To me, the epitome of summer is sitting on a beach and biting into a juicy piece of watermelon. Are you with me? This popular seasonal fruit is both delicious and super healthy. It’s low in calories, high in thirst-quenching water, and loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While it’s clear watermelon is great for people, today’s question is: Can dogs eat watermelon?
Short answer: Yes!
Watermelon Nutritional Facts
Watermelon comes from the botanical family Cucurbitaceae and is related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. Like its relatives, it’s loaded with key nutrients. As we dive into the nutritional facts, to keep things simple, let’s take a look at 1 cup of raw watermelon (about 152 grams). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s packed with:
- Water – 92%
- Calories – 46
- Protein – 0.927 g
- Total Fat – 0.228 g
- Carbohydrate – 11.5 g
- Fiber – 0.608 g
- Total Sugars – 9.42 g
- Lycopene – 6890 – µg
- Calcium – 10.6 mg
- Iron – 0.365 mg
- Magnesium – 15.2 mg
- Phosphorus – 16.7 mg
- Potassium – 170 mg
- Sodium – 1.52 mg
- Zinc – 0.152 mg
- Fluoride – 2.28 µg
- Folate – 4.56 µg
- Choline – 6.23 mg
- Carotene, beta – 461 µg
- Vitamin A – 42.6 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.068 mg
- Vitamin C – 12.3 mg
Benefits of Watermelon for Dogs
- Helps Fido Hydrate – Watermelon is a whopping 92% water, making it the perfect thirst-quenching, hydrating treat on a hot summer day.
- Perfect Treat For An Overweight Canine – Watermelon is low in calories and virtually fat-free, making it a great snack option for overweight or obese dogs.
- Supports Strong Immune System – Watermelon is loaded with Vitamin C and other antioxidants that help boost the immune system and fight against free-radicals in the body.
- Great Addition To An Anti-Cancer Diet – Watermelon contains something called lycopene, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family. Along with giving watermelon it’s gorgeous reddish-pink color, researchers have studied lycopene for anti-cancer effects. Experts say it may help prevent or slow down the progression of some types of cancer.
- Heart Health – Along with having anti-cancer benefits, lycopene also reportedly promotes heart health. Plus, the nice amount of potassium and magnesium also offer up heart health benefits.
- May Support Healthy Digestion – Watermelon’s small amount of fiber paired with its high amount of water helps aid digestive health.
- Healthy Skin & Coat – Vitamin A and C, both key nutrients in watermelon, are important for skin and hair/coat health.
When it comes to feeding watermelon to your dog, moderation is key. A few bites every now and then make for a wonderful treat! But, before slicing and tossing a piece to Fido, keep these things in mind:
- Remove the watermelon seeds, as they might cause abdominal blockage when eaten in large amounts.
- Ditch the skin and rind, as these may cause tummy upset.
- Stick with the fleshy part of the watermelon!
You can either cut a small cube of watermelon and offer it to your pooch as is, or grind it up in a blender to create summertime Pupsicles. To create your own, simply fill a silicone mold with either straight pureed watermelon, a combination of pureed watermelon and a little coconut oil, or a combination of pureed watermelon and a little plain greek yogurt. Bump up the flavor by adding 1 finely chopped mint leaf to the mix. Then pop your mold into the freezer until set.
If you have a dehydrator, you can make watermelon jerky by thinly slicing the fruit and popping it into the dehydrator for about 10-11 hours on 160ºF.
Another fun idea: If you have an ice cream maker, you can make a special-occasion, doggy-approved watermelon ice cream! Just mix some plain Greek yogurt with pureed watermelon and then let your ice cream maker work its magic!
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!