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With summer in full swing and everyone enjoying the long days, you may wonder if your dog can snack on any of the summer fruits available. For example, can your dog eat watermelon? Lots of human foods could be dangerous for dogs — but some “people food” can be good for your pup’s health and make for a fun snack on a hot summer day6.
Keep reading as we explore whether dogs can eat watermelon, possible health benefits of watermelon, and helpful pet safety tips you can consider to help keep your dog happy and healthy while enjoying a delicious summer treat.
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat watermelon. Natural watermelon is packed with nutrients that both you and your canine companion can enjoy. However, before you feed your pup watermelon, you need to review how to best serve it to him or her since certain parts of the melon can cause your dog to become ill.
Watermelon contains numerous vitamins and nutrients that are essential for your dog’s health. This melon, containing a high percentage of water, makes it incredibly refreshing on a hot day.
Like many fruits and vegetables, watermelon is rich in antioxidants, which help fight the natural chemical process we associate with cell damage and physical aging. While your dog likely doesn’t worry about the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles, antioxidants repair cell damage caused by day-to-day environmental stress7.
Watermelon has been touted as a guilt-free, nutritional superfood with no fat and no cholesterol. We did some digging into this melon, and found some of the nutritional benefits it can provide your pooch:
As healthy as watermelon is for your dog, some parts of the fruit are best to avoid altogether.
You should not let your dog consume the watermelon seeds. Since the seeds are small and dense, they can get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract, creating a blockage in the intestines. Keep in mind, the smaller the dog, the larger the seeds are relative to the dog’s digestive system. Therefore, the risk is even greater for smaller dogs.
It is best to cut up fresh watermelon into bite-sized chunks and remove all seeds before sharing the fruit with your dog.
You may have noticed smaller, white-colored seeds in seedless watermelon. While these are often mistaken for seeds, they are coats where the seeds did fully mature14. The seed coats are not developed enough, and there are not enough of them to cause significant problems for your dog’s digestive tract. However, it is a good idea to remove as many as you can before feeding the fruit to your dog.
If your dog does enjoy snacking on watermelon, seedless is the best option.
The rind is another part of the melon you want to avoid feeding to your dog. It is too tough for your pup’s digestive system to break down. Like the seeds, the rind can potentially cause a blockage or gastrointestinal upset. Additionally, your dog could damage his or her teeth and gums by chewing on the hard rind.
The key to any balanced diet is moderation. Think of watermelon as you would any dog treat. It is something to be given as a special treat, not a regular or frequent part of your dog’s diet.
Eating too much watermelon can cause your dog to have diarrhea or other symptoms of stomach upset. It is best to stick with one to two one-inch thick pieces for small dogs and two to three one-inch thick pieces for bigger dogs15.
Do not feed your dog any watermelon with artificial sweeteners or watermelon-flavored snacks – stick to fresh watermelon. Always be sure to remove the rind and all seeds before cutting the fruit into one inch cubes.
You can freeze cubes for an extra refreshing snack on a hot day as or you can try one of the many other safe and creative ways to serve watermelon to your dog16.
Before feeding your dog any type of food, consider setting up an appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet will provide the best options and guidance on what food is safe for your dog to consume.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.
2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.