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With over 40 different varieties, melon is a popular, summer-time snack for people. But, what about your dog, can dogs eat melons? In one word, yes; dogs love this sweet and juicy fruit. Full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, melons are a superfood for your dog. However, as a dog parent, it is important to only give your pup melon in moderation.
Melon is rich in natural sugars, which only increase when they are ripe. Due to these levels, if your dog indulges in melon it will suffer from an upset stomach. Regardless of how endearing those puppy-dog eyes are, melon is best offered occasionally.
What are the Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Melon?
Melons are part of the same family as cucumbers and watermelons, and similarly, they have incredibly high water content. With around 90% of a melon equating to water, they are extremely beneficial to your dog’s hydration levels. On hot days, a piece of melon provides a burst of water helping to protect against dehydration.
As melons contain very few calories, they are a great treat for dogs needing to lose a few pounds. An easy way to help your dog lose weight is to limit the number of treats they receive and substitute their high-calorie treats with alternatives. Chunks of melon provide just that. Your pooch can still enjoy a burst of sweetness without hindering its healthy eating regime and diet plan.
In fact, this low-calorie alternative allows your dog to still benefit from the motivational psychology giving a treat provides, whilst gaining a lot of other nutrients.
The Nutritional Benefits of Melon
Melons are packed full of nutrients that in turn offer an extensive list of health benefits for your pooch, including:
Antioxidants in Melons
In addition to the above nutritional benefits, melons also contain plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely important in both humans and dogs. These molecules play a crucial role in fighting off dangerous free radicals - unstable atoms that have been caused by environmental stress that are able to damage cells through oxidation. The damaged cells have been linked to ageing as well as more serious health complaints.
Fortunately, melon comes full of antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, beta carotene, lutein, choline, and zeaxanthin. Together, they destroy free radicals, helping to keep your dog’s cells healthy. But, their benefits don’t stop there.
Antioxidants also contain anti-inflammatory properties, support brain function, and strengthen the immune system, whilst fighting off some cancers, limiting the risk of heart disease and reducing general symptoms of ageing.
Can Dogs Eat All Types of Melon?
Just to be completely clear, dogs can eat all types of melon. From cantaloupe and honeydew to casabas (Golden Beauty) and galias, dogs tend to enjoy the juicy texture of these sweet fruits. Due to their naturally high sugar content, it is best to keep your dog's consumption to a minimum so as not to upset their stomachs.
However, their burst of natural sweetness makes them a healthier alternative to most dog treats. As we have previously mentioned, with such a high water content, they are a great way to hydrate your dog on a summer’s day.
How Should I Serve Melon to My Dog?
When introducing your dog to pieces of melon, you should take a cautious approach. As you would with any new dog food, it is best to only give your dog a couple of pieces, giving their digestive systems time to adapt. Due to the high sugar content, stomach upset is common so take care to only feed your dog small chunks as a special treat.
When it comes to giving your dog treats, they should only ever account for 10% of their daily intake. While healthy snacks, such as melon, provide a boost of nutritional benefits, no treat will ever compete with the nutritional value of your dog’s daily food. With nutritionally complete dog food, such as Bug Bakes, portions are created by experts to ensure your dog is getting everything they need, based on their size and breed. Therefore, snacks are merely an additional treat to accompany their main intake.
How to Pick a Ripe Melon
Melons are often associated with hot summer days; however, you will find that they are often available in supermarkets and greengrocers. Cantaloupe melons, despite their all-year-round availability, have the edge during the summer season. Their skin glistens with an extra shine, mirroring its sweet and juicy fruit within.
It is possible to eat melons out of season; but, picking a ripe melon guarantees a much better snack for your pooch. Not only do ripe melons have a softer, more enjoyable texture, but there is also no denying that they taste much sweeter due to their higher sugar content.
