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Can Dogs Eat Watermelon? Keeping Summer Treats Safe

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Okay, sure – when temperatures start climbing, ice cream sounds amazing. But it has TONS of sugar. So, most of the time, we look for healthy alternatives. And one of the best options out there is watermelon. The juicy bites of red fruit satisfy our sweet tooth without inducing cavities. They also replenish critical water we lose running around in the summer heat. As you chow down, though, you probably notice big puppy eyes peering over the table. Dogs LOVE sharing what we’re having. But before you toss out a bite, you probably hesitate. Can dogs eat watermelon? Not every human food is safe for canines. Not to worry, though. This fruit’s on the approved list – with a few cautions.


Citrullus lanatus is in the Cucurbitaceae family. It hangs out with similar water-filled fruits like cucumber, pumpkin, and squash. (Remember, if the seeds are on the inside, it’s considered a fruit) And it’s one of the better options out there for snacking. One cup of watermelon is only 40 calories – and it contains 92% water. This is why you feel so refreshed after you eat one. You DO get natural sugar (of course), but watermelon packages it in fiber (about 2%, actually). When you insulate sugar in fiber, it releases slowly into the bloodstream, preventing a sudden sugar spike. Which is one of the reasons it’s okay for dogs to eat watermelon.

The other reasons? Watermelon is packed with healthy nutrients:

  • Calcium: 10mg
  • Iron: 35mcg
  • Potassium: 155mg
  • Protein: 1g
  • Vitamins
    • A: 40mcg
    • C: 11.5mg

And when dogs eat watermelon, they also get a healthy dose of lycopene. This is what gives the fruit it’s red color, but it’s also an antioxidant that promotes heart health. What canines DON’T get? Sodium, fat, or cholesterol.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

With so many health benefits, dogs can eat watermelon. It’s one of the better treat options out there when they’ve spent the day chasing the frisbee. They’ll get plenty of hydration, with important vitamins and minerals to replace those lost during their activities. In fact, given the option between a slice of watermelon and a handful of treats, odds are your pup will go straight for the watermelon. And those 10.5g of carbohydrates will provide some extra energy to boot.

However, you still need to take some precautions when dogs eat watermelon. It’s a safe treat – when prepared properly.

Precautions When Dogs Eat Watermelon

Seedless watermelon is the safest option for dogs. YOU don’t eat the seeds yourself, and your dog shouldn’t either. Too many seeds can lead to intestinal blockages – especially in smaller breeds. There’s a CHANCE they’ll pass any seeds they ingest, but it’s not worth taking the risk. It’s better to remove any seeds before allowing dogs to eat watermelon. (Or spring for seedless watermelon)

The rind is also problematic. As you go into the greener part of the melon, it grows TOUGH. Your dog can struggle to chew it. Instead, they may attempt to swallow it whole. The tissue won’t break down completely in the stomach, leading to a major obstruction in the GI tract. Remove the rind first (or take the watermelon away when you see your dog reaching that tough layer).

Signs that your dog may have an obstruction?

  • Vomiting
  • Struggling to pass a bowel movement
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

If your dog ate watermelon with seeds or the rind and then demonstrates these signs, you need to get to the veterinarian right away. They’ll perform radiographs or an ultrasound to confirm an obstruction.

It's best if dogs eat watermelon without seeds

Safe Ways for Dogs to Eat Watermelon

You’ve dealt with the seeds and rind, and now you want to figure out the best ways to allow dogs to eat watermelon. No problem! You can serve it fresh, frozen, or dried. Only use REAL watermelon, though. Artificial watermelon contains other ingredients, extra sugar, and artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol. That’s NOT the kind of watermelon dogs can eat!

Fresh Watermelon

Fresh watermelon? There’s nothing better. You can cut it up into convenient cubes (sized for your dog, obviously). Giant breeds often enjoy receiving halved watermelon. Remember to trim away the rind and get rid of as many seeds as you can. If your dog ingests one or two, it won’t be the end of the world, but seeds from the entire fruit? That’s a problem.

Frozen Watermelon

It’s already a hot day – so why not increase the cooling power? You can make yummy frozen watermelon treats for your dog to snack on. An ordinary ice tray works, or you can use other shapes to make the treat more interesting. Blending 2 cups of watermelon with 1 cup of water will make the perfect summer treat to snack on (and you can enjoy one, too!).

Want to add a little something extra? Fill the ice cube tray halfway with non-fat plain yogurt. Then you can add your blended watermelon on top before freezing. This one’s a little tricky as some dogs are allergic to dairy. You’ll want to monitor your pup carefully and portion these treats out to avoid an upset tummy.

Dried Watermelon

Your dog won’t get the hydration replenishment they would with fresh or frozen watermelon, but you CAN make your own watermelon jerky. A dehydrator works quickest, but you CAN use an oven. Cut watermelon into slices and lay them on a sheet tray. Then set your oven to 135 degrees and leave them for 8 hours. (Yeah, it takes that long – which is why most people spring for a dehydrator)

Sweet Summer

Can dogs eat watermelon? Sure! As long as you pluck out the seeds and trim away the rind. They’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients, plus a bonus of lots of water. And while there’s natural sugar involved, it won’t spike in their bloodstream the way other sugars can. It’s the perfect summer treat – for everyone!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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