Everyone loves fresh summer fruits, especially watermelon. Dogs love occasional treats in the summer, but a lot of pet parents don’t know what’s safe for their dogs to consume. Is watermelon safe for dogs to eat? Are there any health benefits? Are there side effects to dogs eating watermelon?
The short answer is YES! Dogs can eat watermelon and some actually absolutely love it. Read on to understand the health benefits and find your favorite watermelon recipe to try with your pup.
What is Watermelon?
Watermelon is a large fruit that originated in South Africa approximately 5,000 years ago. The fruit has a density of 92 percent water and 8 percent fruit. The exterior of a watermelon is green and striped. The inside is a light pink and very sweet.
Watermelons are available with seeds or seedless. There are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelon, which grows in close to 100 countries. Dogs can eat watermelons, and here’s what you should know before you give your pup this tasty treat.
5 Key Benefits of Watermelon For Dogs
One excellent reason to give your dog watermelon is that it’s low in calories and provides beneficial nutrients and vitamins including:
- Vitamin A Beta Carotene
- Vitamins B5 and B6
- Vitamin C
This is how watermelon can be beneficial for dogs:
- Vitamin A or beta-carotene in watermelon helps to promote good eyesight. It aids in keeping the cornea clear. Vitamin A is one of the components of the protein rhodopsin that improves vision in low or poor light. Also, Vitamin B5 aids in the normal function of the intestinal tract. B6 aids in the production of healthy red blood cells and the healthy function of the brain.
- The essential nutrient, Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, aids dogs in fighting degenerative conditions as they age. Vitamin C is also powerful in strengthening the immune system in humans and animals. Citrulline is an amino acid that converts to arginine, which contributes to healthy cell production. Lycopene is one of the powerful antioxidants that strengthen the immune system
- Potassium is essential for bodily function in humans and animals. It is vital in replacing lost electrolytes, which carry electrical impulses throughout the body and keep dogs sufficiently hydrated. Potassium is necessary for proper muscle development and for improving blood function.
- Watermelon contains magnesium, which is essential for the growth and production of proteins. Magnesium aids in absorbing the necessary vitamins dogs need for optimum health and healthy bone growth.
- Since watermelon has such a high water composition, it’s the perfect snack for keeping dogs hydrated on hot, summer days. Dogs that are very active can dehydrate quickly in hot weather. It’s essential to make sure dogs always have plenty of fresh water available and get healthy snacks like watermelon to hydrate them.
Trace amounts of the minerals copper, iron, manganese, sodium, and zinc are in watermelon. Dogs should never consistently be overfed with any fruits, especially those containing high amounts of A, B6, and C. So to answer the question again if watermelon is good for dogs- yes, but of course is small amounts and in moderation.
6 Tips For Giving Your Dog Watermelon
- While the fleshy portion of watermelon is safe for dogs in moderation, it’s advisable only to feed your dog seedless watermelon. The seeds can cause painful intestinal blockages in dogs, which may require surgery. You should still check for seeds even if the fruit is marketed as seedless.
- The fruit should be cut into small pieces or scooped out with a melon scoop. Make sure to remove any of the rinds from the fruit. Dogs could choke on large portions of the fruit.
- Dogs should only be fed real, fresh watermelon. Watermelon-flavored treats may contain ingredients like artificial sweeteners or colors that could be toxic to dogs.
- Never allow your dog to have watermelon rind as a treat. The rind is hard to digest and can cause severe gastrointestinal problems that can trigger vomiting and diarrhea. Watermelon rind is very tough to chew and can cause damage to a dog’s gums and teeth.
- Watermelon should be looked at as a treat for dogs and shouldn’t be considered part of their daily diet. A dog’s daily intake of calories should only consist of 10 percent in treats. One cup of cut watermelon equals 45.6 calories, and dogs should get most of the nutrients they need from their regular diet.
- Giving dogs watermelon in moderation means a small amount (a few pieces) two or three times a week. The fruit is an ideal snack for dogs when weight gain may be an issue.
When Should I Not Give Them Watermelon
There are instances when dogs shouldn’t be fed watermelon. Dogs that are prone to digestive upsets should only be given small amounts of watermelon as an occasional treat. The fruit can cause diarrhea, which could dehydrate a small dog if not treated promptly.
Dogs can get diabetes. If a dog already has the disease or is pre-diabetic, an alternative snack would be preferable due to the high sugar content in the fruit. Another reason to control a dog’s sugar intake is that too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Watermelon Versus Other Melons For Dogs- Whats The Difference?
When it comes to watermelon versus other types of melons here’s what you need to know.
Honeydew Melon For Pups
Another type of melon that’s a delicious, refreshing treat for dogs is honeydew melon. A honeydew melon contains a lot of nutrients and vitamins that are healthy for dogs, and it is safe to give them as an occasional treat.
