🍉 Can Dogs Eat Watermelon - Ultimate Guide

The most comprehensive article on the web about watermelon and their effects on dogs

Dog eating watermelon to cool down on a beach

Summary

The short answer is yes, they're pack full of goodness for your dog! The long answer is that it depends on what part of the fruit and variety they consume. There are three main types of watermelons:
  • Seedless
  • Seeded
  • muskmelon

Seedless varieties have no seeds at all; cantaloupes contain one or two small seeds in each melon; Muskmelons can vary from having very few seeds to many hundreds. Watermelon’s natural sugars provide quick energy when needed.

About

Watermelon is a sweet fruit with an average sugar content ranging between 20-40% by weight. It mostly consists of water content, with around 90% making up the weight of the fruit. It’s incredibly nutrient-dense which isn’t matched by the majority of fruits. We’ll dive deeper into the goodness delivered from this fruit below.

Some interesting facts 🤔:

  • The average American eats about 1 pound per year. That’s enough to fill more than half a gallon.
  • A single slice contains only 10 calories. A small cup of milk has 100 calories.
  • One medium-sized piece can provide all the vitamin C needed by one person daily.

Can my dog eat too much?

There are two sizes of pieces commonly cut - 1/2" cubes and slices. Both options work well for your dog 🐶, so choose whichever works best for their chewing style. For example, if your dog likes to chew on bones, then he might prefer the cube over the slice. On the other hand, if your dog prefers softer chews, go with the slice. If you’re not sure about how big a piece of watermelon will be, just cut off a little bit first. You don’t want them eating an entire half-pounder before realizing there’s nothing left inside.

Too much of anything can cause issues, an upset stomach being the most common symptom. However, as part of a balanced diet, this is something that doesn’t cause concern.

How should I store watermelon?

Store whole fruits in plastic bags in the refrigerator up until serving time. When ready to serve, remove the rinds by cutting around the outside edge. Cut into bite sized chunks and enjoy! If cooled first it’s a great way to cool your dog or puppy in hot weather.

Can dogs eat watermelon rind

The answer is yes, but we wouldn’t recommend it, the reason being there have been cases of chunks getting stuck into a dog’s throat, blocking air passage which without quick intervention can lead to death, so please just throw it away. 

picture of dog with watermelon crate
A good boy with his watermelon crate

How do I know if my dog has eaten too much?

Fruits which contain high levels of sugar and can cause diarrhea in some dogs. If your dog eats too much, it may have to be taken to the vet for treatment.

You should watch your dog closely after feeding him or her any food containing fruit. If you notice signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, lethargy, weakness, lack of coordination, seizures, coma, or death, then call your veterinarian immediately.

What are the symptoms of poisoning from eating fruits?

The most common symptom of poisoning by consuming foods with toxic substances is nausea, followed by vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, muscle tremors, convulsions, paralysis, difficulty breathing, collapse, and even death. The time between ingestion and onset of these symptoms varies depending on how many times the poison was ingested. Ingestion of one piece of fruit will usually produce more severe effects than multiple pieces of fruit consumed at once.

Symptoms typically appear within 30 minutes but sometimes take up to 24 hours to develop. Dogs who consume large amounts of poisonous plants often show no outward sign of illness until they become very ill. This is because their bodies absorb poisons slowly over several days.

Serious illness from consuming too much fruit is rare, and would take a large volume alongside existing health conditions, so don’t worry about this too much.

Benefits of watermelon for dogs

Watermelon has been used as an effective remedy for many health conditions in the past. It contains high levels of vitamin C which helps boost your dog’s immune system. Vitamin C also aids in wound healing and tissue repair. The fruit itself provides fiber that will keep your pup feeling full longer so they don’t overeat. In addition, watermelons are rich in potassium which promotes healthy muscle contraction and nerve function. Potassium also plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure. Finally, it is packed with lycopene which can help prevent cancerous tumors from forming.

