Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Rind? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

watermelon slices

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

We know that dogs love to eat, but we also know that there are quite a few foods that humans enjoy that are toxic to dogs, like chocolate, onions, and grapes. While watermelon is on the safe food list for our canine friends, what about the rind? Can dogs eat watermelon rind?

Although watermelon rind isn’t toxic for dogs, it can cause other problems. Since it’s tough, the rind could become lodged in your dog’s digestive tract, cause a tummy upset, or be a choking hazard. Let’s take a closer look.


Watermelon Rinds Are Non-Toxic

If your dog has scarfed down a watermelon rind, the good news is that it isn’t toxic. The bad news is that it can be a choking hazard, cause an intestinal blockage, or a source of gastrointestinal upset.

Most of the time, if your dog gets a small piece of rind, it will likely pass right through. However, even though it is non-toxic, you should always treat it as a problem until you know for sure it’s not.

many watermelon rind flesh was eaten out
Image Credit: SB Freelancer, Shutterstock


Risks of Watermelon Rinds

When you slice into a watermelon, you will likely notice that the skin is tough! Because it is so tough and crunchy, it can be a really attractive snack for your dog to chew on.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for them. You might know that materials like rawhide and poorly made toys can be harmful to your dog because small bits can break off and lodge in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. The same can be said for the watermelon rind.

Choking Hazard

If your dog is gnawing on a watermelon rind, a piece could become stuck in their larynx, causing their airway to be obstructed. If this happens, it is a life-threatening and time-sensitive emergency.

Never try to shove your fingers down your dog’s throat since you can push the piece further or tear the esophagus. Even though it might seem like a dire situation in which you need to take immediate action, it should be handled by a medical professional.

If you can easily fish the piece out of your dog’s throat without pushing it further back, you can remove the object yourself. However, if you are uncomfortable performing such an act, take your dog to the vet’s office.

man pulls object out of labrador dog's mouth
Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

Intestinal Blockage

If dogs swallow the watermelon rind, that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Part of the rind can get stuck in the intestines, which almost always requires immediate emergency surgery. This can be very costly and has risks of complications.

Signs of a intestinal obstruction include:
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Restlessness
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration

To verify that your dog has a bowel obstruction, your veterinarian may need to get X-rays and other imaging tests. Once they can check out the images to validate the severity, they can move forward with a plan to eliminate the issue.

Upset Stomach

If your dog eats a watermelon rind, it might not cause any severe problems like choking or intestinal blockages, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset. The rind of watermelon is bitter and hard to digest.

While it may pass in a few hours, the signs of an upset stomach include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

Be mindful of how much diarrhea your dog is having. If it’s an excessive amount, it can quickly lead to dehydration, which can harm other organs.


When In Doubt, See Your Vet

If you think there is cause for concern after your dog ate a watermelon rind, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. They can advise you on what to be looking out for, what you might need to do at home, and whether you need to bring your dog in to be examined.

Can Dogs Eat Watermelon Flesh?

While rinds are problematic, dogs can eat the watermelon flesh inside. There is no need to remove the seeds, and most dogs will love the taste, particularly on a warm summer’s day.

Labrador retriever dog eats with an appetite watermelon from hands
Image By: invisible invisible, Shutterstock

Is Watermelon Healthy for Dogs?

Watermelon can be a very healthy snack for adult dogs with no known health issues. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and is virtually fat-free! It is also much lower in sugar than many other fruits. Even so, if your dog is diabetic or has any other health conditions, you should always speak to your vet before serving watermelon.

Another factor to be aware of is the diuretic effect of watermelons. Along with being over 90% water, they have a natural diuretic effect, which means that they can make your dog pee more! This isn’t much of a health concern, as they are topping up their moisture levels at the same time, but it is something to be aware of.


Final Thoughts

Now you know that dogs can safely have watermelon, but not the rind. If your dog eats a watermelon rind, contact your vet to decide on the best course of action. Depending on the size of your dog and how much of the rind they ate, you may need to keep a close eye on them over the next 24 hours. If a large amount of rind is involved, they may recommend bringing your dog in to be checked.

In most cases, the rind can cause some gastrointestinal issues with no additional side effects, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Featured Image Credit: Any Lane, Pexels

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database