On many fronts, bitter melon does lots of good to a dog’s health. It is particularly recommended for dogs with diabetes as it helps to decrease the dog’s blood sugar level.
If your dog has a sweet tooth and enjoys sugary treats, feeding him bitter melon will help to regulate and balance his sugar intake. Ideally, you can feed your dog bitter melon that has been cooked, at most twice in a week. In this article, you will find out more about bitter melon, its origin, benefits and adverse effects on your dog.
Origin Of Bitter Melon
Bitter melon is a popular food fruit that is used most commonly in African and Asian dishes. It has its origin in Africa, but is mostly cultivated for culinary use in Asia.
Bitter melon gets its name from its awfully bitter taste that becomes even more bitter as it ripens. In some other parts of the world, bitter melon also goes by different other names like wild cucumber, amongst others.
Is Bitter Lemon Good For Dogs
Certainly! Bitter melon is very safe for your dog’s consumption. It has numerous health benefits for your dog. Though, despite its health benefits, Bitter melon would not be safe for your dog if it becomes an integral part of his daily meals.
It is advised that you do not feed your dog too much bitter melon, rather, you should feed your dog as a treat every once in a while and ensure to feed him moderate quantities.
Bitter melon is not less safe for your dog than other regular fruits like watermelon, pumpkin or cucumber. You can serve and feed your dog bitter melon without getting concerned about his health, as long as it is in moderation.
Unfortunately, bitter melon, as its name implies, could be terribly bitter when eaten raw and your dog is likely not to enjoy eating it so much. You can however help your dog by cooking it with seasoning to lessen the bitter taste.
Bitter Melon Benefits
Dogs suffering from diabetes can benefit from the sugar-reducing component of Bitter melon. Bitter melon aids blood sugar and cholesterol reduction and can be used as an effective weight loss diet.
Bitter melon is low in calories but is fortified with and has high levels of vitamin C (improves dog’s immunity and protects your dog from diseases), vitamin A (aids clearer vision and skin health in your dog), and folate (essential for your do’s growth and development), fiber (aids easy bowel movement in your dog), iron, potassium and zinc (helps to keep your dog’s organs in good condition).
Bitter melon is also has high level of antioxidants (prevents aging of your dog’s cells). The antioxidants contained in bitter melon makes it an effective food supplement for fighting cancer and combating certain respiratory related conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.
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Adverse Effects Of Bitter Melon On Dogs
It might interest you to know that with all of its benefits, bitter melon could equally have adverse effects on your dog. It is often said there is no smoke without a fire.
This means that before your dog begins to experience adverse or side effects from eating bitter melon, there must have been a trigger. Here is a list of some conditions that could make consumption of bitter melon unsafe for your dog:
- Feeding your dog Bitter melon while on medications for diabetes. This will most likely result in a drastic fall in your dog’s blood glucose level, a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- Feeding your pregnant dog Bitter melon, which can result in miscarriage. It is, therefore, advised that you resist feeding Bitter melon to your female dog while she is expecting. There have been many cases of miscarriages due to feeding on Bitter melon. Just like with pregnant dogs, it is also not advisable to feed Bitter melon to your lactating dog who is still breastfeeding her infant puppies. Bitter melon is very injurious to your dog’s health when she is pregnant and lactating.
- Although dogs can eat and might even enjoy cooked Bitter melon more, cooking the bitter melon with seasonings like salt, onion, garlic or oil would most definitely make cooked Bitter melon unhealthy for your dog’s consumption. Ensure to keep your dog’s cooked bitter melon plain as possible, to avoid any discomfort for your dog.
- Feeding your dog with an excess amount of bitter melon. Dogs can very well consume the skin, leaves and seeds of the Bitter melon but when your dog consumes an inconsiderably large quantity (especially bitter melon seeds), he is most likely to come down with severe stomach upset and indigestion. This could make your dog become ill, accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid feed your dog Bitter melon more than two to three times in a week.
Symptoms And Effects Of Excessive Bitter melon Intake
Bitter melon should not be an actual meal for your dog, and for this reason, you must feed your dog with it in moderation, preferably as a treat.
Excessive intake of Bitter melon can have the following effects on your dog:
Hypoglycemia – An excessive intake of bitter melon will most definitely result in a significant decrease in your dog’s blood glucose level, especially if your dog is on medication for diabetes.
This is not a safe condition for your dog. If this occurs, consult your vet for immediate medical action., since hypoglycemia can be life-threatening and should be treated as an emergency.
Vomiting And Diarrhea – Here your dog is passing out so much fluid and this could cause dehydration. Keep a bowl of water close by for easy access so that your dog can stay hydrated.
This does not necessarily require medications or hospitalization, as your dog is likely to recover after a few rounds or vomiting and diarrhea.
Some symptoms that your dog has consumed excessive bitter melon are:
Abnormal thirst and urinating, seizures, loss of appetite, abnormal drowsiness, sluggishness, skin discoloration, shivering, loss of consciousness, amongst others.
Signs that your pregnant dog has consumed bitter melon are:
- An odd color of vaginal discharge, stomach ache, fever and miscarriage.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs and symptoms, after feeding him bitter melon, ensure you consult your veterinary doctor immediately to avoid it worsening.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What other Fruits Can I give My Dog Instead Of Bitter Melon
Many dog owners try to avoid feeding their dogs bitter melon because of its many adverse effects and they look out for other fruits that they can give their dogs instead. Watermelon, pumpkin, carrot, banana and cucumber are some sweeter, juicier fruits you can feed your dog, instead of bitter melon.
Are All Types Of Bitter Melon Safe For Dogs?
Although the most common of the Cucurbitaceae family, which is the bitter melon, is not toxic or harmful to your dog, there are other types that are very toxic and harmful to both dogs and humans.
Some of them are gooseneck gourd and apple gourd. Immediately consult your veterinary doctor if your dog consumes any of these two toxic gourds accidentally.
Ensure to seek medical advice first before feeding your dog ripe bitter melon because it can also be toxic for your dog and harmful to his health.
Can Dogs Taste Bitter?
Of course, Like humans, dogs have a sense of taste and can taste sour, sweet or bitter. Your dog would most likely not enjoy eating bitter food, since it is obviously bitter.
Like humans, dogs would not be happy about eating bitter food but if your dog does not mind bitter tastes, then bitter melon would be a perfect treat for him once in a while.
Also, ensure you remove the bitter melon seeds when feeding your dog, as it can result in stomach upset and diarrhea.