Person holding watermelon slide in front of dog

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? Yes, But…

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When you’re enjoying a slice of watermelon and your dog is pleading for a bite, you might find yourself wondering, “Can dogs eat watermelon?” There are so many different foods out there, and it is quite common to wonder if you can share a meal with your dog. There are many reasons we may want to offer “people food” to our dogs. Sometimes we are enticing them to eat, and other times we are just wanting to share our food because we know our dogs love it. And there are certainly some pups that just sneak a bite off our plate, and we have to determine if what they ate is safe for them.

Remember, dogs and people can eat lots of the same things, but not always. It is important to make sure we are sharing foods that dogs can eat that won’t cause any harm to our pets. Read on to learn about sharing your watermelon with your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Safely?

Dog eating watermelon

Yes (but not the seeds or rind)

Watermelon is generally fine to feed your dog! Watermelon is actually good for dogs for some of the same reasons it is good for us. It tastes good and has high water content. In fact, watermelon is made up of approximately 92% water!1

Watermelon is also rich in antioxidants. According to Watermelon.org, watermelon has the highest concentration of lycopene, a wonderful antioxidant, than any other fruit or veggie.2 Lycopene may help decrease risks of inflammatory disease, including cancers.34 Watermelon also has a high concentration of Vitamin C, A, B6, and potassium.5

On a hot summer day, this is a great treat to share with your furry friend! Lots of dogs enjoy a bit of watermelon.

Safety Concerns and Risks Associated with Watermelon

While the watermelon fruit is totally safe for your dog, there are a few precautions we must take when feeding it.

First, avoid giving your dog the watermelon rind. You can either cut the rind away or hold onto it. If your dog eats the rind that can cause intestinal irritation, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.6 Or worse, the rind could get stuck in the intestinal tract, leading to a blockage.7 An intestinal blockage can require emergency surgical treatment.

Secondly, it is better to opt for seedless watermelon. If your dog eats too many watermelon seeds this can also lead to intestinal irritation and possible blockage in some dogs.

Finally, dogs with certain health conditions may need to avoid watermelon. If your dog has food allergies, it is best to avoid feeding people food until you have accurately determined which foods trigger his allergies. Watermelon is not likely an allergy trigger, but it is best to be safe. Also, use caution when feeding treats, including watermelon, to dogs with underlying intestinal disease and pancreatitis. These diseases can make your dog much more sensitive to foods.8

How Much Watermelon Can I Feed to my Dog?

Watermelon slices

Watermelon is safe for your pup, but as with any treat we should give it in moderation. Too much watermelon can definitely cause GI upset, even vomiting, and diarrhea.9

To avoid complications with giving this treat, I would suggest paying attention to how many calories your dog needs. According to Preventive Vet, treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s daily calories.10 There are about 46 calories in 1 cup of watermelon.11

Therefore, ideally, you can calculate how many calories your dog needs and then limit the treats accordingly.12 For example, a 22-pound adult neutered dog needs about 650 calories/day. You would limit to about 65 treat calories per day for this dog, which is about a cup and half of watermelon.

How to Prep Watermelon for Your Dog

Watermelon is a delicious fruit that can be used in many recipes. When preparing watermelon for your pup, the best way is to keep it simple and feed them plain watermelon.

I recommend slicing the watermelon as usual. Ideally, choose a seedless watermelon so you don’t have to worry about removing all the seeds for your dog.

Then, it’s probably best to remove the rind and slice the watermelon into pieces that your dog can chew on. Don’t make the pieces too small; we don’t want a choking hazard. Make sure you measure out your pup’s portion so you don’t give your dog too much. Remember, moderation is key!

It is also possible to hold the rind and let your dog eat the fruit, rather than slice it for them. But, pay close attention if you feed your pup watermelon this way. Don’t let your dog eat any of the watermelon rinds, as you know that can be a health hazard. If your dog sometimes gets into the trash, you might want to consider disposing of the rinds in a dog proof trash can so your dog isn’t tempted to help himself to the leftovers.

Tips from Our Vets

The following is a list of tips on how to think about what human foods are (and may not be) safe for your dog from Dr. Jennifer Coates’ article on Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.

If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.

