Bulldog looking at a whole rockmelon.

Can Dogs Eat Rockmelon? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 16th January 2024

We love a good slice of refreshing rockmelon when the weather starts warming up… but should your dog partake in the fun? If you’re wondering whether your pup can eat rockmelon, today’s article is for you.


What is Rockmelon?

This sweet fruit has many names: rockmelon, western shippers, or just cantaloupes. All of these refer to the same thing: a muskmelon variety that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.

Related: What Fruit Can Dogs Eat?

Rockmelons are known for their light orange, juicy flesh and their “webbed” skin. You might imagine it as the fruit version of a butternut pumpkin. In human kitchens, most people enjoy rockmelons fresh in salads, desserts, or on their own. But can your pup also eat it? Here’s what research has to say about it.


Can Dogs Have Rockmelon?

Yes. Rockmelon is a safe addition to your dog’s diet, provided you consider it a treat and not the base of their intake.

Due to its high water content, rockmelon can also be a great treat during our hot summer months and could provide a little bit of extra hydration for your pup.


Is Rockmelon Safe For Dogs?

In the last few years, rockmelons have been surrounded by some controversy. In 2018, 22 listeriosis cases were diagnosed across New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, and Victoria, and they were later linked to rockmelons [1]. Listeriosis is a serious bacterial infection, usually passed on through contaminated food – generally raw, uncooked food.  Unfortunately, 7 people died as a consequence of the outbreak.

This might reasonably inspire some questions. Are rockmelons dangerous in general? Is it a safe fruit for dogs? According to the NSW Food Authority, the cause of the listeriosis outbreak was the rockmelons of a single farm, and caused by the heavy rains that increased listeria concentrations [2]. This means that rockmelons won’t automatically cause listeria in dogs (or people), any more than other fresh produce might.

Despite the initial anxiety caused by these outbreaks, rockmelon is a safe fruit for dogs. There are no inherently toxic compounds in rockmelons, provided it is properly washed.

So, if you want to give rockmelon to your pup, go ahead!

PRO TIP: To minimise the risk of infection, always thoroughly wash unpeeled rockmelons before cutting and offering them to your dog. It’s best to cut it up at home since produce tends to go bad faster once open to the elements.


Possible Benefits of Rockmelon For Dogs

It’s one thing to say this fruit is not toxic to your pup, but is rockmelon good for dogs? Most of the research on rockmelons has been done on either mice or humans, so we can’t generalise too much. However, there is enough literature on the main micronutrients in rockmelon to consider it a positive addition to a dog’s diet:

  • Rockmelon could help with hydration: Cantaloupes are almost 90% water, way above most dog treats. Your dog’s body is also largely composed of water, and according to the RSPCA, dehydration can quickly become fatal in Australia’s hot weather [3]. Considering proper hydration is essential to your dog’s health, having a refreshing water-based treat could be a good option.
  • Full of prebiotics: We’ve already mentioned the importance of a healthy gut for your dog’s long-term wellness. Rockmelon is relatively high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which feeds your dog’s good gut bacteria [6].
  • Might strengthen your dog’s immune system: Rockmelon packs around 37 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, which is more than half the content found in oranges. But unlike oranges and other citrus fruits, there is very little chance your dog will suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) upset when having a few bites of rockmelon. As we’ve mentioned before, vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant and, when added to a well-balanced diet, can support your dog’s immune system [4].
  • Can help slow down eye problems related to ageing: 100 grams of rockmelon has about 170 μg of vitamin A, most of it in the form of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that has been strongly linked to a slower onset of macular degeneration - a common eye condition that makes old dogs lose their sight [5]. Since vitamin A is very unstable, fresh fruit is a great way of rounding up your dog’s intake and guaranteeing they absorb it.

These benefits mean that, while rockmelon should be considered a treat, giving a few pieces here and there might contribute to your dog’s health.


How To Give Rockmelon To Your Dog

What to do if they start putting on their puppy-dog eyes? If you want to give your pup some rockmelon, it’s best to follow these steps:

Step 1. Select the right fruit

When giving rockmelon to your dog, pick out the fruit just as you would for a human. This means trying to select a melon that’s ripe enough to be sweet and juicy, but not too long past its prime.

If you give unripe rockmelon to your dog, you risk them having indigestion, bloating, and even vomiting. Unsure if it’s ripe enough? Try a piece yourself first – you’ll immediately know if you’re too early!

Step 2. Peel and cut

This might go without saying, but never give large, unpeeled rockmelon pieces to your dog. Dogs don’t have the hands to nibble at a wedge like us, so make their snacking experience easier and safer. The skin on this fruit is too tough for dogs to chew and might cause intestinal blockage if your dog swallows it whole.

Peel the rind and cut the melon into bite-sized pieces (relative to your dog’s size), making sure all the seeds are removed. This will lower choking risks and allow them to enjoy their treat.

Step 3. One or two pieces max

Although rockmelon is generally healthy, it should be offered in moderation. As with any other treat, only offer rockmelon to your dog once or twice a week, at most.

This fruit should be considered a bonus, on top of a balanced diet, and not a main source of vitamins or other micronutrients.

PRO TIP: If you worry that your dog’s diet does not offer enough micronutrients, talk to your vet. They will be able to recommend a better dog food brand adapted to your pet’s specific needs. We also have a roundup of the best dog food for your pup.

Is your dog a fan of rockmelon? Let us know in the comments down below.

Are you wondering if your dog can eat other common foods? Check out our full list below:

References

  1. Jasper, C. October 11, 2018. “Rockmelon listeria investigation finds outbreak that killed seven largely caused by dust storms”. ABC News. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-11/listeria-rockmelon-report-finds-outbreak-caused-dust-storms/10365636
  2. NSW Food authority. “Special care foods: Rockmelons”. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumer/special-care-foods/rockmelons
  3. RSPCA Pet Insurance. “Signs of dehydration in dogs and cats”. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au/pet-care/health-and-wellbeing/hydrate-your-cat-or-dog 
  4. Burke, A. May 4, 2020. “7 vitamins your dog needs for a healthy life”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/vitamins-dogs-need-healthy-lifestyle/  
  5. Foster, J. (2011). “Feeding dogs and cats”. The Veterinary Record, 168(6), 164. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254743998_Feeding_dogs_and_cats
  6. Diez, M., et al (1997). “Dietary fibre in dogs’ diet”. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1439-0396.1997.tb00873.x

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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