Sweet, juicy, and delicious — it’s no wonder watermelon is a popular and healthy human snack. But is it safe to share this fruit with your dog? The short answer is yes; dogs can eat watermelon, but only the flesh. “Dogs can enjoy watermelons as a tasty and nutritious treat, as these fruits are packed with nutrients like Vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber, and are low in calories,” said Dr. Alex Schechter, a veterinarian and founder of Burwood Veterinary.
But before you dash out and offer your dog a big wedge of watermelon, there are a few precautions you need to take. First, watermelon should be given in moderation due to its sugar content. Schechter also cautions pet parents to remove all seeds and rind, as they can present a choking hazard or cause gastrointestinal blockages. If your dog does eat watermelon rind or seeds, monitor them for signs of discomfort and ask your veterinarian for advice if you’re concerned.
How much watermelon your dog can eat depends on their size and breed, and we’ll give you some pointers later in this article. We’ll also round up some of the best recipes to make those watermelon treats even more special.
Can Dogs Eat The Whole Watermelon?
Watermelon flesh is an excellent treat for your dog, but avoid feeding them the seeds or rind. Here’s why.
|Part of watermelon||Is it safe?||Possible effects|
|Seeds||No||Potential choking, gastrointestinal blockages, or digestive discomfort|
|Rind||No||Difficulty to digest, or it can cause gastrointestinal upset.|
What to do if my dog eats watermelon seeds or rinds
You might be careful when preparing watermelon treats for your dog, but what if they snatch a slice off the countertop and gobble down the rind? Or someone accidentally feeds them some watermelon that still contains seeds?
Schechter explains that if your dog eats a few watermelon seeds or a bit of rind, it’s usually not an emergency. However, he adds pet parents should monitor them for any signs of discomfort or digestive issues. What are the signs you should look out for? The telltale signs of GI upset are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or distress. Lastly, he says if you spot any of these signs, you should take your dog to your veterinarian immediately since this can indicate a blockage or other complication.
How Much Watermelon Can Dogs Eat?
One of the reasons dogs (and humans!) love watermelon is because of the sweet taste, but that does mean it contains a fair amount of natural sugars. While this isn’t bad, it means watermelon is best saved as an occasional treat.
“Your dog shouldn’t be eating watermelon every day, but once or twice a week is fine,” Schechter explains. It’s a low-calorie snack (one cup of diced watermelon only contains 45 calories), so it is a good choice if your dog is overweight and wants a tasty treat.
Schechter says how much watermelon your dog can eat depends on their size. But, as a basic guideline, he recommends giving your dog about 1-3 small watermelon cubes per 10 pounds of body weight. Here are some examples.
- Small dogs like Chihuahuas or Yorkies can have 1-2 cubes.
- Medium-sized dogs like Bulldogs or Cocker Spaniels can have 3-4 cubes.
- Larger breeds like Labradors or Golden Retrievers can have 4-6 cubes.
Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet, and remember to adjust their daily food intake to account for the extra calories. Schechter recommends giving watermelon as an occasional treat and starting small to monitor for adverse reactions.
Why Do Dogs Love Watermelon?
For the same reasons we do! Some dogs love the crunchy texture of watermelon flesh, while others enjoy any treats containing this flavorful fruit packed with natural sugars. As its name suggests, watermelon also has a lot of water, helping your dog stay hydrated.
How Nutritious Are Watermelons For Dogs?
Watermelon provides a range of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog’s health. We’ve outlined the main benefits of those below:
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 cup||Benefit|
|fiber||0.6g||Helps maintain a healthy digestive system|
|Potassium||170mg||Aids hydration, helps boost muscle and cardiac function|
|Magnesium||15.2mg||Essential for heart, muscle, and bone health|
|Vitamin C||12.3mg||It helps support your dog’s immune system and boosts heart and joint health. It also contributes to healthy skin and coat.|
|Calcium||10.6mg||Needed for bone and joint health|
|Vitamin A||42.6mcg||Supports vision, immune health, and bone growth|
Try These 3 Amazing Watermelon Recipes To Help Your Dog Cool Off
Want to make some tasty watermelon-based treats for your dog? We’ve got you covered! Our tried-and-tested recipes are a safe and healthy way to treat your dog and can be a great way to help them cool down after a long walk or on a hot summer’s day.
Two-Ingredient Watermelon Ice Cream
This easy ice cream tastes excellent — for both humans and dogs alike!
- 1 ½ cups frozen watermelon
- ¼ cup yogurt (substitute with coconut milk or coconut yogurt for lactose sensitivities)
- Wash the melon before cutting.
- Dice a few cups of watermelon, removing seeds as you go.
- Place in the freezer for 4 hours (or overnight).
- Place 1 1/2 cups of frozen melon in the food processor.
- Add 1/4 cup of yogurt.
- Blitz in a food processor, adding more fruit or yogurt to adjust flavor and texture.
- Serve immediately.
Refreshing Watermelon Sherbet
This soft sherbet is a great idea for senior dogs who may have trouble chewing harder frozen treats.
- 2–3 cups of frozen diced watermelon
- ¼ cup of yogurt
- 1–3 tbsp of water as necessary
- Wash your watermelon before slicing to remove any residual pesticide and dirt.
- Slice, deseed and dice half the watermelon, and place in a freezer bag. Let freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
- Wash mint sprig, pat dry with a paper towel, remove leaves, slice thinly with scissors, and set aside.
- Remove frozen watermelon from the freezer.
- Place 2-3 cups of frozen watermelon chunks into a food processor bowl.
- Add ⅓ to ¼ cup of yogurt to a food processor bowl and blitz to combine.
- Add a little water if you need to smooth things out.
- Keep blitzing the food processor until there are almost no chunks left; add mint leaves and blitz to finish and combine.
- Plate up the sherbet immediately and garnish with another mint leaf.
Watermelon Jerky Dog Treats
It might seem counterintuitive to take the water out of a watermelon, but these jerky treats mean your pup can enjoy a taste of summer all year long. Note: you’ll need a food dehydrator for this recipe.
- Half of a watermelon
- Wash your watermelon before slicing.
- Cut the watermelon in half and set aside one half for a different delicious recipe.
- Slice watermelon into 1/4-inch thick spears. If you slice the watermelon too thin, the pieces will be hard to remove and stick to your trays.
- Remove as many watermelon seeds as you can. A few here and there will be OK for medium and large-sized dogs.
- Line your food dehydrator trays with parchment paper or use fruit leather inserts for easy cleanup and to simplify jerky removal. Or you can live on the edge like us.
- Arrange watermelon pieces on trays. Be sure to leave breathing space around each slice to ensure even drying.
- Depending on the humidity in your climate, the watermelon will take 18-24 hours to finish. Check its progress at 12 hours.
- Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.
For treats containing other fruit options, we’ve rounded up eight homemade frozen dog treats for even more fun in the sun.
Which Fruits Are Bad for Dogs?
So, watermelons are OK for dogs to eat (minus the seeds and rind), but are there any fruits you should avoid feeding your dog? Some fruits, including the following, are toxic for dogs and should be avoided.
- Citrus fruits
- Grapes and raisins
The good news is there are plenty of other fruits that are safe for your dog to enjoy. Think apples, bananas, blueberries, pears, and more! These are great options for other homemade treats when your dog isn’t snacking down on some yummy watermelon.