Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Written by: Alicia Boemi, Dogly Wellness Advocate & Canine Nutritionist
Watermelon is a favorite summer treat for us humans and that might have you asking if you can share some watermelon as a dog treat with your pooch. The short answer is yes, you and your dog can enjoy watermelon together as a healthy snack. Watermelon contains key beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that are important for dogs and humans alike. Especially on a hot day, sharing some watermelon with your dog is a great idea. We’ll walk you through how to feed watermelon to your dog safely so your dog gains all the health benefits of this healthy snack!
Is Watermelon Safe for Dogs?
While it’s generally safe to feed your dog watermelon, there are a few things to be aware of to ensure your dog is getting all the health benefits of watermelon with no issues. You’ll want to make sure to avoid feeding the watermelon rind to your dog. While non-toxic, the watermelon rind is very hard and thick and can’t be easily broken down in your dog’s digestive system. This means that if a dog were to eat a watermelon rind, it can cause an intestinal blockage in your dog’s digestive tract which is life-threatening. Focus on feeding the pretty pink fruit by using a melon ball spoon or cutting the watermelon up into bite-sized pieces for easy feeding.
You’ll also want to make sure to remove the watermelon seeds before feeding it to your dog. You can feed seedless watermelon but make sure that your dog doesn’t eat excess white seeds either that can often be lurking in seedless watermelon. The American Kennel Club reports that dogs can get an intestinal blockage from too many black watermelon seeds.
The white seeds are the coatings of immature seeds that haven't developed. Dogs cannot digest watermelon seeds whether white or black so you’ll want to play it safe to avoid any tummy troubles and remove the black seeds and as many white seeds as you can.
Dog owners should also make sure to feed their dog an appropriate amount of watermelon based on the dog’s size. So if you have a small dog, don’t feed them an entire slice of watermelon or your dog is likely to wind up with a tummy ache.
What are the Health Benefits of Watermelon?
Watermelon is roughly 92 percent water, 7.5 percent carbohydrates, and very low in calories. It’s a healthy human food snack that is also good for dogs. Since watermelon is made up of so much water, it’s great for hydration and has the potential to help alleviate muscle soreness as well. l-Citrulline is an amino acid found in watermelon that has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness in human athletes. While there are no official canine studies on l-Citrulline reducing muscle soreness for athletic dogs, it can’t hurt to be aware that this might be a positive side effect of feeding your dog a healthy snack of watermelon from time to time.
There are many additional vitamins and antioxidants worth discussing when it comes to watermelon. Those include Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, and phenolic antioxidants such as lycopene that can give the immune system a boost. Below is an overview of these vitamins and the benefits your dog can receive from them!
Vitamin A: The Vitamin A present in watermelon comes from its precursor, beta carotene. Beta carotene converts to Vitamin A in the body although it’s worth mentioning that dogs cannot convert all of the beta carotene from plant foods into Vitamin A, only some. This is not a bad thing, though, as what is not converted to Vitamin A stays in the body as beta carotene which gives a boost of antioxidants and bolsters the immune system. Beta carotene has significant antioxidant properties that can aid in protecting a dog’s body from free radical damage.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 plays a role in your dog’s carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism. It’s a vitamin that is spread throughout your dog’s tissues to maintain overall cell response and even plays a role in brain function. Your dog will get a nice little boost of Vitamin B6 when eating watermelon.
Vitamin C: Watermelon contains a high amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is not technically a dietary requirement for dogs but it can be extremely beneficial for their overall health and very helpful for dogs with certain health conditions. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that also plays a role in protecting your dog from free radical damage. Vitamin C has also been demonstrated to inhibit the spread of carcinogens in a dog’s body while aiding in controlling adrenal gland function. These are just a few of the benefits of Vitamin C for dogs - there are so many more health benefits which is why a healthy treat of watermelon can be great for your dog!
Lycopene: Lycopene is one of the greatest benefits of watermelon for dogs. This phytonutrient is part of the phenolic antioxidant group and works to prevent cellular damage throughout the body. Lycopene has been found to be very beneficial to canines with cancer and even cardiovascular diseases. Watermelon contains an abundant amount of lycopene. Not only is this a beneficial treat for a healthy dog but also for dogs with certain health conditions.
Feeding Watermelon as a Healthy Treat to Dogs
Any time you introduce your dog to a new food, you want to do so slowly and in small amounts so you don’t upset your dog’s digestive system. You can incorporate watermelon into your dog’s diet by simply adding it to fido’s food for extra health benefits, or by making some fun dog treats for a special occasion. Check out this watermelon dog treat recipe using Native Pet’s very own bone broth as an extra boost to your dog’s digestive system!
Watermelon Beef Bites: