As a dog owner, have you ever wondered “Can dogs eat cantaloupe?” It’s a good question because it may surprise you to know that some fruits we enjoy can actually be quite harmful to our canine family members. While you may think you’re offering Fido a treat, you could unknowingly be putting his health at risk.
Keep reading to find out if cantaloupe falls on the “Safe” or “Not Safe” list for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe?
Yes, cantaloupe is safe to eat for most dogs. It doesn’t have any elements that are poisonous to them. Yet each dog is different and as a result, may have a different reaction to the fruit. Dogs can have a wide swath of food and environmental allergies, just like humans.
The next time you’re making a fruit salad snack for yourself, make a little bowl for your doggie, too. Dogs’ sense of taste isn’t as developed as ours – their tongues have less than a quarter of the taste buds we possess. However, they’re able to taste salty, bitter, sour, spicy, and sweet.
And quite a few of them like it.
It may come as a surprise to you that several dogs enjoy cantaloupe. Your dog may be one of them. If they start sniffing around your sweet snacks, or just grab it off your plate when you’re not looking, don’t panic! Not only can dogs eat cantaloupe safely, it has health benefits for them, too. We’ll go more into how dogs can enjoy cantaloupe.
Make sure the fruit is thoroughly washed to get rid of any lingering chemicals sprayed on. Also check that it hasn’t gone bad or rotten. To find a ripe melon, you’ll want to select a cantaloupe that’s firm with just a touch of softness, and whose flesh is bright orange and not mushy.
To see if cantaloupe agrees with your dog, feed them a small piece and monitor their response for the next few hours. The smaller your dog, the smaller the piece should be to prevent choking.
Things to Watch For
If your dog eats cantaloupe you offer, watch for negative responses, like vomiting and diarrhea, which aren’t hard to spot. You may want some carpet cleaner nearby just in case.
But also watch out for lethargy and other noticeable behavior changes, e.g. being withdrawn, not eating regular food. These could be signs that your dog is having a bad reaction to the cantaloupe, especially if they’re out of character for your pet.
Since cantaloupe isn’t poisonous, a bad reaction should hopefully equate to no more than a tummy ache for your dog before it passes through their stool. However, if your dog is showing marked behavioral changes for more than a day, and showing other signs of pain, reach out to your vet as it could be a more serious reaction.
The flesh of the cantaloupe is safe to eat, so long as it’s not rotten and mushy. But avoid feeding your dog the rind or the seeds. Cantaloupe rind is hard and not able to be digested by dog stomachs. It could cause GI issues in your pet. Make sure the fruit is peeled before feeding. Also, remove any seeds as they can be a choking hazard for smaller pets.
Health Benefits of Dogs Eating Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is considered a superfood for humans, and those health benefits transfer to our canine friends. The fruit is chock full of fiber, which aids in digestion, as well as vitamins and minerals that can improve your dog’s health, such as:
This vitamin helps with vision, keeping your dog’s eyes sharp for both daytime and nighttime. It fortifies the skin against lesions and sores and improves immune function. Dogs deficient in vitamin A have spotty coats and crusty bumps and lesions across their skin. For puppies, it helps with organ development.
Unlike humans, dogs are capable of generating their own Vitamin C. Cantaloupe can supplement this important nutrient, which keeps dogs healthy against viral infections. Vitamin C has proven to be such a vital defense in dog health that in the1960s, doctors began treating distemper with Vitamin C injections.
Like Vitamin A, zinc keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Additionally, it can strengthen thyroid function and fortify their immune system against threats.
Iron improves oxygen circulation throughout the body, giving dogs more energy. Although, this one could be a double-edged sword for tired dog owners.
Folic Acid is an essential mineral for dogs. It’s only needed in small amounts, but animals that don’t receive it in their diet are prescribed supplements by their vet. Folic Acid keeps processes running smoothly in dogs, from red blood cell production to digestion.
Also known as Vitamin B3, niacin is a crucial mineral that helps maintain dogs’ nervous systems and gastrointestinal tract. Dogs who are deficient in niacin develop black spots on their tongue.