There have been many studies performed on this delicious fruit, yielding massive benefits for both humans and animals consuming this fruit:

Boosts Immune System ✅ - A study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that the juice had strong antioxidant activity against free radicals. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by oxygen-based toxins. Free radical formation occurs when there are not enough antioxidants present to neutralize harmful molecules known as reactive oxygen species. These ROS include superoxide ions, hydroxyl radicals, hydrogen peroxides, singlet oxygen, and hypochlorite. Reactive oxygen species attack DNA, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other cellular components causing cell injury and disease. By increasing the body’s natural defenses through the consumption of watermelon, they can reduce the risks of developing diseases associated with oxidative stress.

Promotes Wound Healing ✅ -  Collagen is a protein responsible for keeping skin firm and elastic. Fibroblasts are connective tissues that form scar tissue during wounds. Scarring prevents damaged areas from becoming infected and speeds recovery. When applied topically, watermelon extracts promote faster healing of cuts, scrapes, burns, abrasions, ulcers, and surgical incisions.

Lowers Blood Pressure ✅ - Lycopenic acid contained in the seeds lowers blood 🩸 pressure by relaxing smooth muscles throughout the cardiovascular system. Studies suggest that this compound works similarly to nitroglycerin, a drug commonly prescribed to lower blood pressure. Nitrates relax arteries allowing increased flow of blood into smaller vessels where nutrients and waste products are exchanged. As a result, less work must be done by the heart and lungs to pump blood around the body.

Prevents Cancer Tumor Formation ✅ - Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment found in abundance in red fruits such as tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, peaches, cherries, pomegranates, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. Research shows that lycopene may play a protective role in preventing certain types of cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, stomach, pancreas, cervix, ovary, kidney, liver, esophagus, thyroid gland and testicles.

Improves Digestion ✅ - Watermelon rind contains citric acid which breaks down food particles before digestion begins. Citrus juices contain enzymes called amylase and proteases which break down starch and protein respectively. Amylase digests starches while proteases digest meaty parts of animal flesh. Both enzymes aid in breaking down indigestible matter like cellulose fibers and fats. Fiber supplements have long been recommended for people suffering from digestive disorders or constipation. However, recent studies indicate that dietary fiber does much more than just bulk up stools. It also helps prevent cancerous tumors from forming in the intestines.

The same goes for protease inhibitors. Proteins help build muscle mass but they also keep us healthy by protecting vital organs from infection. In addition, protease inhibitors inhibit growth of bacteria and viruses.

Reduces Cholesterol Levels ✅ - High cholesterol levels increase your chances of getting coronary artery disease. CAD causes plaque buildup on arterial walls leading to blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the heart. This results in chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, fainting, stroke, congestive heart failure, and death.

Eating foods rich in vitamin C reduces LDL cholesterol levels and raises HDL cholesterol levels. Vitamin C has an additional benefit: it decreases triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are another type of fat circulating in the bloodstream. They’re often elevated in individuals who suffer from high cholesterol.

Treats Diarrhea & Constipation ✅ - Watermelons are loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, niacin, vitamins B5, B12, E, K, and C. Potassium plays a key role in maintaining fluid balance within the body.

Lycopene is one of several compounds known to fight cancers. Lycopene appears to work by protecting cells from damaging substances called reactive oxygen species. This antioxidant effect means lycopenes may play a protective role in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, some types of arthritis and certain kinds of cancer.

picture of dog with slice of melon
Yes, it’s really good for me!

Vitamins

Magnesium aids in the proper functioning of nerves, bones, teeth, muscles, and glands. Magnesium also helps with energy production. 

Zinc strengthens immune system defenses against infections, other benefits of zinc include wound healing, tissue repair, cell division, and DNA synthesis. Zinc deficiency can lead to diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, skin problems, poor memory, impaired vision, depression, impotence, infertility, and increased susceptibility to colds and flu. Iron is essential for oxygen transport throughout the body. A lack of this mineral leads to fatigue, weakness, pale complexion, brittle hair, slow mental development, and low resistance to illness.

Vitamin B12 helps the body make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of your body. It also supports nerve function, normal brain activity, and metabolism. Riboflavin promotes good health by helping convert carbohydrates into usable forms of fuel. Thiamine, along with its coenzyme form, pyrophosphates, acts as a catalyst in many metabolic processes. Niacin improves circulation and increases the rate at which nutrients move through the circulatory system.