An important point to consider is that a dog’s digestive system can’t process fruit in the same way the human digestive system can. Dogs should only be given honeydew in small amounts. The fruit can be cut up into appropriate portion sizes and frozen until your dog is ready for a cool treat on a hot, summer day.
Honeydew, also known as casaba, provides dogs with a lot of healthy benefits. The melon is naturally low in calories, with approximately 60 calories per cup. Honeydew doesn’t contain any fat and is cholesterol-free. Honeydew has a water composition of 90 percent, so it’s an ideal treat to give dogs on hot summer days to help keep them hydrated. Another benefit of honeydew for dogs is that it has a high fiber content. It only takes a small amount of the melon for a dog to feel full.
The most crucial point to remember when feeding your dog honeydew or any kind of melon is never to allow dogs to eat melon seeds. Besides the severe intestinal blockages that can be caused by the consumption of melon seeds, the seeds contain cyanide, which is a deadly form of poison. As a treat, Honeydew should make up no more than 10 percent of a dog’s daily diet. If your dog or puppy eats two cups of food each day, treats should be limited to two ounces.
Cantaloupe Melon For Dogs
Another type of melon that’s a sweet and delicious treat is cantaloupe. Like watermelon and honeydew melon, cantaloupe is safe to give dogs as a treat. Cantaloupe is also known as Persian, rock, or muskmelon.
Cantaloupe is a healthy food for humans and provides several healthy benefits for dogs. Like others types of melons, cantaloupe can keep dogs hydrated when it’s hot outside. Cantaloupe provides dogs with:
- Vitamin A
- B Complex
- Vitamin C
- Beta Carotene
- Folic Acid
- Pantothenic Acid
With any food that’s intended for humans there are certain risks to feeding them to dogs.
Since cantaloupe has a high sugar content, it may not be the most suitable treat for dogs that are pre-disposed to diabetes. If you have any concerns about specific snacks for your dog, you should always consult your veterinarian. Too much cantaloupe could cause:
4. Loss of appetite
5. Loose stools
It would be best if you didn’t feed cantaloupe rind to your dog. In the same way as watermelon rind, the rind from cantaloupe can cause intestinal blockages in dogs. If your dog should accidentally eat some cantaloupe rind, consult your veterinarian and watch for any changes in stools, vomiting, or diarrhea. Dogs should never consume the skin from melons. The skin contains bacteria that could be harmful.
Types Of Watermelon Treats and Recipes
Watermelon even has its own special day. August 3rd is National Watermelon Day. What better time to create delicious watermelon dog treats for your furry friend?
When choosing any veggies or fruits to feed your dog, make sure they aren’t treated with any pesticide or herbicide. Never feed your dog fruits or veggies that contain any artificial colors, sweeteners, or additives. Always remember to remove any seeds, rind, and skin from fruits and veggies before your dog consumes them. Here are some delicious, healthy watermelon treats that your dog will love.
This is a beautiful sorbet for again both humans and their fur buddies. It can last a long time and share throughout the summer months. You can even make a little pupper cone for your dogs to eat up quickly while on the go. My kids can’t get over this treat as well!
- 3 cups of frozen, diced watermelon without rind or seeds
- 1/4 cup of real watermelon juice, plain water, or coconut water. Don’t use anything artificial.
- A squeeze of raw honey
Place the frozen watermelon and honey in the blender and add a small amount of the water or juice. Add more as you blend the mixture. If too much liquid is added all at once, it will be the consistency of a slush and not sorbet. When the mixture is the desired consistency, you can scoop it out and serve it to your dog. You may add other ingredients that are safe for dogs, including bananas, blueberries, and strawberries.
Watermelon “Taffy” Dog Treats
This is one of the easiest treats to make for all family members and is super tasty. I make these at least a few times a year when watermelon is readily available and super sweet. Its easiest to make if you have a dehydrator but I have used the sun on really hot days as well!
- A whole watermelon with all the rind and seeds removed. (It would help if you used a dehydrator for the recipe.)
- Cut the watermelon into long strips and put them on a dehydrator tray.
Dehydrate for several hours until they’re as dry as you want. Keep in mind that Watermelon Taffy isn’t a treat that will keep your dog hydrated on hot days. They taste good to dogs and will be a favorite with your pup.
Yogurt Watermelon Pupsicles
These are so easy to make and look super cute. Our little rat terrier will lick his for days, so I suggest giving your pup these treats outside. You can buy the bone shaped molds on Amazon for under $10. They last a long time and you can reuse them with ease.
