Person holding watermelon slide in front of dog

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

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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 won’t cause any harm to our pets. Read on to learn about sharing your watermelon with your dog.

Curious about whether your dog can eat other common human foods? Learn what foods are safe for dogs (and which foods aren’t so safe) in our Vet’s List of Human Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Safely?

Dog eating watermelon

Yes. 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 secure trash can so your dog isn’t tempted to help himself to the leftovers.

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.

Article Sources

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  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, she 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.