You came here with one question in mind, so let's get to it: Can dogs eat cantaloupe? Yes, if you're looking for a healthy whole food to share with your furry friend, cantaloupe can provide many nutritional benefits. The entire fruit is non-toxic to your dog, but there are some risks associated with your dog eating the cantaloupe rind.
Keep reading to find out how your dog can benefit from this fruit, and learn how to safely feed your dog cantaloupe and what signs to look out for if your dog eats the rind. Then, discover our favorite recipe for feeding cantaloupe to our dogs.
The Nutritional Benefits of Cantaloupe for Dogs
Eating cantaloupe has many health benefits for dogs. This fruit's high water content can help keep your dog hydrated, so it's a great snack to bring on hikes and other adventures. It's also full of dietary fiber, which supports your dog's digestive system and helps keep them regular.
And like other dog-friendly fruits and veggies, cantaloupe is a natural source of many vitamins a dog's body needs. Here's a look at this melon's vitamin and mineral content, including how each nutrient impacts your furry friend.
In small quantities, this powerful antioxidant offers anti-inflammatory benefits, which help your dog's immune system fight off free radicals — the dangerous cells that lead to cancer.
But, vitamin C isn’t an essential nutrient for dogs because their bodies can actually produce it. And according to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, giving your dog vitamin C supplements can lead to your pet getting too much of this nutrient.
The experts at Tufts recommend using fruit and veggie treats instead of supplements to ensure your dog's vitamin C levels stay within a healthy range — which makes cantaloupe a healthy option.
Another antioxidant that contributes to cantaloupe's superfood powers, beta-carotene helps support the immune system. In one study, older dogs who ate a diet rich in beta-carotene experienced significant improvements in their immune response. While we need more studies to verify these results, cantaloupe might be able to offer additional support to older and immunocompromised dogs.
This essential nutrient works hard in your dog's body. It helps with everything from creating blood glucose to regulating hormone levels and supporting the healthy function of red blood cells.
While meat is the best source of vitamin B6, cantaloupe also offers a small amount of the vitamin.
Another essential nutrient that's present in small quantities in cantaloupe, vitamin K helps the blood clot. Without it, your dog wouldn't be able to heal from injuries.
Cantaloupe is a good source of electrolytes, including potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Electrolytes are essential for healthy muscle and nervous system function, and they help to rehydrate your dog's body faster than water alone.
Combine cantaloupe's high water content with its high electrolyte content, and you have a recipe for hydration. Keeping your dog's electrolyte levels (and your own) up during a vigorous workout can also help prevent muscle cramps. So, this fruit is the perfect pre- and post-workout snack to share with your dog.
How Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe Safely?
Now that you're excited to share this healthy snack with your furry friend, use these steps to safely prepare this fruit as a healthy dog treat:
- Remove the rind and seeds: Even though the rind and seeds are non-toxic to dogs, eating large quantities can lead to a choking hazard or an intestinal blockage. Avoid these dangerous situations by always removing the rind and seeds before sharing this fruit with your furry friend. (Learn what to look out for if your dog eats a cantaloupe rind below.)
- Slice it into small pieces: A large slice of cantaloupe can be a choking hazard, especially if your dog gulps their food instead of chewing it. Cut this melon into bite-sized pieces before sharing it with your pet so they can enjoy it in safety.
- Feed it in small quantities: Even though fiber is good for your dog, if they aren't used to high-fiber foods, new fruits and veggies could cause stomach upset. Always introduce new human foods slowly — even the healthy ones — so your dog's body can adjust.
- Support your dog's digestive tract: Whenever you feed your dog a new food, support their GI tract with a pet probiotic to promote healthy digestion. You can also use pumpkin for dogs to help settle an upset stomach and provide easy-to-digest fiber.
- Be mindful of the sugar content: Despite its many health benefits, cantaloupe has a high sugar content (one more reason not to feed it in large amounts). This fruit isn't appropriate for diabetic dogs. It should be fed sparingly to dogs who suffer from obesity and dogs who are at higher risk for developing diabetes.
Follow these steps, and you and your dog should be able to safely share this sweet melon. But, if your dog does get hold of a cantaloupe rind, don't panic. Just watch for the following signs.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Cantaloupe Rind
If you see your dog eating cantaloupe rind, try to get it away from them as quickly as possible — the rind can be a choking hazard. Offer your dog a more tempting treat — like a bite of chicken — to get them to drop the cantaloupe rind.
Aside from the choking hazard, cantaloupe rind itself isn't toxic to dogs. So this usually isn't a veterinary emergency — yet. You don't need to call your veterinarian to have your dog's stomach pumped, but you do need to watch your dog carefully for the next 24 to 72 hours.
Similar to when dogs eat watermelon or honeydew, swallowing large quantities of the rind can lead to constipation and a dangerous situation known as an intestinal blockage or gastrointestinal obstruction. Signs of an intestinal blockage include:
- Excessive panting
- Loss of appetite
- Whining or whimpering, especially when their stomach is touched
An intestinal blockage can be life threatening, so if you notice any of these signs, go to your vet immediately. Your dog may need a barium X-ray, veterinary observation, or even surgery to remove the blockage.
Our Favorite Cantaloupe Recipe for Dogs
If you want to avoid the rind issue completely, try our recipe for canine cantaloupe sorbet. It uses cantaloupe puree, so there's no risk of a choking hazard. This frozen treat is the perfect snack to keep your dog cool in the summertime.
Canine Cantaloupe Sorbet
- Sheet pan
- Food processor or blender
- Large freezer-safe container and lid
- 6 cups of diced cantaloupe
- 1/2 tablespoon Native Pet Bone Broth Powder
- 1/4 cup water
- Place the diced cantaloupe on a sheet pan and freeze overnight.
- Add the frozen cantaloupe, bone broth powder, and water to a food processor or blender, and process until it looks crumbly but not slushy.
- Serve your dog a scoop.
- Place the rest in a freezer-safe container and cover.
- Keep the treat on hand for hot summer days.
So, Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe?
The short answer is yes. Cantaloupe is a healthy treat for our furry friends. Just remember to prep this fruit before feeding it to your best buddy. Remove the rind and seeds, cut it into bite-sized pieces to avoid any choking hazards, and feed small quantities at first so it doesn't upset your pet's stomach.
Anytime you introduce a new food into your dog's diet, consider supporting their digestive tract with a daily probiotic supplement or powdered pumpkin. Visit the Native Pet blog to discover more ways to support your pet's health and wellness.