Lastly, cantaloupe is 90% water, one of the most important nutrients of all! Bring some pieces on a walk with your dog to keep them hydrated.
Moderation is Key
Even though cantaloupe is filled to the brim with vitamins and minerals, please moderate your dog’s intake. It shouldn’t replace dog food or become a substantial part of their diet. It’s meant to be a treat doled out here and there. That’s because of one component not yet mentioned in its nutritional composition: sugar.
Cantaloupe is high in natural sugar. Don’t let the natural part fool you. It’s still sugar. It’s kind of like inflammable and flammable meaning the same thing.
Risk of Diabetes
Dogs eating cantaloupe too often could lead to health issues, notedly obesity and diabetes. Certain breeds are more susceptible to diabetes. Cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, labrador retrievers, and pomeranians are some breeds that are at higher risk of getting diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus, or “sugar diabetes,” is the result of a dog’s body not being able to produce insulin and sugar building up in the bloodstream, which causes the deterioration of vital organs. Above-average thirst and urination frequency are clear signs of the disease, which is manageable but incurable.
Have a conversation with your vet to see how/if you should incorporate cantaloupe into your pet’s diet. Small amounts should be fine and can enrich a dog’s diet. They can benefit from the nutrients present in the fruit, but too much over a prolonged period of time can cause lifelong issues in your dog.
Recipes ideas for dogs eating cantaloupe
If your dog eats cantaloupe on its own, that’s great! But you can also experiment with fun recipes that can increase the delight dogs get from eating cantaloupe. Creating fun dog-centric recipes can help encourage them to try the fruit as well as give a kick to snacktime.
Two popular dog food ideas are cantaloupe popsicles and cantaloupe cookies. The best news is that both foods are safe for humans to eat, too, so dig in with your pup!
To make cantaloupe popsicles, combine plain Greek yogurt and cantaloupe pieces in a blender, then freeze in silicone popsicle molds. Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is best for your dog – make sure there are no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Check with your vet to make sure your dog can have dairy.
You can use a popsicle stick or go full-dog with a dog-friendly stick. Give them about 6 hours to freeze. The longer, the better! That way, they’ll be nice and cold for when you most need them.
Cantaloupe popsicles are perfect for hot summer days out and about with your dog. They can be snacks for a hike or a day at the beach. You can also ditch the popsicle concept entirely. Freeze your mixture in a Tupperware container and then scoop it out later as doggie ice cream.
For a baked treat for your dog when it’s colder out, try whipping up a batch of Dog Cantaloupe-Bacon Cookies. (Bacon optional, but I’m sure your dog won’t mind!)
For these treats, you’ll want to puree the cantaloupe, then mix with bacon, mint, and rice flour. Spoon into balls for the baking sheet, and fifteen minutes later, you can have a delicious, somewhat-nutritious snack for your dog. Check with your vet about whether your dog can have bacon, mint, and rice flour.
With both recipes, the same rules apply with feeding your dog regular cantaloupe. Give your pup a small amount to see if they have a negative reaction before proceeding, and then feed in moderation. Just like we can’t wolf down a whole tray of cookies without getting a stomach ache, too many treats will hurt your dog’s tummy.
Final Thoughts on Dogs Eating Cantaloupe
Now that you know the answer to “can dogs eat cantaloupe” is yes, it looks like you and your dog have one more thing to bond over. Lots of dogs love cantaloupe as much as humans, and the sweet fruit is safe for our canine best buddies.
Cantaloupe is packed with vitamins and minerals that can provide innumerable health benefits to your dog, keeping their skin, organs, and immune system intact. It’s a great treat on a hot summer day.
But when giving your pet any human food, feed them a small piece first and monitor their response for any negative reactions. Ultimately, everything in moderation. Cantaloupe is meant to be a sporadic treat. Too much can lead to health issues like obesity and diabetes.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, not all fruit is safe for dogs to eat. To find out more about which fruits your dog can or can’t eat, read our other “Can Dogs Eat” blog posts.