There are a few giveaway signs that a melon is ripe and ready to go without having to pierce the skin. Firstly, cantaloupe melons are most fragrant when they are ready to eat. The fruit will emit a sweet, almost musky scent, letting you know that the fruit inside is at its best. Another telltale sign is that the melon’s stem should easily detach from the fruit without force. And, lastly, when you press the skin, it should give a little, feeling firm but not hard. Rock hard fruits are a long way from being ripe enough to eat; but, too soft and this could be a sign the fruit has been bruised in transit.
Signs a honeydew melon is ripe are very similar. The only difference is that the skin appears dull when it is ripe, they are similar to watermelons in this way. Another thing to identify is the melon’s colouration; ripe melons will lose their greenness and move towards a white-yellow to golden coat.
Preparing Melon Treats for your Dog
When selecting a melon for your pup, it is always best to go organic. If this is possible, organic fruit and vegetables are less likely to come into contact with harmful pesticides. However, these are often sustainable and support local farmers too, which is generally preferred all round.
With your shopping back home, now all your need to do is prepare this tasty treat. First things first, it is best practice to wash and scrub the outer skin of the melon. Thoroughly washing the melon helps to remove any germs that have been picked up on the way home. If you have a young puppy, then reducing this risk is recommended as they will still be developing their own immune system.
Next, half and portion your melon into two-inch thick, wedge-shaped slices. Cut off the ring and scoop off all the seeds. Whilst the melon is now prepped for you, these slices are too big for your dog. So, the final step is to dice up each wedge into small, bitesize pieces ready to offer as a treat to your four-legged friend.
Are there any Dangers in Feeding a Dog Melon?
Everything in Moderation
With such a high proportion of sugar in a melon - approximately 7.8g per 100g - overindulgence can be identified in several symptoms. The first is visible abdominal distention, especially that causes general discomfort whereby your pup is unable to settle and becomes restless. In some dogs, however, their discomfort can result in lethargy and a complete change in character.
Similar to when we, humans, overindulge, it is common for your dog to experience a lack of appetite as well as sickness. To avoid these effects, you need to be strict with their intake. Limit melon to summertime treats to help reward your pup during training. As with any treats, too many can lead to canine obesity, which leads to other health problems.
Another fairly common effect of eating too much melon is changes to your pup’s bowel movements. With an overindulgence in fruit, your dog experience’s too much fibre in its intake which causes constipation and discomfort.
In some extreme cases, constipation can develop into obstipation and obstruction. For some dogs, these conditions can result in serious health problems which can be life-threatening. Therefore, just remember to limit your dog’s intake to a few juicy treats during the day.
Melon seeds need to be approached with caution. While they are not toxic, they do pose a choking hazard for your dog. It is best to avoid intentionally feeding them to your dog; however, if your dog does happen to eat one, on the whole, there should be no damage caused.
Similarly giving your dog whole slices of melon can lead to choking. Dogs typically wolf down their food, speeding as little time chewing as possible so they can enjoy the food. Giving your dog larger pieces of melon has the risk that they may try to take on bigger pieces without chewing it down. Therefore, cutting melon up into chunks just removes this risk, allowing your dog to enjoy melon stress-free.
Avoid the Rind
Similar to watermelon rinds, your dog is unable to digest other melon rinds too. The rind is extremely fibrous and such a high intake can cause your dog to suffer from gastrointestinal upset, including sickness and diarrhoea.
As your pup cannot digest this part of the melon, large enough pieces of the rind can become choking hazards. Some particular pieces lead to an intestinal obstruction that may require medical intervention and surgery to remove the rind.
Are there any Health Concerns?
If your dog is diabetic, the natural sugar content in melons can cause complications. Diabetic dogs struggle to control their blood sugar levels; therefore, if your dog has to be cautious with sugar, it is best to consult your local veterinary practice.
Melon is able to cause your dog’s blood sugar to spike, especially when ingested in large quantities. With a persistently high blood sugar level, your pup will become continually hyperglycemic, leaving you at a higher risk of developing diabetes if they are not diabetic already.
Are you interested in improving your dog’s diet? At Bug Bakes, we offer healthy dog food full of insect-based protein. This tasty alternative keeps your dog energised, healthy and obsessed with dinner times. All the while having sustainable benefits, too.Order Your Taster Pack Here.