While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:

  • Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
  • Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
  • Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat

Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:

  • Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
  • When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
  • Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t

Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.

If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:

  • The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
  • If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
  • Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.

Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? ASPCA.org. November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]

Final Thoughts

Now you know it’s safe to feed your dog watermelon. Always monitor your dog closely. If you notice any decrease in appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, stop offering people food immediately and check in with your veterinarian. Just like people, some foods may be safe but still not agree with your individual dog’s tummy.

If you’re looking for more information about which human foods are (and aren’t) safe for your dog to eat, check out our series of guides below:

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus? Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe? Can Dogs Eat Kiwi? Can Dogs Eat Pineapple? Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Can Dogs Eat Avocados? Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower? Can Dogs Eat Lettuce? Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Can Dogs Eat Beans? Can Dogs Eat Celery? Can Dogs Eat Mangoes? Can Dogs Eat Plums? Can Dogs Eat Turkey?
Can Dogs Eat Beets? Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon? Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows? Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?
Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Coconut? Can Dogs Eat Oatmeal? Can Dogs Eat Pork? Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries? Can Dogs Eat Fish? Can Dogs Eat Olives? Can Dogs Eat Radishes? Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries? Can Dogs Eat Green Beans? Can Dogs Eat Peaches? Can Dogs Eat Raspberries? Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?
Can Dogs Eat Broccoli? Can Dogs Eat Ham? Can Dogs Eat Pecans? Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken? Can Dogs Eat Hot Cheetos?
Can Dogs Eat Brussel Sprouts? Can Dogs Eat Honey? Can Dogs Eat Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
Can Dogs Eat Cabbage? Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? Can Dogs Eat Peppers? Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?

You’re asking questions about what’s safe for your dog to eat, so I’m sure you’re interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s overall health. We have a ton of resources on that very topic.

One is a guide which lays out dog fiber requirements or our guide to choosing the best high fiber low fat dog foods. If you’re worried about dealing with a dog stomach ache we have a guide for that as well, and we can even answer the question of how long does it take for a dog to digest food. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best automatic auto dog feeder. We even have a list that answers what foods can dogs not eat?.

We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our “how big will my puppy get” calculator can let you know how big your dog is likely to be, and our guide on dog weight can help you determine if your dog is the ideal weight, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts to help you answer questions such as how much do goldendoodles weigh?, how much do great danes weigh?, how much do golden retrievers weigh?, how much do chihuahuas weigh?, or how much do labradors weigh?.

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Szalay J. Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts. Livescience.com. Published May 11, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  2. Watermelon.org. Watermelon’s Benefits. Watermelon.org. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  3. Omoni AO, Aluko RE. The anti-carcinogenic and anti-atherogenic effects of lycopene: a reviewTrends Food Sci Technol2005;16:344–350. doi:doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2005.02.002
  4. Naz A, Butt MS, Sultan MT, Qayyum MM, Niaz RS. Watermelon lycopene and allied health claimsEXCLI J. 2014;13:650-660. Published June 3, 2014. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  5. Szalay J. Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts. Livescience.com. Published May 11, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  6. Hunter T, Ward E. Gastroenteritis in Dogs. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  7. Gibson TWG. Gastrointestinal Obstruction in Small Animals. Merckvetmanual.com. Updated June 2020. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  8. American Kennel Club. Pancreatitis in Dogs – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment. Akc.org. Published February 22, 2021. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  9. Hunter T, Ward E. Gastritis in Dogs. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  10. Rigley C. How Many Treats You Can Give Your Dog During Training. Preventivevet.com. Published April 11, 2018. Updated March 8, 2021. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  11. USDA SNAP-Ed Connection. Watermelon. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  12. The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. Basic Calorie Calculator. Vet.osu.edu. Accessed April 19, 2021.
Dr. Melody Aitchison-Steed
Dr. Melody Aitchison-Steed graduated with her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California at Davis in 2005. Following graduation, she completed a 1-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and emergency care. After completing her internship, Dr. Aitchison-Steed has practiced small animal general medicine in Southern California. When she’s not practicing medicine, Dr. Aitchison-Steed is usually with her family (a husband and two sweet daughters, two dogs, and a cat!) enjoying the outdoors by hiking and camping, reading, or attending the kids’ sports events.