When your dog eats watermelon, there are a few potential risks that you do need to keep in mind.
One issue is regarding the amount of sugar found in a typical watermelon. This is relatively low compared with other fruits, but it is still there. And sugar can be bad news for dogs.
The reason for this is simple: dogs are much smaller than humans! And the natural dog diet would also contain significantly less sugar as compared with the average human diet. As such, dogs don’t have the same natural ability to process and filter sugar that humans do.
When humans get too much sugar this can actually cause a host of problems. Sugar can damage nerves, which is why it hurts so much when you have sensitive teeth and you bite into something very sugary.
Likewise, sugar can also cause inflammation and actually heighten your bad LDL cholesterol.
If a dog were to find and eat a whole box of chocolates, this would be the equivalent of a human finding and eating 10, 20, or more. That in turn can be fatal to a dog’s small heart – which is why it’s important that you either take your dog to a vet to have their stomach pumped, or use a saline solution to try and encourage them to be sick and bring up all the chocolate.
Watermelon is mostly water (hence the name!) and won’t cause this same problem. However, if your dog eats too much of it, then it eventually can become a similar problem and your dog might experience some problems.
If you were to leave your dog with an entire plate of watermelon slices, then this could lead to serious health problems.
But if you’re letting your dog bite some watermelon from your slice, it’s unlikely to cause that kind of problem! A couple slices of watermelon at a time are harmless to dogs.
Be wary of giving anything more than a few slices at a time – it’s actually a similar story for humans with a whole host of fruits. If you were to eat too many bananas, apples, or any other fruit it would do you more harm than good. You always must be careful to limit your intake of any fruit. You can always have too much of a good thing!
Long Term Issues
There are also potential long-term issues with watermelon though. One is that the large sugar content can be fattening for dogs.
This is a problem that a lot of humans make when dieting. If you are trying to eat healthily in order to lose weight, then you might rightly assume that you should start limiting your intake of chocolate, cake, and other snacks.
But if you’re still eating lots of fruit – or maybe having a lot of fruit smoothies – this can actually cause the exact same problem. In terms of overall health, it’s very good for you! In terms of losing weight, it’s still calories. Calories are energy and that energy needs to be stored somewhere!
And again, dogs are smaller. So, if they’re eating lots of watermelon regularly, it will quickly go to their hips!
Weight gain is actually a serious problem for dogs. If dogs gain too much weight, then they can start to place a greater strain on their hearts and their systems as a whole. At the same time, they might start to experience more painful joints as they are forced to carry more weight around. Some breeds of dog will feel this more intensely than others due to inherent issues with body shape. For instance, Dachshunds have long spines which can sag in the middle as a dog puts on lots of weight.
If your dog starts putting on weight, then try to remove sugary sweet snacks from their diet and encourage them to get more exercise and activity! There are even a few reliable weight-loss dog foods that you may want to try.
Another long-term issue is that eating anything with sugar, including watermelon, can potentially lead to diabetes. This is because anything that spikes the blood sugar will also spike insulin. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that triggers the body to absorb the sugar out from the blood to be stored as fat, or to fuel a range of activities such as exercise.
If you keep going through this process – repeatedly spiking blood sugar and then allowing it to drop – then you eventually will find that the body stops responding in the same way. Eventually the insulin won’t be released in response to the sugar or the body will be unable to use it. It has adapted and become resistant.
And this is of course what leads to diabetes. Here, sugar builds up in the blood causing damage to the nerves and potentially leading to issues like blindness or even the loss of sensation in the limbs. This is a common and very serious issue for dogs.
Again, you should keep your dog’s watermelon consumption in moderation!