Can dogs have watermelon?
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? Is Watermelon Safe For Dogs?
Can dogs eat watermelon? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat watermelon. But before you feed your dog this tasty treat, there are some things you should know.
This fruit has plenty of vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for your dog’s health, and they’re made of 92 percent water, so they can be especially refreshing on a hot day.
However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and the rinds and seeds of watermelons can cause serious health problems. It’s important to know how to serve it to your dog safely so they don’t get sick.
As always, you must ask your vet before sharing human foods, including watermelon, with your pooch. Here’s what you should know about feeding watermelon to dogs.
How Is Watermelon Good For Dogs?
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Watermelon is full of beneficial nutrients that are healthy for dogs, including potassium and vitamins A, B6, and C. It’s also high in fiber, which is good for digestion.
Although watermelon contains sugar, the fiber content in the fruit insulates the sugar and prevents it from being released into the bloodstream too quickly. It’s also a source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer.
Watermelon is low in calories, low in sodium, fat free, and cholesterol free, which makes it a healthier choice than many store-bought treats. Being made of about 92 percent water, this fruit can be a good source of hydration and an especially refreshing treat on a hot day.
When Is Watermelon Bad For Dogs?
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Watermelon should not make up a large part of a dog’s diet. Dogs who eat too much watermelon will probably get a tummy ache along with some diarrhea or other signs of gastrointestinal upset.
Some dogs get an upset stomach when they try a new food that they aren’t used to. It is best to give your dog watermelon in moderation, especially if they haven’t eaten it before, and see how they react.
You can ask your veterinarian or nutritionist about the appropriate amount for your individual dog.
Some Parts Of The Fruit Are Dangerous
The seeds can pose a problem for dogs. One or two seeds might not make much of a difference, but many seeds can end up causing a blockage in the digestive tract. Some large dogs may be able to pass the seeds without problems, but smaller dogs are especially at risk for a blockage.
The rinds are also not safe to eat. Though dogs may safely nibble at the light green insides of the fruit, this part of the watermelon is firm and difficult to chew. Dogs may swallow the rind without completely chewing it, which can result in intestinal blockage.
The skin of the watermelon is also very difficult to digest and can cause further blockage. Again, smaller dogs are more at risk.
If your dog does eat the seeds or rind of a watermelon and you see the signs of an intestinal blockage, including vomiting, constipation, lethargy, and abdominal pain, get to your veterinarian right away to avoid serious complications.
You should be on the lookout for signs of intestinal blockage for at least 24 hours after your dog eats the rind or seeds.
Natural Watermelon Only
Sweet products that contain watermelon or anything that is artificially watermelon flavored are probably not a good idea for dogs. They are usually full of sugar, chemicals, or other substances that can make your dog sick.
Too much sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset in the short term and diabetes or obesity in the long term. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol can even be toxic to dogs, so stick to plain watermelon that you prepare, yourself. That way you know what’s in it.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Watermelon?
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Before you feed your dog watermelon or any other human food, you should ask your veterinarian or nutritionist about how much you should feed your dog, if any, and how often. Many dogs have different dietary needs, and some have medical conditions that might make watermelon a bad choice.
Once you have the okay from your vet or nutritionist, make sure you remove any seeds or rind from the watermelon before giving it to your dog. Cutting them up into small, chewable cubes is the simplest way to prepare watermelon for dogs and makes for a nice, easy treat.
You can also freeze watermelon to make an extra refreshing summer treat, but make sure your dog’s teeth are healthy enough to chew frozen food without being damaged.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can mix watermelon with other safe and healthy ingredients like blueberries to make a fruit salad or smoothie for your dog.
Follow any safety tips your vet gives you for feeding your dog safely.
Have you ever fed your dog watermelon? Do you have any recipes for watermelon dog treats? Let us know in the comments below!
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
Watermelon is a healthy and refreshing treat for humans, but can dogs eat it, too?
If you’ve shared a piece of watermelon or your pup has snuck a piece, there’s no need to worry. As long as your dog does not have diabetes and is not sensitive to sugar, they should be completely fine.
Is Watermelon Good for Dogs?
Both red and yellow watermelon are safe and healthy fruits for most puppies and adult dogs to eat. However, dogs that have diabetes or sugar sensitivities as well as dogs that are obese should not be given the fruit.
Watermelon is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. And since 92% of a watermelon is actually water, it’s helpful for hydration—especially on hot summer days.
Keep in mind though, that due to the small amount of watermelon your dog should eat as a snack, they cannot depend on watermelon alone for hydration.
There are also several great vitamins and minerals in watermelons:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin C
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Rinds?
Be sure that your dog does not eat watermelon rind. It’s not safe for them to consume, as it can become a serious choking hazard or create an intestinal blockage. If your dog has swallowed a watermelon rind, visit your veterinarian immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Before feeding any watermelon to your dog, remove the rind and seeds. These black seeds contain cyanide, although it’s unlikely that a dog would be able to eat enough of them to be poisoned. The seeds can also be a potential choking hazard.
