Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? The Safest Answer Explained

Published November 17, 2021
Dog looking at watermelon slice

A slice of watermelon is a refreshing snack on a summer day, something you might want to share with your dog. You're both in for a treat because, yes, dogs can eat watermelon. This sweet, moisture-rich fruit is safe for dogs and can provide them with many nutritional benefits. Discover which parts of the watermelon to offer your pup, along with what to keep out of reach.

Can dogs eat watermelon infographic

Watermelon Is a Safe Treat for Dogs

Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that is healthy for both humans and dogs. It's packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and A, fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. Watermelon is also rich in moisture; 92 percent of the fruit is composed of water. This characteristic makes it an excellent, low-calorie snack for your dog, but it can also cause soft stool if they eat too much.

Although all watermelon varieties are safe for dogs, seedless watermelons are preferred. Mature watermelon seeds (the large, black ones) can pose a health threat if ingested, so selecting a seedless fruit eliminates this risk. Yellow watermelons contain more beta-carotene than the regular variety, which can improve your dog's eyesight and prevent disease.

This fruit does contain natural sugars, which may not be ideal for dogs with diabetes or other health conditions. Always confirm with your veterinarian before adding a new food to your pet's diet.

How Much Watermelon Can Your Dog Have?

Even with a healthy snack like watermelon, it's important to follow the 90/10 rule. This guideline states that 90 percent of the calories in your dog's diet should come from a well-balanced canine food, while no more than 10 percent should come from treats.

Watermelon is quite low in calories -- it contains only 46 per cup. This means a 30-pound dog could eat up to 1 cup of watermelon as their allotted treats for the day. But before you load up your dog's bowl, remember that this fruit is packed with moisture and can cause gastrointestinal distress if given in excess. Regardless of your dog's size, start with a few small pieces to see how they tolerate it. Moderation is the best way to keep your dog safe and comfortable.

How to Prepare Watermelon for Dogs

There are several different ways to prepare this fruity treat for your dog. Use any of the following methods and remember to practice moderation.

  • Bite-sized pieces: Remove the seeds and rind before cutting watermelon into small, bite-sized chunks. Give these to your dog as a low-calorie training treat or incorporate into their food.
  • Puree: After removing the rind and seeds, blend watermelon pieces into a smooth puree. Pour this onto your dog's food or spread it onto a tactile feeding mat like the LickiMat.
  • Frozen treats: On a very warm day, a frozen treat can cool down your hot dog. Avoid freezing chunks of watermelon, as these can serve as a choking hazard. Instead, freeze puree into large pupsicles or create your own dog-safe ice cream.
  • Fruit jerky: Create chewy watermelon treats by using a dehydrator. Go larger when slicing watermelon for these chew treats to prevent choking.

Avoid giving your dog watermelon with any seasonings like salt, Tajin, or lime juice. Skip anything with artificial watermelon flavoring, as these are often loaded with sugar and can even contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.

Dangerous Watermelon Parts to Avoid

Although the flesh of a watermelon is safe to eat, there are components of this fruit that could harm your dog. Keep these pieces out of reach.

Watermelon seeds
  • Rind: Watermelon rind is very dense and challenging for your dog to digest, so it can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. It could also cause an intestinal blockage if your dog decides to swallow a piece. Blockages require emergency attention and could even need invasive and expensive surgery to save your beloved dog. Eliminate these dangers by keeping the rind away from pets.
  • Seeds: Dogs aren't like humans who will spit out the seeds while munching on watermelon; they'll swallow everything. If your dog ingests a few, they shouldn't pose a threat. However, several watermelon seeds can create an obstruction in the intestines, making them challenging or impossible for your dog to pass. Choose seedless watermelon or remove seeds before serving your pup.

Contact your veterinarian if you discover that your dog has ingested a piece of watermelon rind or a large volume of seeds. They can provide you with guidance based on your dog's condition and medical history. Signs of an intestinal blockage include low energy, not wanting to eat, vomiting or regurgitation, constipation, and an uncomfortable belly. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, see your veterinarian right away.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

When fed in moderation, watermelon can be a refreshing and low-calorie treat for dogs. Remove the rind and seeds before serving to keep your pup safe. They'll be sure to say thanks a melon!

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Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? The Safest Answer Explained