Do you enjoy the juicy goodness of a fresh slice of watermelon? Have you ever wondered if your pooch would like to chow down on a slice, too? Can dogs eat watermelon?
To begin, watermelon can be safe for dogs in moderation when prepared correctly.
Firstly, it is packed full of nutrients, like Vitamins A, B6, and C. Secondly, it’s a great fruit to aid with hydration because it mostly consists of water.
However, it also contains sugar, which is not healthy for dogs. As with humans, a range of health issues can result from a high sugar diet with dogs. Save watermelon for an occasional sweet treat only.
In this article, we’ll address the question, “Can dogs have watermelon?” and look at the benefits and risks of feeding your dog this refreshing snack.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
This sweet and nutritious Cucurbitaceous melon has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. It dates back to at least the times of the ancient Egyptians, who were believed to be particularly adept at its cultivation.
Watermelon is from the same family as honeydew and cantaloupe. Its flesh can be red, yellow, or even orange!
The flesh of a watermelon is chock full of nutrients that both you and your dog can benefit from. It is considered a low-calorie food made up of over 90% water and contains only 43 calories per cup.
They also contain sugar. About 9 grams per 152 grams serving of fruit.
Watermelons are also an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6, C, and potassium. Furthermore, they contain trace amounts of iron, calcium, fiber, niacin, lycopene, riboflavin, zinc, and a host of other essential vitamins and minerals.
So, with all these wonderful nutrients, is watermelon good for dogs?
Seed-free watermelon is safe for dogs. It can provide some nutrients beneficial to dogs but should be given only as a special treat. However, too much watermelon is not good for your dog.
How you prepare it will really make the difference between healthy and harmful.
Watermelon And Dogs
A dog’s diet requires mainly protein and fat, with a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Consequently, watermelon should not be a large component of a dog’s diet.
Dogs do require some of the vitamins and minerals found in watermelon. Vitamin A, B6, and C are beneficial to dogs, as well as potassium:
- While Vitamin C is not essential for dogs, it can be beneficial for aged or sick dogs that could use an immune boost due to their liver not producing enough vitamin C naturally.
- Vitamin A is necessary to keep their skin and coat healthy. It also plays an important role in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
- Vitamin B6 is a very important vitamin for canine health. It plays a role in essential bodily functions like glucose generation, red blood cell function, hormone regulation, and immune response.
- Potassium is an essential nutrient for your pet’s heart health. Your dog is at an increased risk for suffering a heart attack or heart failure if they become potassium deficient.
Another benefit of watermelon is its high-water content. This is a treat that can help your dog to stay hydrated on a hot summer afternoon. However, this high-water content can also lead to diarrhea if your dog consumes too much at once.
Watermelon for dogs should be a light snack and not a feast.
Even though watermelon contains some beneficial nutrients for dogs, it’s important that your dog gets the bulk of their calories and nutrients from dog chow or wet dog food.
Fruit does not have the same nutrients like those found in meats or commercially prepared dog food. And a high-fruit diet does not meet the nutritional requirements of a dog.
When Is Watermelon Bad For Dogs?
Like many human foods, watermelon is not always safe for pets to eat. Unfortunately, dogs and watermelon seeds don’t mix.
A dog’s intestines can be blocked If they consume watermelon seeds. This situation has the potential to turn deadly very quickly if you do not seek veterinary attention right away.
It’s also important to remember that many fruits, watermelon included, are naturally high in sugar. You may think that feeding fruit to your four-legged friend is better for them than a processed dog treat, but the truth that fruit is filled with sugar that your pet more than likely does not need.
Too much sugar intake can cause an upset stomach in the short term. And in the long-term, I can cause tooth decay, weight gain, or even diabetes!
Feeding even a little fruit to an overweight or obese dog can add unnecessary calories. Use your best judgment when it comes to feeding treats of any sort to your pet.
Therefore, give seed-free watermelon and other dog-safe sweet treats in moderation or sparingly.
Is Watermelon Good For Dogs?
“Can dogs have watermelon?” is a bit of a different question than “Is watermelon good for dogs?”
