Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
by Tudor Nikolas on Jul 17, 2023.
Summertime has got to be my dog’s favourite season. And not just because it means more walks and trips to the beach, but it’s also when one of his favourites fruits is in season.
With only 30 calories per cup or 100g, lots of nutrients and great for hydration in hot weather, watermelon is one of the best fruits for dogs.
Holistic Dog Nutrition
Dogs are primarily carnivores, as illustrated by Dr. Wouter Hendriks from Utrecht University. It’s also what we were taught in nutrition school. However, the centuries of them living with humans meant they have adapted their gut to also join in other omnivorous treats.
Ideally, in my opinion they require a balanced diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and even a fair amount of fruits and vegetables. But not all foods that are safe for human consumption are safe for our furry friends. Certain foods that are toxic for dogs or can cause adverse effects should be avoided.
Watermelon, a favorite summer fruit, is loved by many for its sweet, juicy taste and hydrating properties.
Here are the main nutrients per 100g of watermelon:
|Nutrient||Amount per 100g|
|Vitamin A||569 IU|
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Yes, dogs can safely eat watermelon.
There are two big exceptions to this:
1) You must remove the black seeds or pips
Watermelon is safe for dogs as long as you remove the black seeds. The black seeds are not safe to be ingested. The problem with these is that if they accumulate in the small intestine they could theoretically cause a blockage.
This blockage would in the worst case scenario require small bowel surgery, so it’s best to minimise this risk. If you can, try to buy watermelon that does not have any black seeds.
2) Avoid feeding it to diabetic dogs
As you can see above, watermelon has a fair sugar content. Although it’s from fructose and 100% natural, it can still be harmful if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes. Just as in humans, too high sugar content in foods can raise blood sugar levels to unhealthy levels.
In addition to these two main no nos, also be aware that some dogs may have a food intolerance or even allergy to watermelon.
If you do notice any new symptoms, such as itchiness, upset tummy, bloating, diarrhoea it’s best to avoid it in the future and contact your vet if concerned.
Can dogs eat watermelon rind or skin?
No, they should not be eating the watermelon rind or the skin. They both have a thick and rough texture that can be difficult for dogs to digest and may lead to gastrointestinal upset.
Plainly put, these components were not designed to be eaten by omnivores and nor us or dogs have the stomach enzymes necessary to break down the rind or the skin of watermelons.
Can puppies eat watermelon?
Yes, puppies can also eat watermelon as long as you remove the seeds, the rind/ skin and as long as you limit the amount.
It’s a great treat containing over 90% water and can be very refreshing for puppies in the summer too!
How Much Watermelon Can I Give My Dog?
Portion sizes vary based on the size and breed of your dog. For medium or large breeds, a cupful is generally sufficient.
Smaller breeds should only be given about half of this amount.
If your dog has not had watermelon before, you should start with one or two little cubes at a time. Starting with small quantities will tell you whether your dog likes it and how well it’s tolerated.
How Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? What is the best way to prepare it?
Here are some steps you can follow:
- Cut a watermelon slice
- If there are any seeds, take the seeds out with a knife or a spoon
- Cut the seedless watermelon slice into little cubes or chunks, and remove the rind and skin at the same time
Creative Ways to Feed Your Dog Watermelon
Watermelon can be more than just a simple treat. You can create fun and healthy snacks like watermelon popsicles by pureeing seedless watermelon and freezing it in ice cube trays, or even homemade watermelon doggy "ice cream" by blending watermelon with dog-safe Greek yogurt and freezing the mixture.
Here is a useful video I found of how you can make frozen watermelon treats:
And here are my own couple of tried & tested recipes that you can follow. These are especially yummy in the hot summer months:
Watermelon Popsicles for Dogs
- 2 cups watermelon with seeds removed (about 300g)
- 1 cup coconut water or plain water
- 1/4 cup of blueberries
Puree the seedless watermelon and washed blueberries in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Add coconut water or plain water and blend for a few more seconds.
Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or small cups. If you use small cups, you could put a wooden stick in the middle so you can use it as a lollipop once frozen solid.
Freeze for a few hours until solid.
Give these frozen treats one at a time to your dog as a lovely hydrating treat on a hot summer day.
Watermelon and Yogurt Frozen Dog Treats
- 2 cups of watermelon with seeds removed (about 300g)
- 1/2 cup of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
Puree the seedless watermelon in a blender until smooth.
Mix the watermelon puree and Greek yogurt together in a bowl.
Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or any other moulds. Just as the previous recipe, you can easily turn these into frozen lollipops if you have some lollipop sticks.
Freeze for a few hours and let your dog enjoy them on the hot summer days as a tasty reward :D
Let me know on social media if you managed to try any of these recipes. You’re welcome to even post some photos :)!