If you're wondering if dogs can eat watermelon, read on for your answer. Watermelon is a hydrating, low-calorie fruit enjoyed as a refreshing snack. People love it because it is sweet, delicious, and easy to prepare. Since most fruits are generally safe for dogs, can dogs eat watermelon? More importantly, is watermelon safe for dogs?
In this article, we will answer whether dogs can eat watermelon. Here is everything you need to know before offering this juicy treat to your dogs.
Is Watermelon Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat watermelon. It is generally safe for dogs but with precautions. The flesh of watermelon—the red or yellow part, depending on the variety—is the safest part dogs can eat. This part of the watermelon is very high in moisture. It has more than 90% water, which can have hydrating effects on dogs. Additionally, watermelon has supplemental vitamins and minerals.
Watermelon contains a considerable amount of sugar. If your dog has any relevant conditions, it is best to talk to your veterinarian before feeding them watermelon.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon for Dogs
Watermelon is low in calories and high in moisture and nutrients. The nutritional content of watermelon includes:
- Fiber - helps the digestive system form firm stools
- Vitamin C – enhances immune function, reduces inflammation and cognitive aging, exerts an antioxidant effect
- Lycopene - reduces systolic blood pressure
- Vitamin A - strengthens immune function, supports vision and bone growth
- Vitamin B1 – aids in maintaining the brain, nervous system, and motor skills
- Vitamin B6 – aids the nervous and immune systems
- Vitamin B5 – promotes hormone production and food metabolism
- Potassium – aids in the functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles
- Iron - helps in the generation of red blood cells and hemoglobin
- Magnesium - helps make red blood cells absorb iron
- Copper - aids muscle functions and the heart
Watermelon contains sugar. It also contains dietary fiber. The thick insulation from fiber means sugars are gradually released in the bloodstream. Unlike other fruits, watermelon does not cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels.
Watermelons are also almost made up of water. Dogs may urinate more after eating watermelon because of its natural diuretic properties. This shouldn't be a problem, though. Dogs get more hydration from eating the watermelon compared to how much they pee from it.
Despite all this, watermelon is not supposed to be a normal part of your dog's daily diet. It's better for your dog's daily meal to consist of a well-balanced dry dog food. The sugar in watermelon may also be a risk for obesity and diabetes especially if given more often.
Can Dogs Have Watermelon Rind and Seeds?
The watermelon rind is generally safe. It is important to only give the light green part of the watermelon rind and not the hard outer rind. You can give bite-sized light green rinds sparingly, but feeding more than that can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Watermelon seeds are also not safe for dogs. The seeds are indigestible and may cause intestinal blockage. They can also be a potential choking hazard. Smaller dogs are more prone to these due to their smaller esophagus and intestines. This is why you should always make sure the seeds from the watermelon are absent before giving it to dogs.
If your dog does accidentally eat a huge amount of watermelon rind or seeds, bring your dog to your veterinarian.
How Much Watermelon Can Dogs Eat?
Watermelon is a great snack for dogs in small quantities. Feeding them too much watermelon can cause an upset stomach. Similar with any other dog treat, watermelon should only make up 10% or less of your dog's diet.
You can follow this concise guideline about how much watermelon you can give your dogs. Note that each chunk should only be about 1 inch x 1 inch x ¼-inch thick.
How to Introduce Watermelon to Your Dog
It is best to introduce only fresh watermelon to your dogs. Prepare the watermelon by removing the seeds and the rinds—seedless watermelon varieties are the most convenient. Dicing the fruit into bite-size pieces makes it easy for dogs to eat.
You can start introducing watermelon by giving a small chunk for your dog to sniff and taste. Dogs are very curious and may immediately take a bite. You can also try to give watermelon as food toppers.
If your dog gets the hang of it, you try freezing watermelons. There are several ways to do this. The easiest will be to freeze the diced seedless watermelon as is. You can also puree the fresh fruit, after removing the seeds and rinds, and freeze it in an ice cube tray.
When introducing a new food to your dog, we recommend offering small amounts at first. This is in case your dog might have an allergy or intolerance to it (yes, it happens). Signs that you could watch out for inlcude:
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Ear inflammation
It is important to stop feeding watermelon if your dog shows any of the signs mentioned above or if your dog appears to have discomfort after eating watermelon.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Yes, dogs can eat watermelon - with precautions. It is a healthy snack you can give your dogs in moderation. Watermelon is safe for dogs as long as you remove the seeds and the rinds. It is also important that the amount is adequate for the dog's size and build. You can prepare this treat in several ways and is a great source of hydration dogs will surely enjoy.
Have your dogs tried watermelon? Share your experience by leaving us a comment below!
About the Author
Dr. Irah Pearl Acierto is a veterinarian and a freelance writer from the Philippines. She graduated from Central Luzon State University with the degrees Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. After earning her license and securing a topnotch position, she pursued a career in small animal general practice. She is currently finishing her Masters in Veterinary Studies degree. She also writes articles for veterinarians.org.