Watermelon isn’t harmful to dogs in moderation, so they can have it.
However, they should be getting all the nutrients they need if your dog is eating an appropriate and quality dog food. Thus feeding them watermelon isn’t necessary to contribute to their overall health. It isn’t adding anything they are not already getting and they are not better off for eating it.
One occasion where watermelon maybe good for your dog is if your dog is ill or aging. Dogs produce Vitamin C so it is generally not essential to their diet. However, there is some evidence that dietary Vitamin C can be helpful to ill or senior dogs.
If your veterinarian recommends adding dietary Vitamin C to your dog’s diet to help with their immunity, watermelon could be a good option.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Rind?
Because dogs can eat watermelon safely, can dogs have watermelon rind too?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Much like watermelon seeds, dogs and watermelon rinds are not a good combination.
Allowing a dog to chew on the watermelon’s rind may result in a bad belly ache or worse. Dogs are also unable to digest the rind just as humans are unable to digest the rind (and many other fruit skins).
A dog may be able to chew off a piece small enough to swallow, but it may not be broken down enough to pass through their digestive tract. The rind can cause blockages, which are emergency medical situations.
Giving your dog watermelon rind isn’t worth the risk. Cut the melon off the rind and portion the flesh into small cubes before feeding to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Seedless Watermelon?
If you are going to feed your dog watermelon, then seedless watermelon is actually going to be your best (and probably most efficient) choice.
Seeded watermelon requires you to remove the seeds prior to feeding it to your pet. All you have to do with a seedless watermelon is scoop the flesh from the rind and place the bite-sized pieces into a bowl for Fido or Fluffy to enjoy.
Should I Give My Dog Watermelon?
Watermelon for dogs is safe as long as the rind and seeds are removed. For instance, it can be a nice thirst-quenching treat on a hot day.
Keep it as a small tasty and occasional treat, as the sugar and water content can lead to unpleasant consequences for your furry friend if consumed in large quantities.
It is always best to give a very small amount initially to gauge your dog’s reaction. Watermelon is not food dogs tend to have an allergy to, but every dog is different.
How To Prepare Watermelon For Dogs
Can dogs have watermelon? Yes, but not without a little preparation prior to doing so.
Cubed or diced seedless watermelon, or seeded watermelon with the seeds removed, is the best preparation to feed watermelon to your dog.
Remove the rind and ensure your dog only gets the flesh of the fruit.
Alternatives To Watermelon or Dogs
If you are looking for other refreshing or fruity treats that you can share with your four-legged family member, take a look at these:
But, avoid toxic foods such as chocolate.
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Can dogs have watermelon? The short answer is yes, as a special treat. And as with any type of treat, moderation is key.
The watermelon flesh must be cut or scooped out from the rind, as the rind is indigestible for dogs. Additionally, you should remove seeds if the watermelon has them, to prevent a possible blockage once they reach your dog’s intestines.
Moreover, you should make sure that your dog is consuming enough protein and calories from regular dog food and not indulging in too many treats, fruit or otherwise.
While fruit may provide them with a boost of vitamins, it will not provide enough of the nutrients a naturally carnivorous animal needs.
Have you ever been tempted to share your watermelon with your dog? Did they enjoy it?
Let us know what your dog’s favorite fruity treat is, in the comments box below
References and Further Reading
- Banfield Pet Hospital. Accessed 2019. “Essential Nutrients for Dogs and Cats: Vitamins.”
- Bovsun, M. 2015. Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?” American Kennel Club (AKC).
- Griswold, B., and Kerns N. 2019. “ Benefits of Vitamin C to Your Dog.” Whole Dog Journal.
- National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). 2015. “ Vitamin A Deficiency in Dogs.”
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Accessed 2019. “Watermelon.”
- University of California Cooperative Extension. 2012. “Reasons for the Seasons Produce Tips for Placer & Nevada County Consumers—Melons.”
- Ware, Megan. 2017. “ Watermelon: Health benefits, nutrition, and risks.” Medical News Today.
- Trupanion. Accessed 2019. “Can dogs eat watermelon?”
We have extensively revised and updated this article for 2019.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
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