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Table of Contents
For most non-vegans, bitter gourds are probably one of their least favorite veggies.
Given that, we wouldn't mind sharing some pieces with anyone—including our dogs.
But would it be wise to feed it to your woofer as a nice treat?
Its strong and bitter flavor is well-known, yet there is no denying that it has several benefits for people's health.
Does it also apply to our dogs, though?
In today’s article, we’ll give you the full answer to the question, “can dogs eat bitter gourd?”
We'll also discuss other dog-safe food alternatives and the benefits and risks for your dog's health.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
What is Bitter Gourd?
The bitter gourd is also known as the balsam pear, bitter melon, karela, and bitter cucumber.
This green-skinned vegetable stands true to its name—it tastes bitter!
It is a popular tropical and subtropical vegetable plant grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
The Philippines, China, Vietnam, India, and Thailand are the countries with the highest consumption of this fresh fruiting veggie.
Whether or not you enjoy its bitter taste, karela is one of the healthiest vegetables in the food kingdom!
Having said that, did you know that bitter gourd can treat medical issues and improve gut health?
In fact, ‘bitter gourds and diabetes’ are often coined together! It lowers blood glucose levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
What’s more, bitter melon strengthens the immune system and protects against allergies and infections.
But enough with the human benefits. Let’s discuss whether our dogs can eat it safely, just like we do.
Would they get the same benefits? Let’s find out!
SUGGESTED READ: 7 Vitamins for Dogs That All Dog Owners Need to Know About
Can Dogs Eat Bitter Gourd?
Our short answer to that is yes! Bitter gourd is safe for your dog to eat.
To be more precise, our canine friends can safely eat the plant's flesh, skin, and leaves.
It is safe and can make a fantastic supplement to Fido's usual dog food.
Whether you serve it cooked or uncooked, your four-legged friend will be able to benefit greatly from this nutrient-dense veggie.
But I’m curious. Does it also taste bitter to dogs?
Good question! Not all people know, but it can be awfully bitter to our dogs.
But don’t worry because you can make it enjoyable for your dog by cooking it plain and combining it with their preferred food.
Still, before giving your dog human food like bitter melon, don't forget to consult your vet.
RELATED: Fruits And Vegetables Dogs Can Eat
Is Ampalaya Good For Dogs?
Yes, dogs can eat bitter gourd or ampalaya without becoming sick. It can make a tasty, crunchy treat for your pooch!
However, like other human foods we've covered in other articles, it's vital to watch your canine friend not overeat.
This is due to a substance in a bitter gourd called Momordica charantia, which, when consumed in large quantities, can be toxic to dogs.
To add bitter melon to your dog’s diet, start gradually and in tiny doses so he gets used to the taste.
If he still refuses to eat it, you can try a different fruit or vegetable with comparable health benefits—which you’ll know later on.
If you notice any problems after giving Fido ampalaya, consult your vet immediately.
Benefits of Bitter Gourd For Dogs
It's safe to say that bitter melon is a fantastic source of vitamins for both you and your dog to eat.
We’ll go through some of the nutritional advantages for your furry friend.
For every 100 grams of raw bitter gourds, the following nutritional information can be expected:
- Iron: 4% of the DV
- Zinc: 5% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 44% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 99% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin A improves a dog’s skin and vision
If your furry pet suffers from seborrhea or scaly skin, this fat-soluble vitamin can help improve his skin condition.
In addition, it contributes greatly to the growth of bones and the development of healthy organs.
But be careful not to overdo this vitamin, though, as too much could harm your dog.
RELEVANT READ: 20 Best Vitamins for Dogs for Pet's Optimal Health
Reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in dogs
Studies on animals and humans suggest that bitter melon extract may reduce cholesterol levels, improving heart wellness.
As a registered medical technologist, I can attest to the fact that this is one of the foods that can lower a person's risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Good to know that it gives the same benefits to dogs!
