Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

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Can dogs eat watermelon? It's a delicious summer treat for us, but is watermelon safe for dogs? If you enjoy this juicy treat but you fear it might not be good for your pooch, your instincts are partially correct. Watermelon can actually be a healthy dog treat — if it's fed to them correctly.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

Jack russell terrier eating watermelon.The fleshy pink centre of a watermelon is loaded with healthy nutrients that are as beneficial for humans as they are for our canine companions.

Watermelon has no cholesterol and almost no sodium or fat. According to the PDSA, it’s a good source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B6. It also high in fibre to support healthy digestion, and its high water content (92%) keeps dogs cool and hydrated too – perfect for a sweet summer treat! Watermelon is high in sugar but doesn't cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar, as its fiber content helps dogs absorb the sugar slowly into their bloodstream.

Is Watermelon Safe for Dogs?

The flesh of a watermelon is safe and nutritious for dogs, but eating too much could give your dog an upset tummy. Watermelon also contains sugar, although the high water content means it shouldn’t cause any unhealthy blood sugar spikes.

It’s best if your dog enjoys watermelon as a small snack or occasional treat!

What about seeds and rind? The Battersea Dogs Home warns that the other parts of the fruit can be dangerous for your pooch. They say that watermelon seeds can’t be properly digested by dogs, which can cause intestinal blockages in our canine friends.

While a seed or two is unlikely to cause health problems for large dogs, it doesn't take many of them to cause a blockage in small dogs.

Not only is this painful for your dog, but it could become serious enough to require surgery. It's also unwise to give your dog the hard, green outer skin of a watermelon, also known as the rind. This can also cause blockages, or give your dog gastrointestinal distress that leads to vomiting or diarrhoea.

How to Feed Your Dog Watermelon (and What to Avoid)

Golden retriever puppy licks watermelon slice being held out on a fork.So how should you share this treat with your canine companion? Here are a few guidelines to follow when feeding watermelon to your dog:

  • Only give your dog seedless watermelon or pieces of watermelon from which you've removed all of the seeds.
  • Scoop out the fruit with a melon baller or cut it into small bites, being careful to remove any part of the rind.
  • Only give your dog real watermelon. Artificially flavoured watermelon treats or sweets might contain other ingredients, added sugars or artificial sweeteners that could harm your pup.

Treats of any kind should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily calorie intake, according to recommendations from The Dogs Trust. Whatever the size of your dog, follow this rule when determining how much watermelon you should feed them, keeping in mind that a 100g serving of watermelon contains about 30 calories. Even though your dog might be looking up at you with those big puppy-dog eyes, remember that they’re perfectly content eating their usual dog food day-in and day-out. So, while you might be tempted to give in and share a treat every now and then, your dog is better off getting their nutrients from their everyday pet food.

Before feeding your dog any human food, make sure to double-check with your vet to make sure it’s okay. While watermelon can be a healthy treat for many dogs, it's best to confirm that it won't negatively affect your dog's unique digestive system

So the next time you're at a picnic, you can happily share a few bites of seedless watermelon with your dog. As long as it's given safely and in moderation, watermelon as a dog treat is hard to beat.

Jean Marie Bauhaus