- 2 cups seedless, chopped watermelon
- 1 cup of lactose-free, plain yogurt with no artificial ingredients
A blender and ice cube tray are required for this recipe. Puree the watermelon. Add 1 tbsp. of the yogurt to each section of the ice cube tray. Fill the tray with the pureed watermelon and freeze for approximately four hours or until the mixture is solid.
Dog Biscuit-Shaped Watermelon Treats
Frosty Watermelon Dog Treats
- Two cups watermelon with all the seeds and rind removed. The watermelon should be pureed in the blender.
- One cup of coconut milk or water
- Optional: 1 tbsp. honey
After the watermelon is pureed, add the coconut milk and honey, if desired. Blend until mixed well. Fill dog bone-shaped silicone molds or ice cube trays with the mixture. If a silicone bone mold is used, place a piece of cardboard or something to keep the mold in place. Freeze overnight.
When it’s time to remove the watermelon treats from the mold, place on a counter and let thaw for a few minutes. The treats will be easier to remove. The remaining treats can be re-frozen.
Mint Cucumber Watermelon Refresher
This can be made as a freezy drink or can even be frozen into cute dog bone treats. Always remember to be careful not to give them too much frozen beverage or treats at once as they can suffer from brain freeze just as humans do.
- 3 cups of diced watermelon with the seeds and rind removed
- 1 cup of chopped cucumber
- 2 to 3 chopped sprigs of mint
- 1 cup of blueberries
- About 1 cup of water or enough to fill the bowl
Blend or mash 2 cups of the watermelon. Keep 1 cup set aside. Put in a freezer-safe bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients until blended and add enough water to fill the bowl. Freeze until firm or allow your dog to have a small amount as a refreshing drink.
Watermelon Bone Broth Freezies
These have protein and fruit combined to provide a more hearty treat that most dogs just absolutely love. We use the dog bone molds and they come about as the perfect frozen treats.
- 1 cup watermelon juice (About 3 cups of the watermelon flesh needed)
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 1 cup coconut milk or yogurt
Strain watermelon for the juice. Add bone broth. Important Tip: Make sure the bone broth is plain, and it doesn’t contain any other ingredients, especially onion or garlic. Add coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Freeze in molds or ice cube trays.
*Note: Always check your dog has no allergies to coconut first before giving them any of the treats. Coconut is non-toxic to dogs, but it does contain some cholesterol, which may cause some gastrointestinal upset and bloating. A small amount should be ok, but you will want to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog coconut milk.
This is an awesome slushie for both humans and pups. A treat to share equally and perfect on a nice hot day!
- 2 cups watermelon, rind and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp. molasses
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup ice
Blend all the ingredients together and serve small amounts to your dog. Keep the remainder of the slushie refrigerated. The mixture can also be poured into a feeder toy and frozen to make it fun and challenging for your dog.
Misconceptions About Feeding Dogs Watermelon
A lot of misconceptions or myths exist about feeding dogs watermelon and other foods that are produced for human consumption. One of the misconceptions is that all human food is bad for dogs. While some human foods, including raisins and grapes, caffeine products, onions and garlic, mushrooms, and several other foods are toxic and potentially life-threatening to dogs, that isn’t the case with all foods.
The ASPCA has a page on their website with information on foods that are toxic to pets.
A lot of food that humans consume each day is relatively safe for dogs and you can make some delicious homemade dog food recipes that are vet approved with healthy food. However, before you feed any food to your dog, you should always ask your veterinarian if it’s safe. If foods are high in nutrients and prepared in a healthy way, which means steamed and not fired, they can usually be considered to be dog-friendly.
Some foods that we love that are safe for dogs to eat are:
- Peanut Butter – a great source of protein. Never feed the type that contains xylitol.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – With no preservatives or high sugar content.
- Lean beef, chicken, and turkey.
- Green beans and peas – High in potassium, vitamin K and C.
- Sweet potatoes and pumpkin – High in vitamin A and beta carotene. Small amounts of plain, canned pumpkin without any spices or sugar is excellent for digestive upsets. The canned pumpkin should never be pumpkin pie filling.
- Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Dogs love the sweet taste of these fruits, and they’re all healthy snacks for dogs.
Final Thoughts About Watermelon For Dogs
Most of the studies on the benefits of watermelon have been on its benefits for humans. However, occasionally feeding your dog watermelon in moderate amounts is entirely safe. If your dog has any health issues or special dietary needs, it’s always advisable to consult your veterinarian before feeding your dog new foods.
Watermelon is healthy for dogs. It provides a lot of nutrients and can help to keep your dog at a healthy weight. Goodies for your dog made with watermelon require few ingredients and are easy to make. Watermelon treats are perfect when you have backyard barbecues or picnics and want your dog to enjoy a special treat. You can even take some of the treats along on outings to the dog park or the beach.