Who doesn’t love watermelon? It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, and it can even be healthy. If you’re a dog owner who also happens to love watermelon, then you may wonder: Can German Shepherds eat watermelon too?
Yes, German Shepherds can eat watermelon. According to US Service Animals, watermelon is safe for dogs to eat. It’s a hydrating and healthy snack rich in potassium, lycopene, and vitamins, especially Vitamin C and A, and B6. However, like with any food, moderation is key.
Benefits of Watermelon to German Shepherds
There are many health benefits of feeding watermelon to German Shepherds. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:
1. Watermelon Provides Hydration
Watermelon contains 92% water. What this means is, it’s extremely hydrating and great for German Shepherds since they tend to get dehydrated more easily than other breeds, especially during the hot summer months. Dehydration is dangerous and can lead to disastrous consequences, so your dog must stay adequately hydrated.
2. Watermelon is High in Potassium
Watermelon is high in potassium. It’s an essential mineral and electrolyte important for regulating blood pressure, fluid balance, muscle and nerve system, and other bodily functions.
While watermelon is not the best food source of potassium, it does contain an adequate amount of potassium to boost your German Shepherd’s health. It’s estimated that one cup of diced watermelon has around 170 grams of potassium.
3. Watermelon Contains Lycopene
Watermelon also contains lycopene, an antioxidant known to help fight oxidative stress and free radicals that contribute to cellular damage. One disease linked to oxidative stress and aging is cancer, specifically the lungs, esophagus, and larynx cancer.
And because German shepherds are predisposed to cancer, feeding your dog watermelon, with its rich supply of lycopene, can help lower the risk of developing cancers.
In addition, lycopene is also good for your dog’s vision. In conjunction with other nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin E, zeaxanthin, zinc, and taurine, it aids in the prevention of macular degeneration, an age-related disease that can cause blindness.
4. Watermelon Contains Essential Vitamins
Watermelon is high in vitamins, particularly A, B6, and C. And just like in humans, vitamins are essential for your dog’s health and well-being.
Here are some of the benefits of vitamins A, B6, and C for dogs:
- Vitamin A: Promotes healthy skin and coat, improves eyesight, and maintains muscle and nerve function
- Vitamin B6: Helps controlling blood sugar levels, maintains normal brain function, and aids in producing red blood cells.
- Vitamin C: Boosts your dog’s defense against diseases while strengthening its immune system, reducing inflammation, and slowing the aging process.
5. Watermelon Contains Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids act as the building blocks of proteins. They are essential nutrients that are required by your German Shepherd for optimum health.
6. Watermelon is High in Fiber
Watermelon is high in fiber which acts as a natural laxative. It promotes regular bowel movements and keeps your dog’s digestive tract running smoothly. Additionally, if your German shepherd is on a diet, fiber helps keep their appetite in check while helping maintain weight.
7. Watermelon Helps With Weight Management
As mentioned before, watermelon contains a lot of fiber. This means it’s low in calories which makes it an excellent choice for weight management. Not only fiber, but watermelon doesn’t have any fat as well, which makes it an ideal choice for German shepherds who are obese and need to lose weight.
Are There Any Side Effects From Giving Your German Shepherd Too Much Watermelon?
Now you know all the benefits of giving your German shepherd watermelon. But what about the side effects? Is there any downside to giving your German shepherd too much watermelon?
In moderation, watermelon is safe for your dog. However, as with any other food, too much of it can cause some unwanted effects. Although most of the side effects are mild, they’re going to still feel pretty uncomfortable for your dog.
Here are some of the side effects that your dog might experience if you feed them too much watermelon:
1. An Upset Stomach
Just like when you eat too much watermelon, you might feel an upset stomach, too much watermelon can also cause your dog to experience the same side effects.
Your German shepherd may also experience diarrhea if you feed them too much watermelon.
3. A Blocked Digestive Tract
Although it is relatively rare, it is possible for your German shepherd to experience a blockage in their digestive tract, especially if you feed your German shepherd watermelon with the seeds.
4. Some Allergic Reactions To Watermelon
Similar to a blocked digestive tract, allergic reaction to watermelon is also rare, but it is still possible. In some cases, there might be swelling in your German shepherd’s mouth or face if they have a severe enough allergic reaction. Other symptoms to look out for include skin itching, fur loss, abnormal drinking or urinating, bloating, and bright red gums.
If you notice any abnormalities in your German shepherd’s behavior or physical appearance after feeding them watermelon, take them to the vet right away.
If you are giving your German shepherd watermelon for the first time, it is best to gradually introduce it into their diet over 7 – 10 days. This will help reduce any side effects they might experience. It also allows time for their digestive system to adjust to the new food.
How Many Watermelon Should You Feed A German Shepherd?
I would recommend no more than 1 -2 slices of watermelon per week. Just remember that you want to feed them watermelon in moderation because it is not the main source of food.
How to Safely Give Watermelon to Your German Shepherd?
There are some watermelon specific precautions you should take when feeding your German shepherd watermelon. Although most of them are pretty straightforward, I’ll go over each one in detail to make sure that you don’t miss anything.
1. Remove The Rind
Unlike the flesh of the watermelon, the rind covering the watermelon is not rigid and has a sharp edge on it. And because it’s likely that your German shepherd will not pay close attention when eating, they might end up swallow the rind in a large chunk. This can be dangerous if the rind gets stuck in their digestive system, causing an upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage.
2. Remove The Seeds
The seeds of the watermelon are also difficult to digest. If your German shepherd ingests the seed, they might have a difficult time digesting it, which can lead to some uncomfortable side effects.
3. Cut It Up
To give your German shepherd watermelon in a healthy manner, I would recommend that you cut them into slices or cubes before feeding it to them. This will allow them to eat it at their own pace and make it easier to chew and digest.
4. Feed In Moderation
As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. The same applies to watermelon. In this case, too much watermelon can cause some unpleasant side effects for your German shepherd, so it’s important that you feed it to them in moderation.
In general, adult German shepherds should be able to eat around 1/2 cup of watermelon cubes per day.
Fun Ways You Can Give Your German Shepherd Watermelon
There are lots of fun ways to give your German shepherd watermelon. Here are some of my recommendations on how to give it to them.
- As a smoothie – why not try making a smoothie out of watermelon? You can also blend in some Greek yogurt, carrots, blueberries, and apple for a nutritious smoothie treat.
- Freeze the Watermelon – this is another great way to give watermelon to your German shepherd. The great thing about freezing watermelon is that you can freeze it however you want. If you’re going to give them a large piece of watermelon, go ahead and do so. However, if you only have a small amount of watermelon and would like to make it last longer, cut them into slices and freeze the slices instead.
- Add It To Their Meal – there is nothing wrong with adding watermelon to your German shepherd’s meal. If they look like they are starting to get bored of their food, you can mix in some cubed watermelon with their meal once every few weeks. It is also an excellent way to give them a treat or supplement their diet if they are not getting all the nutrients that they need from their food.
So can German shepherds eat watermelon? Despite some of the precautions that you need to take, it is perfectly safe for them to eat. As long as you keep the serving size down and cut up the sections of watermelon into smaller pieces, they should be able to enjoy it without any problems.