Vitamin C lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, it also protects against free radical damage caused by oxidation. 

Manganese supports metabolism, it also assists in bone formation and maintenance.

Vitamins B5 support nervous system functions, including the ability to think clearly and concentrate. Pantothenic Acid is needed for the conversion of glucose to glycogen, which stores carbohydrate reserves in the liver. Folate is important for making new cells and repairing damaged ones. Biotin is necessary for converting amino acids into proteins.

Vitamin B6 plays an integral role in protein digestion, fat absorption, and maintaining healthy mucous membranes.

Vitamin E fights off harmful effects of aging, reduces inflammation, prevents cancerous tumors from forming, and keeps arteries healthy.

Vitamin K regulates clotting factors, maintains calcium balance, and plays an integral role in bone growth. Vitamin D3 has been shown to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Luteolin-7-glucoside is a flavonoid compound present in high concentrations in watermelons. Luteolin-7-glycosides have anti-inflammatory properties and inhibit tumorigenesis. They also protect against oxidative stress induced by radiation therapy.

Fiber

Watermelon seeds are packed full of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber absorbs moisture and swells when mixed with liquids such as milk, juice, soup, etc., increasing stool bulk without adding calories or changing flavor. Fiber may help lower cholesterol levels, reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, and prevent constipation.

Soluble fiber binds bile salts that would otherwise be reabsorbed after they pass through the small intestine. The result is less absorption of dietary fats and cholesterol. In addition, soluble fibers bind toxins like pesticides and herbicides found in food and drink. These chemicals cannot enter the digestive tract where they could cause harm.

Is watermelon juice healthy?

Yes it is, there’s been a number of positive things associated with the juce such as:

  • Improves Digestion – When you consume the juice, it will improve digestion because it contains enzymes that break down protein, starch, and sugar. Enzymes aid in breaking down these substances so that our bodies can absorb them more easily.
  • Promotes Weight Loss – According to studies conducted by researchers at the University of Florida, people who drank two glasses of the juice every day lost about 2 lbs per week.
  • Boosts Energy Level – Another reason why the juice should be part of your diet plan is that it boosts your energy level. Studies have shown that consuming one glass of watermelon juice before bedtime gives us enough energy to get up early the next morning.

We would recommend giving your dog 🐕 the fruit instead since the juice can be quite sugar-rich which may cause stomach upset.

picture of dog eating some fresh water melon
She’s chowing down

Feeding your dog 

You will need:

  • Half a cup fresh or frozen
  • A bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients

Directions:

Place half of the melon chunks into the bowl. Add some ice cubes if necessary to keep them cool. Mix well until they have broken down slightly. Repeat this process with the other half of the melon. You may want to add more ice cubes after mixing the first time. Serve immediately!

Alternative to watermelon

It’s juicy 🍉, sweet and delicious! But what if your dog doesn’t like it? Is there anything you can do to make him or her enjoy this tasty treat?

The answer: Yes! You can give them some of their own special treats made with real fruits instead of dry kibble. And they will love them just as much as any other kind of food.

What are these special treats called? They’re called fruit chews. There are many different kinds available on the market today. Some have added vitamins and minerals while others don’t contain any ingredients at all. The best thing about these treats for dogs is that they taste great and they won’t cause digestive problems.

You can also give him some fresh cucumber 🥒 as another healthy treat. It has similar benefits to watermelon but without any added sugar. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly before feeding it to your pet.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Can your dog eat watermelon? Yep, it’s a healthy treat choice, especially when combined with other nutritious foods. However, we suggest using only small amounts of watermelon each day. Too much could lead to gastrointestinal issues. It’s also fantastic on a hot day and will not only provide a ton of nutrition but help keep your pup cool and hydrated 💧. So try giving your dog some and see if they like it 🙋‍♀️!

Amanda Brennan
Amanda Brennan

Animal enthusiasts, she works closely with animals that require rehabilitation across the US and writes for several pet websites. Her other interests are photography 📸 and training to run a marathon 🏃‍♀️.

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