To share or not to share?

By Melissa Locker
April 03, 2020
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Jaromir Chalabala/EyeEm/Getty Images

When summer rolls through the South it’s time for picnics, late nights rocking on the porch, icy cold glasses of sweet tea, and watermelon straight off the vine. Naturally your dog will be sitting there for most of that, wagging its tail (if it has a tail, looking at you, Corgis) and angling for just a taste of whatever you happen to be eating. While bits of cold chicken or an accidentally dropped carrot stick are fine for most pups, what about watermelon? Can your dog have a bite of the fruit?

Before we answer that question, a point of clarification: No, this article was not written by a dog. It’s always wise to be suspicious, though, particularly if you see articles titled, “Why your dog should have the entire pillow”, “The benefits of never giving your dog a bath”, or “Why you should give your dog your steak”.

First and foremost, it is always important to talk to your vet before giving your dog anything you might be wondering about. When it comes to digestion and food, our pets have very different needs and dietary restrictions. You and your vet know your dog best and should make the best decision for your dog's health and well-being. Now that that is out of the way, watermelon is safe for dogs (can even be hydrating for the pup), so long as a few precautions are taken. Specifically, remove the rind and seeds before cutting your pooch a slice. And keep it small. Otherwise, watermelon can be both tasty and nutritious, packed with potassium and iron, as well as vitamins A and C, according to Watermelon.org. It is also high in fiber (aids with digestion) and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting phytonutrient.

WATCH: How to Make Sure Your Older Dog Is Getting the Proper Nutrition

Want to give your dog a real summertime treat? Freeze the watermelon before sharing with your dog. It’s like a healthy popsicle that offers a good dose of nutrition and hydration in a tasty snack.

That said, like most of us, according to Dogtime, dogs who eat too much watermelon may get an upset tummy and no one wants that. Before you dole out a giant slice for your dog, give the pup a small serving of the new food to see how they react. You can always ask your veterinarian or nutritionist about the appropriate amount for your individual dog.

Assuming all goes well once you’ve tested your pet’s reaction to the new food, feel free to give your pooch a nice cool slice. That way they can enjoy it right along with you while ogling your steak and plotting how to get a spot on your bed.