For those of you who don’t know, there are two types of cholesterol:
- LDL/Light-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)
- HDL/high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol)
Eating bitter gourd increases the good while decreasing the bad, improving the heart health of both you and your dog.
Additionally, bitter melon promotes insulin release into the blood, much like diabetes medications.
What is insulin used for?
It helps prevent diabetes problems by maintaining your dog's blood sugar levels within the normal range.
Vitamin C helps with a dog’s immune system
Vitamin C, a.k.a. ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin that supports Fido's immune system and maintains the strength of his bones.
It works by looking for and removing free radicals from all parts of your dog's body.
Free radicals are harmful as they cause illness, diseases, and progressive aging.
The good news is that our dogs can make Vitamin C on their own, but if your furbaby is ill, he might require extra help in producing enough to stay healthy.
For this reason, it's crucial to ensure their diet contains the right amount of this vitamin.
SUGGESTED READ: 10 Best Multivitamins and Supplements for Dogs
Iron, potassium, and zinc promote organ health in dogs
Three of the most essential minerals for Fido’s health in one veggie snack?
Bitter gourd is a yes for your woofer!
You may be familiar with iron, potassium, and zinc as some of the most abundant trace minerals.
A balanced meal should contain iron, a key component your dog needs to live and stay healthy.
Particularly, it is essential for sustaining and supplying the circulatory system with oxygen.
Zinc, on the other hand, helps in the healing of wounds and fighting against disease. It helps maintain healthy skin and fur.
Your dog also needs potassium for proper muscle and nerve function and keeping fluid balance.
If his potassium levels are insufficient, your dog's heart won't function normally.
RELEVANT READ: The Pet Owner's Guide to Dog Muscle Supplements
Risks of Bitter Gourd to Dogs
While bitter melon may improve a dog's health in many ways, there are a few health issues to be aware of.
Some of these concerns include:
As we already mentioned, bitter gourd can help control blood sugar levels.
The combination of eating it and taking diabetes medications, however, may cause an excessive drop in your dog's blood glucose.
Therefore, if you decide to feed your dog with bitter melon, it's advisable to watch Fido's blood sugar levels.
We cannot stress enough that your canine companion should consume it in moderation.
Contact your vet when you suspect your woofer has consumed too many bitter gourds and notice symptoms of an upset stomach.
Bitter gourd seeds pose a choking hazard, so if you want to share some with your dog, remove all the seeds.
Like humans, coughing or gagging is dogs' first audible sign of choking.
Your furbaby may also be making retching gestures, pacing swiftly back and forth, and pawing at his mouth.
What am I supposed to do if my dog accidentally eats them?
You should hold your dog in a human-like manner with his back to your front while standing on his hind legs.
Then use the palm of your hand to exert pressure directly beneath the ribs.
Even if the choking hazard has been removed, you should call your vet immediately.
RELATED: How to Save Your Dog from Choking
Our dogs may develop skin allergies, just like we do.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, all breeds of dogs can develop allergies, and the majority do so after the age of six months.
Some dogs may be allergic to bitter gourd, so you should watch for any signs.
How to Feed Bitter Melons to Dogs?
Now you know that bitter melon is safe for dogs, but you might still wonder how to prepare it before feeding your dog.
If your dog likes to crunch, leaving the bitter gourd uncooked can be an excellent option.
Cut it into smaller pieces to lessen the likelihood of your furbaby choking.
Also, since the rind may taste bitter for your woofer, you might consider peeling the veggie.
You should also remove the seeds, which can irritate and obstruct your dog's digestive system.
You can prepare bitter gourds for your dog by boiling, roasting, or blanching them first.
Make sure not to season them!
Salt, along with oil and spices, is harmful to puppies.
How Many Bitter Melons Should Dogs Get?
Depending on his size, age, and general health, your furry friend can consume some bitter melon.
In essence, it's safer for larger dogs to eat more gourd than smaller dogs.
