Is watermelon a safe treat for my dog?

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Watermelon is generally a safe, healthy and tasty treat for your dog. Not only is it low in calories, but the fruit has a high water content which is really a great way to get fluids into your dog, especially if you have one who turns up her nose at the bowl.

You need to be mindful of two things, however:

• Remove the seeds, stems and leaves from watermelon. Unlike peaches, plums and apples, the seeds aren’t toxic but they can cause some GI problems. They’re also high in fat, making them less than ideal for weight management and there’s always the risk of your dog choking on them.

The stems and leaves could also be coated with pesticides and other chemicals.

• Watermelon is borderline high in sugar: It may not be the best snack for a dog with any blood sugar issues, whether high or low.

It is best here to understand the Glycemic Index, a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise the blood sugar level. The lower the number, the more moderate the rise in blood sugar.
An awareness of foods’ Glycemic Index can help control your dog’s blood sugar levels, and by doing so, may help prevent many sugar-related illnesses, such as heart disease, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, certain cancers, and the inability to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
According to the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrative Medicine, the Glycemic Index of watermelon is 72. A Glycemic Index between 50 to 70 is considered moderate, and an index between 70 and 100 is considered high. Because watermelon is borderline high, it will have a significant effect on insulin release from the pancreas and may cause a mildly low blood sugar a few hours after consumption. Eating more watermelon will cause a greater release in blood sugar levels.

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