a hot summer day.

Are there any risks to feeding your pet watermelon?

In general, watermelon is completely safe for your pets.  Just be careful with the rind and the seeds as they may cause intestinal distress. Small dogs may not be able to pass the seeds through their intestines and it may cause a blockage. The rinds are also difficult to digest, so keep to the refreshing pink parts of the watermelon and choose the seedless variety.

Watermelon Factoids:

  • Seedless watermelons are the result of hybridization and have been around for about 50 years.
  • The Japanese grow watermelon in boxes, forcing them into a cubed shape.
  • It takes only three months for a watermelon to grow.

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