Refreshing, robust and tasty, watermelons are always appreciated in any healthy diet.
Yet as any dog owner will tell you if you’re enjoying eating something, chances are your dog is going to be interested too.
Dogs look to their masters for guidance and advice, but more than this, they often feel as though whatever they see you eating is safe for them to eat too.
This can have plenty of pros and cons, as you might imagine. So in that case, can dogs eat watermelon? Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of feeding watermelons to your dog.
Is watermelon good for dogs?
There’s no denying that watermelons are good for us, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any nutritionist who had but a single bad word to say about these vitamin dense fruits.
However, any responsible dog owner likely already knows that the nutritional needs of a dog are very different to those of a human being.
Likewise, the ability of a dog to digest fruits and vegetables is pretty different from that of their human masters.
Nevertheless, if you feed your dog watermelon in moderation, then yes – watermelon is good for dogs.
Watermelon is extremely highly packed with vitamins, potassium and hydrating qualities. Over 90 percent of watermelon is made up of water, which is a big part of why they are so juicy and refreshing.
A lot of dog owners like to keep slices of fresh watermelon in a sealed refrigerator container to take with them to the park on a hot day.
It’s a good way to energize and revitalize a dog who’s been running around in the heat a lot, especially if you’re running low on water or there aren’t good facilities for getting a drink for your dog at your local park.
Instead, toss your grateful pup a slice of watermelon, and you’ll find that he or she can get some much-needed hydration into the system pretty efficiently.
However, this fruit isn’t just a good way to hydrate your dog. It can be diced up as a refreshing dessert for a dog, for example, or it can be used to add a little naturally occurring vitamin content to your pet’s diet.
Of course, watermelons are pretty sizeable, and while our dog may well have fun rolling one around and trying to get inside of it, this approach is not recommended as the best.
For one thing, there’ll be far too much watermelon there for even the biggest, hungriest dogs.
The canine digestive system is far less compatible with plant-based foods like watermelon and other fruits and vegetables than our own.
It’s instead better to ensure that the appropriate portions for your pet are dished up here, which we’ll get into in a little more depth shortly.
Likewise, watermelon is a foodstuff best seen as something complementary to a dog’s already existing balanced and protein-rich diet.
In other words, don’t feel as though watermelon ought to form the core ingredient of any meals for your pet. It doesn’t have the right nutritional balance for that, and won’t help your dog out in the long run.
Dangers of watermelon for dogs
As with many fruits and vegetables, special care must be taken to ensure that watermelon is fed to your pet in the best and safest way.
Perhaps the most immediate concern here is the seeds that naturally occur in watermelon – and that’s especially true for young dogs, puppies, and smaller dogs.
The seeds can prove a choking hazard, especially hard ones that can chip or break growing teeth, and overall the seeds do not break down very easily during your dog’s digestive processes.
Dogs are often very enthusiastic eaters, and that can mean that they can wolf down several seeds before you know what’s what.
Likewise, though, dogs can also run the risk of choking on the flesh of the watermelon itself, especially if eating it right out of the slice, or accidentally gobbling down some of the rinds.
It’s important to take caution here even if you are cutting the watermelon down into cubes or chunks – take the time to learn what size best fits your pet, and by all means encourage him or her to take more time in eating if you think they’re safer doing so.
The other danger of dogs eating watermelons is having them overindulge. Toilet time for your dog can get messy if they eat too much fruit, which is hard to digest – leading to loose stool or constipation, depending on how your dog’s body handles all this relatively unfamiliar material.
Luckily, watermelon has less naturally occurring sugars than many other kinds of fruit and vegetables, so there’s less risk of contracting diabetes or other sugar-related complications, including weight gain, later in life.
How much watermelon can a dog eat daily?
Overall, watermelon isn’t something that a dog would necessarily need to eat daily – but if you’re looking to include it in your dog’s diet to boost their vitamin levels against an illness or to bump up their natural hydration levels, it comes well recommended as a relatively safe fruit to use.
Small dogs need only a handful of diced up cubes of watermelon daily spread among their meals or handed over as treats, whereas larger dogs would do well to have no more then a thin slice of it per day if you are feeing it right from the rind as a fun bonding treat.
Again, please do watch for any unexpected seeds that might try and get stuck in your dog’s teeth, throat or digestive system though.
Having your dog eat watermelon is a relatively easy thing to do, as your pet will likely be interested in the strong scent and sweet flavor of this treat.
Watermelons are low in calories and sugars when compared to other fruits, so they can be a healthy way of functioning as a treat to reward good behavior or cool down after a long day of playing.
However, all good things in moderation, as they say – it’s likely your dog will become fond of watermelon and try to have it as much as he or she can/ Don’t let those big soulful eyes draw you into this ruse!
What to do if your dog eats watermelon
Dogs have a talent for getting at the goodies they really shouldn’t. Luckily, watermelons are largely safe for dogs to eat – they are not toxic, nor do they have any nasty salts or sugars that can affect the long term health of your pet.
However, dogs can instead find that the choking hazard of a recklessly eaten watermelon, or the potential for them to cause damage to their surroundings if gnawing and thrashing at a whole one, can cause all kinds of issues.
Dogs who have eaten watermelon before and who have found a whole one to try and get into will be confounded by the toughness of that thick green rind surrounding the red sweet goodness inside.
Frustrated, many dogs begin thrashing the watermelon around to try and break it – sometimes accidentally hurling it at your home decorations in the process!
If your dog has instead helped themselves to precut watermelon slices or cubes though, it’s best to quickly identify if there is any choking risk and to interrupt them as soon as you can to reinforce to your pet that sneaking food is not okay.
This is more a behavior issue than a health risk one, luckily, but it’s still super important to make sure that effective boundaries are set.
After all, a dog who believes that he or she can get away with sneaking food might well attempt a less safe snack in the future, and that could cause some really big problems.
Watermelon is a fantastic and healthy way to either reward good behavior in your dog, get a few more vitamins into their system or both.
Watermelons also serve a valuable purpose as a way in which you can encourage a little extra hydration on a hot day – all wrapped up in a snack that your pooch is sure to love.
As long as you are mindful of the serving portions and stick to seedless watermelons whenever possible, there’s every reason to feed watermelons to your dog as a supplement or a treat from time to time.
However, fruit and vegetables are not supposed to be at the core of any canine diet, and so you’ll find that watermelon isn’t the best core component of any meal.
It can be treated as a light breakfast or a healthy dessert option, yes, but definitely shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your dog’s bowl.
Over time, you and your dog may well find that watermelon becomes the go-to snack, especially in the summer. And both you and your pup are sure to see plenty of health benefits over time too!
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.