Despite the name, seedless watermelons will sometimes still have thin, white seeds. And although those probably won’t pose choking hazards, they could upset your dog’s stomach. So it’s safest to remove those as well.
If your dog has eaten some of the seeds, contact your veterinarian.
How Much Watermelon Can a Dog Eat?
Even healthy treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s overall diet. And the other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.
To help make the portions a little easier, below are some general guidelines for safe watermelon treat sizes based on your dog’s weight. Each “slice” should only be about 1 inch x 1 inch x ¼-inch thick:
- Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 1-2 slices of watermelon
- Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 2-3 slices of watermelon
Examples: Basenjis, Beagles, Miniature Australian Shepherds
- Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 5-6 slices of watermelon
- Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = handful of watermelon slices
- Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = large handful of watermelon slices
If your dog ate some extra watermelon when you weren’t looking and you’re worried that they ate too much, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of an upset stomach:
- Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
- Acting depressed
- Looking uncomfortable
- Gulping or licking their lips, the air, or objects
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
Worsening symptoms include:
- Excessive diarrhea
- Blood in their vomit or stool
If you notice any of these more serious symptoms, call your vet and take your dog to the vet immediately.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Watermelon
When feeding watermelon to your pup, make sure to wash off the watermelon, remove the rind, and remove the seeds. Once you’ve prepared the watermelon, there are multiple fun ways to safely feed it to your dog.
- Cut it into small pieces that are about 1 inch x 1 inch x ¼-inch thick to give to your dog as treats.
- Remove the seeds, mash or blend a little watermelon, then pour it over your dog’s food, or put it in a KONG toy to freeze and serve later.
- Make your pup a fruit smoothie by blending up watermelon with some other dog-safe fruits like bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. Then combine that fruit mixture with plain, sugar-free, xylitol-free yogurt. Refrigerate the mixture so you can put a little on top of your dog’s food later. Or you can put it in their KONG toy to freeze for a very refreshing treat.
- Try these recipes for a dog-safe watermelon sorbet or a watermelon mocktail for dogs
Featured image: iStock.com/Sviatlana Barchan
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Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? Everything You Need to Know
If you are wondering if dogs can have watermelon, how much and how often, the good news is that this juicy, sweet, delicious melon, fresh or frozen, is safe for dogs to eat. Low in calories and packed with nutrients, it’s a healthy addition to your dog’s diet when served in moderation and a few precautions taken such as removing seeds and rind.
Benefits of Watermelon for Dogs
Aside from being a tasty summer treat, fresh or frozen watermelon contains many nutritional benefits for dogs, too.
- High in vitamins A, B1,B5, B6, and C
- High in minerals including potassium and magnesium
- High in anti-oxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene
- Low in calories
- High in water content for helpful hydration
- And, it’s fun to eat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can dogs eat watermelon rind?
A: No, dogs should not eat the green and white rind sections of a watermelon as these can cause potential digestive issues as well as potential chocking issues if consumed in large pieces.
Q: Can dogs eat watermelon seeds?
A: It is best to avoid giving watermelon seeds to your dog. An easy, stress-free solution is to opt for seedless watermelons which do not contain hard black seeds (there may be some softer, white seeds which should be removed if possible).
Q: Why do dogs like watermelon?
A: Just like their human counterparts, Dr. Bayazit says that dogs too may find watermelon a refreshing treat in season or even during the out-of-season months. It’s tasty, sweet, juicy, and can be extra-cooling when served frozen. And, since you are eating it and loving it, your dog probably wants in on this summer pleasure too.
How to Feed Watermelon to Dogs
You should always consult with your vet before serving watermelon to determine the right portion size for your dog. Even a healthy treat like watermelon should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet. Dr. Bayazit recommends:
- Only feed fresh or unsweetened frozen watermelon to your dog. Do not feed them watermelon that is canned, sugared or packed in syrup. The sugar content is too high, and these foods might have added preservatives and sweeteners like xylitol which can be deadly to dogs.
- Remove the fruit from the rind as the green and white section of the rind can be rough on a pup’s tummy. Remove any seeds from the melon as these can cause intestinal blockage and also might present a choking hazard.
- Allow you dog to nibble away at a slice of watermelon with your supervision or simply cut the pink sections of the fruit into bite-sized chunks. Freeze bite-sized pieces of watermelon to make a fresh, fruity popsicle for your pup.
- Add a few small pieces to your dog’s prepared food as a vitamin-booster.
If possible, Dr. Bayazit says buying and serving organic watermelon is always preferable; either way, careful and thorough washing of the fruit is vital prior to serving.
As with any new food added to your pet’s diet, start out serving watermelon very slowly to see how well the fruits are being digested. Soft stool or diarrhea can be indications that watermelon does not agree with your dog, or they have consumed too much.