One thing to watch out for is that your dog gets all other nutrients in the right amount, rather than only gourd-heavy meals.
Were we clear that bitter gourd has little sugar?
If your dog isn't getting enough sugars and carbs in his diet, this could result in hypoglycemia.
It may result in anorexia, tremors, and dog seizures, among other serious to fatal complications.
Treatments if Your Dog Has Bitter Melon Poisoning
The worst that can happen to your four-legged buddy if he eats too many bitter gourds is vomiting and diarrhea.
But after several bouts of barfing and pooping, the condition will improve in a day.
Since vomiting and diarrhea will dehydrate your pawed pet, give your pooch plenty of water during that period.
Watch your dog's health for the rest of the day.
If it doesn't get better within a day, you might need to take him to the vet.
We talked about how the bitter melon's ability to lower blood sugar could be very helpful for diabetic dogs.
However, dogs that currently take diabetes drugs run the risk of having dangerously low blood sugar levels.
In that case, let your vet know how much bitter gourd your dog consumed and any medications he's taking.
Your vet treats hypoglycemia by replenishing your dog’s blood glucose levels via IV dextrose solution.
Before taking him home, your canine friend may need additional blood tests and a period of vet monitoring.
Dog-Friendly Alternatives to Bitter Gourd
Are there any alternatives to bitter melon?
Of course! If your furry friend doesn't like bitter melon but you still want to give him a nutritious snack, there are other alternatives.
These three are my dog's favorites, and the vet said dogs could easily digest them.
Similar to bitter melons, carrots are a good source of vitamin A, which is good for your dog's immune system and eyes.
Plus, this orange veggie, which is present in many dog meals, is fantastic for your woofer's teeth.
SUGGESTED READ: Recipe: Apple and Carrot Limited Ingredient Dog Treats
A low-calorie, crisp snack that many dogs enjoy, cucumbers are completely healthy for your dog to eat.
In addition, cucumber contains roughly 96% water, making it an excellent choice to give Fido a little extra hydration!
It’s good news for your furry pal because the high water content of watermelon also makes it the ideal summertime food for dogs!
Fido can benefit from its vitamins and minerals, but to be on the safe side, remove the seeds and rind to prevent giving your furry friend an upset stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Bitter Gourd: FAQs
Is Bittermelon good for dogs?
Yes, bitter melon, or bitter gourd, is good for dogs. It has vitamins and minerals, both of which have many benefits.
But remember that while your dog can eat raw and cooked flesh, the seeds might upset their stomachs and put them in danger of choking.
Can dogs eat ampalaya every day?
Bitter melons are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. You can give bitter melon 1-3 times a week to your canine friend.
It shouldn't be a staple in your dog's diet because eating too much of it might result in diarrhea and digestive pain.
Is ampalaya leaves good for dogs?
The bitter gourd or ampalaya’s flesh, skin, and leaves are safe for dogs to consume.
According to research, ampalaya leaves are rich in antioxidants that actively combat and safely eliminate harmful free radicals from your dog's body.
Is ampalaya good for pregnant dogs?
It is well known that the bitter gourd, or ampalaya, can lead to animal miscarriages.
Additionally, it is thought to harm pregnant female dogs, and excessive ingestion has been linked to male dogs developing antifertility tendencies.
Can Dogs Eat Bitter Gourd: Final Verdict
Dogs can consume bitter gourd, but only in moderation and after considering your dog's health issues and dietary needs.
Beyond its bitter taste, it is a rich source of minerals, including iron, potassium, and zinc, as well as vitamins A and C, which benefit dogs' overall health.
To ensure the safety of your pregnant dog and her pups, it’s best to avoid feeding her bitter melon during this period.
Additionally, check to see if Fido has an allergy to this veggie and avoid overfeeding him as this might result in hypoglycemia and digestive problems.
As responsible paw-rents, we must ensure that the food we give our canine friends is safe.
After all, healthy food makes healthy dogs, right?