Last Updated on June 21, 2023 by Linda Richard
Dogs and fruits often feel like a guessing game – some match, others don’t. For example, are watermelons good for dogs or are there some risks you should know? We often say that watermelons are “just sweet water” similar to how we call cucumbers “mostly water”. And that’s technically true – both are quite watery. In the case of watermelons, they are 92% water. Still, they are clearly not just water.
So, are watermelons good for dogs? Are watermelon seeds bad for dogs? How about the different types of watermelons? Let’s go over these and the other main points below.
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Are Watermelons Good For Dogs?
Watermelons are generally both safe and good for dogs, yes. There’s nothing inherently toxic in the fruit’s flesh, but on the contrary – watermelons are actually quite healthy for dogs just as they are for people. So, if your dog sneaked a mouthful of your watermelon behind your back or if you’re just wondering whether you can give your pooch some treat – don’t worry, everything should be fine.
There are some caveats, however, which we’ll cover below, namely the seeds and the rind. But, first, let’s see exactly why watermelons are not just safe but are outright great for dogs.
What Are The Benefits Of Watermelons For My Dog?
Often, when we say that watermelons are “just water” we mean this derogatorily. However, the high moisture content of this fruit is indeed a great benefit. That’s especially true for dog breeds who often get dehydrated after a long hike and/or on a hot summer day. Any experienced dog owner should know just how important It is to keep your dog well-hydrated and watermelons can be extremely useful for that.
Additionally, watermelons are also highly nutritious. That 8% of a watermelon that isn’t water, is actually chock-full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, most of which are very beneficial to dogs’ health. Here are a few examples:
- Antioxidants – crucial for cell repair and the overall health of your dog’s entire organism.
- Vitamin C – an immune booster for dogs as well as for humans as well as another strong antioxidant.
- Fiber – helps avoid diarrhea, constipation, and intestinal blockages. Great for the overall health of the entire intestinal tract.
- Potassium – Important for heart and kidney health that some breeds often have problems with. Also important for muscle development, bone density, and more.
- Lycopene – the source of the red color of watermelons, lycopene helps with cancer prevention and slows cancer growth.
- Vitamin A – helps with skin and coat health. Also good for your dog’s muscle and nerve health.
- Vitamin B6 – helps regulate numerous bodily functions such as protein creation, fluid balance, brain functions, and more.
Can Puppies Have Watermelon?
They sure can – just remember to give them small bites, remove the seeds, and don’t give too much. If the watermelon has young (bright yellow) seeds, those are generally safe even for pups as they are soft enough to not cause blockages. But still – if there’s too much even of those, remove as many as you can.
Learn more about: Can Dogs Eat Gouda Cheese and Is Cheese Toxic To Them?
What Are The Potential Risks Of Giving Your Dog Watermelon?
Seeds are more or less the only risk watermelons present for canines. And the problem isn’t that they are toxic or anything like that as is often the case with fruit seeds. Instead, watermelon seeds are only dangerous insofar as they can accidentally create intestinal blockage.
This is a serious issue and – should it happen – it can sometimes require a surgical intervention. However, for this issue to arise, your dog will need to eat quite a few watermelon seeds. So, as long as you remove most (say – 90%+) of the watermelon seeds, your dog should have no issues.
Keep in mind that the risk increases for smaller or younger dogs. That’s simply because their intestines are narrower and fewer seeds would be needed to create a blockage. Fortunately, for a smaller dog, you’d also want to cut the watermelon into smaller pieces – this makes it easier to remove even more of the watermelon seeds.
Simply put – don’t let your dog eat directly from the watermelon slice unless it’s a seedless watermelon or you can see that it definitely doesn’t have too many seeds. Otherwise, it’s safer to cut out bite-sized chunks, de-seed them as much as possible, and give those to your dog as treats.
How About The Watermelon’s Rind?
The watermelon rind is also not recommended for the same reason as watermelon seeds – it’s not easily digestible and can cause blockages. Fortunately, stopping your dog from eating rind is much easier.
Is The Sugar In Watermelons A Problem?
Watermelon does have sugar – about 7 grams of it per 100 grams of watermelon to be exact. This is similar to other fruits like cherries (8/100 grams) and we often say that such sugar content is too high for dogs to eat.
And that’s true, generally. At the same time, however, the watermelon’s exceptionally high fiber and water content mean that dogs can process the sugar much more easily. In other words – you can give your dog more watermelon than any other fruit.
Still, you shouldn’t go overboard. Whether it’s more easily processed or not, sugar is still sugar. And, naturally – if your dog has diabetes or is overweight, it’s generally better to avoid all fruits, including watermelon.
How Much Watermelon Can A Dog Eat?
This depends on the dog’s size, age, breed, and overall health, so it’s impossible to give a concrete answer. You should consult with your vet about such things but, in general – a few bites for smaller dogs and about a slice (with no seeds) for larger breeds should be safe.
So, Are Watermelons Good For Dogs?
They absolutely are. There are still a few precautions you’ll need to take but that’s true for anything, including meat. So, everything should be fine as long as:
- You’ve removed most of the seeds
- Your dog isn’t diabetic
- You don’t give your dog too much watermelon
- And you make sure your dog doesn’t eat the rind
Follow these basics precautions and a few pieces of watermelon on a hot day will be a safe, healthy, and enjoyable treat for any dog.