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Small dog smelling a watermelon

The essentials

  • Watermelon is safe for dogs, but the seeds and rind are not — Though they are not “toxic” to dogs, watermelon seeds can cause an intestinal blockage in dogs — and the rinds may trigger GI upset.
  • Watermelon has several nutritional benefits for dogs — The fruit is high in vitamins and fiber and low in calories. It also contains a lot of water to help hydrate pups.
  • Dogs should only eat watermelon in moderation — While nutritional, the fruit lacks the essential minerals of a well-balanced canine diet, and shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily caloric intake .

Watermelon is a favorite snack among humans, and with good reason — the juicy fruit is packed with nutrients, low in calories, and tastes refreshing on a hot summer day. These benefits lead many pet parents to ask: Can dogs eat watermelon? And if so, how does it need to be prepared to be safe? 

Watermelon is one of several fruits considered non-toxic for our canine companions. That said, owners must remove the seeds first to prevent the risk of an intestinal blockage.

Read on to learn more about watermelon safety for dogs, as well as the pros and cons of using it as a refreshing treat.

Is watermelon good for dogs?

Watermelon makes a healthy treat for our fur babies. It’s packed with potassium and vitamins A, B6, and C, all of which offer nutritional benefits for dogs — such as improved eye health and decreased skin inflammation. Watermelon also offers dogs a good source of fiber, which aids in digestion, as well as antioxidants.

Because it is low in calories, watermelon can serve as a good alternative to many store-bought dog treats on the market. It is also free of fat and cholesterol, which can help curb obesity and heart disease.

Another added benefit of watermelon is that it’s made up of 92% water, making it a great treat to boost your furry friend’s hydration levels.

👉 Be sure to avoid products that contain artificial watermelon flavors, which can be toxic to dogs.

Are there potential risks of feeding dogs watermelon?

While watermelons are generally considered safe for dog consumption, owners should be aware of possible risks to feeding the fruit to their pup.

To start with, owners should be mindful of the sugar content in watermelon. Even though it’s a natural sugar, dogs that ingest too much of the fruit over time will be at risk of diabetes.

👉 If your dog already has diabetes, it is probably best that they avoid fruits and other foods with high sugar content. 

Additionally, while the fiber in watermelon is generally a good thing for dogs, it can also trigger diarrhea or upset stomach in our furry friends.

Can dogs have watermelon rind?

Much like the seeds, rinds should be removed from watermelons before serving the fruit to your pup. The thickness and toughness of the rind is not only a choking hazard — it’s also difficult to break down in the digestive tract.

The rind can lead to gastrointestinal upset in dogs, particularly diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. If your dog has accidentally ingested the rind of a watermelon, call poison control or seek emergency veterinary care.

How to feed watermelon to your dog safely

Ready to give your friend a taste of this tropical treat? Here is a simple guide on how to safely feed your dog watermelon:

Remove the seeds and rind — If you don’t have a seedless watermelon, you’ll need to make sure you remove each seed by hand to prevent a blockage. Next, slice off the rind to avoid choking and GI upset.

Slice into small pieces — Cut the seedless watermelon into tiny, chewable chunks. You can also freeze watermelon in an ice cube tray to make the treat last longer, or for a refreshing snack on a hot summer day.

Puree — Consider pureeing the watermelon for easier ingestion. This step is a good idea for owners looking to add a topper to dog food or for pets with more sensitive stomachs.

Feed slowly and monitor — Every dog is different, and some will react differently to watermelon than others. Start by feeding your pooch a small amount, and monitor their body language for any signs of discomfort.

🚨 If your dog exhibits physical symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, stop feeding them the fruit immediately and consult your vet.

👉 Looking for an alternative to watermelon? Consider feeding your dog cantaloupe and pineapple for high water content and good nutritional value.

While many dogs will appreciate the sweet and refreshing taste of watermelon, others won’t — and that’s okay! As long as you’re careful to remove the seeds and rind from watermelon and feed your canine friend in moderation, you can rest assured that they’re safe ingesting the watery fruit.

Frequently asked questions

How much watermelon can I give my dog?

The amount of watermelon you can safely feed your dog without adverse reactions depends on their size, as large dogs can typically handle more than smaller breeds. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian regarding portion size, but keep in mind that treats should only account for 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Why is watermelon good for dogs?

Watermelon is packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. It is also high in fiber, and low in calories and cholesterol.

Lastly, watermelon consists of 92% water, making it a beneficial treat for offsetting dehydration or constipation in dogs.

Are watermelon seeds toxic to dogs?

While the seeds in watermelons are not considered toxic to dogs, they can cause an intestinal blockage in your pup — and should be removed before serving.

Can dogs eat watermelon rind or skin?

The rind of a watermelon is considered a choking hazard for dogs, and it can also lead to digestive upset. It’s best to fully remove the rind or “skin” of the watermelon before serving it to your pet.

What fruits are safe for dogs?

If prepared properly and served in moderation, apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, cantaloupes, mangos, and pineapples are all considered safe fruits for dogs.