Puppy eating a wedge of watermelon

Have you ever wondered if it is safe to give your dog a small bite of watermelon? It is often tempting to want to offer your dog a little piece of what you are eating, but it is important to first ensure that the food you would like to feed is safe for your pup. Some fruits such as grapes, raisins, or grapefruit can be extremely harmful to your dog. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about feeding your dog watermelon.

Will watermelon hurt a dog?

Most healthy dogs can safely eat a small piece of watermelon as a treat. It is important to only feed seedless watermelon and never give your dog watermelon rind. The seeds and rind of the watermelon are not digestible and can cause your pet to develop an upset stomach or an intestinal obstruction if ingested in large quantities. If your dog is diabetic, on a special diet, or has another underlying medical condition, I would recommend speaking with your veterinarian before feeding your dog watermelon.

Can watermelon give a dog diarrhea?

Any new food or treat has the potential to give your dog diarrhea or an upset stomach. Watermelon, in particular, may give your dog diarrhea if you feed too much of it. You might consider starting with a very small piece of watermelon to see how your dog handles it. If they have not developed diarrhea over the next 24 hours, it is probably safe to feed 3 or 4 small chunks of watermelon as an occasional treat.

Is watermelon good for dogs?

Dog holding a slice of watermelon

Watermelon is considered a healthy treat for dogs if fed in moderation. Watermelon contains very few calories, and watermelon is 92% water.1 This healthy fruit is packed full of beneficial nutrients and is a great source of vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. In addition, watermelon contains fiber which may be an important nutrient for healthy digestion.2  

While watermelon is generally considered healthy, it does contain a lot of sugar so it should always be fed in moderation. Excess and prolonged sugar consumption is unhealthy for dogs even when it is in the form of healthy fruits.3

How much watermelon can a dog eat?

The amount of watermelon your dog can safely eat depends on the size of your dog. The calories from treats should consist of no more than 10 percent of your dog’s total daily calorie consumption.4 For example, if your dog normally eats 500 calories a day, they should not receive more than 50 calories of treats in a day.

One cup of watermelon contains around 50 calories.5 For small dogs, I would give no more than 2 or 3 small 1-inch chunks of watermelon. For larger dogs, you could probably give 7 or 8 small 1-inch chunks of watermelon. Too much watermelon may cause your pet to get an upset stomach so it is a good idea to only give watermelon as a treat in moderation.

Can dogs eat watermelon daily?

If you are thinking about feeding your pet watermelon every day, I would recommend speaking with your veterinarian first. Because watermelon is high in sugar, I personally do not recommend feeding watermelon to your dog every day. Feeding treats that are high in sugar every day may lead to weight gain and may increase your dog’s risk of developing medical conditions such as diabetes.

Can puppies eat watermelon?

It is generally safe for most puppies to eat a small piece of watermelon. Cut the watermelon into small chunks removing the rind and any seeds before you give it to your puppy. Watermelon should only be given as an occasional snack. The majority of your puppy’s calories should come from puppy food. While watermelon is considered a healthy low-calorie treat, it is also high in sugar so most of your puppy’s food intake should be from a high-quality dog food for puppies.

Can dogs eat watermelon rind?

It is not safe for dogs to eat the watermelon rind. Because the rind is not digestible, it may cause your dog to develop an intestinal obstruction or blockage.6 In addition, your dog may get an upset stomach including vomiting and diarrhea from ingesting watermelon rind.7 

If your pet has ingested watermelon rind, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Signs of an intestinal obstruction include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or straining to defecate
  • Lethargy
  • Pain in the belly
  • Inappetance

Can dogs eat watermelon seeds?

Watermelon seeds are also indigestible. Always feed seedless watermelon or remove the seeds before giving your dog the watermelon. If your dog eats watermelon seeds, they could develop an upset stomach. If a dog ingests a large number of watermelon seeds, this has the potential to cause an intestinal blockage which can be life-threatening if left untreated.8

Conclusions

In general, watermelon is safe to feed most dogs. If your dog is diabetic or has any other underlying health conditions, I would speak with your veterinarian before feeding your pet watermelon. Because it is so low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients, watermelon is generally considered a safe and healthy treat for dogs. If you feed your dog watermelon, only feed a few small chunks of the watermelon flesh and always remove the seeds and rind prior to feeding it to your dog.

  1. Szalay J. Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts. Livescience.com. Published May 11, 2017. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  2. Watermelon.org. Watermelon’s Benefits. Watermelon.org. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  3. Williams C. Can Dogs Eat Sugar? Healthypawspetinsurance.com. Published May 21, 2018. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  4. Burke A. How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have? Akc.org. Published January 11, 2018. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  5. USDA SNAP-Ed Connection. Watermelon. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  6. Gibson TWG. Gastrointestinal Obstruction in Small Animals. Merckvetmanual.com. Updated June 2020. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  7. Hunter T, Ward E. Gastroenteritis in Dogs. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed May 2, 2021.
  8. Gibson TWG. Gastrointestinal Obstruction in Small Animals. Merckvetmanual.com. Updated June 2020. Accessed May 2, 2021.
Dr. Addie Reinhard