My wife loves watermelon, and so does our dog, Morty. The other night, while the two of them were sitting on the couch as she fed him one piece of watermelon after another, she turned to me and asked, “do you think he would ever stop eating this if I just kept giving it to him?” I laughed and replied, “probably not.”
Then she asked me, “can a dog eat too much watermelon?” I pondered this for a moment and replied, “considering that a watermelon is about 90% water, it seems unlikely, but maybe there’s a limit.” She then challenged me to come up with a definitive answer, which is why I’m writing this post.
In short, a dog could technically eat too much watermelon to be good for them, but it’s unlikely to happen unless you deliberately feed them large amounts on a regular basis.
Continue reading to find out more about feeding your dog watermelon…
How Much Watermelon Can a Dog Eat?
To answer this question, all we have to do is follow some basic guidelines for feeding dogs. As a general rule, dogs should eat no more than 10% of their calories from fresh fruit and vegetables, or anything else that is not a part of their normal diet – i.e., the wet or dry food you normally feed them.
To put this in perspective, a 60 lb dog, like our dog Morty, should consume between 1500 to 2000 calories per day, depending on their level of activity and the time of year – more in the winter, less in the summer. So let’s just average that number out to 1750.
A simple Google search reveals that 1 cup of diced watermelon contains approximately 45 calories, so our dog would have to eat almost 4 cups of watermelon – 175 calories – to reach his 10% max for the day, assuming it’s the only snack we feed him that day. That’s an awful lot of watermelon.
Another way you could look at it is that a typical wedge of watermelon contains about 87 calories, so we could feed our dog two wedges before he reaches his maximum intake; however, giving your dog a whole wedge of watermelon is a bad idea, and I’ll discuss that further in a bit.
To make this simple for you to figure out, here is a handy table that shows how many calories your dog should be eating in total per day. Find your dog’s weight – or the closest approximation – then apply the formula: (average calories per day / 10 / 45 = max cups of watermelon) to find out how much watermelon is safe for your dog.
|5.5 lb (2.5 kg)||250 calories|
|11 lb (5 kg)||450 calories|
|22 lb (10 kg)||750 calories|
|33 lb (15 kg)||1000 calories|
|44 lb (20 kg)||1250 calories|
|55 lb (25 kg)||1500 calories|
|66 lb (30 kg)||1700 calories|
|77 lb (35 kg)||1880 calories|
|88 lb (40 kg)||2100 calories|
|99 lb (45 kg)||2300 calories|
|110 lb (50 kg)||2500 calories|
Why Is Too Much Watermelon Bad for Dogs?
The answer to this question is somewhat ironic… Too much watermelon is bad for dogs because it literally contains too much of a good thing: vitamin A.
Even though vitamin A is essential to a dog’s diet, if they consume too much of it, there’s a slight chance they could get vitamins poisoning.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Poisoning:
- Flaky skin
- General discomfort
- Stiff joints
What to Do if Your Dog Accidentally Eats a Lot of Watermelon
Unless your dog is showing serious signs of illness, like the symptoms listed above, I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Typically, when a dog gets vitamins poisoning, it’s not from eating whole foods, it’s from gobbling down a bottle of multivitamins.
If your dog is showing signs of illness, then the best thing to do is take them to a vet or an emergency animal clinic right away.
Don’t Let Them Eat the Seeds or Rind
The flesh of the watermelon is perfectly safe, but the seeds and rinds are not. Not only can the seeds be a choking hazard, they can also cause gastrointestinal problems, as well as the rind.
This is why earlier I said you shouldn’t just hand of a wedge of watermelon to your dog. They might enjoy gnawing on the rind, but it’s not good for them.
If your dog does eat a few seeds, don’t be alarmed, they’re not toxic; but too many of them can block their intestines.
Wag! Vitamins Poisoning in Dogs. Retrieved from: https://wagwalking.com/condition/vitamins-poisoning
Tails. Caloric Requirements for Your Dog. Retrieved from: http://tails.co/requirements.html
Christine O’Brien (December 10, 2019). Is it Safe to Give My Dog or Cat Fruit? Retrieved from: https://www.hillspet.com/pet-care/nutrition-feeding/can-dogs-and-cats-eat-fruit
Cecily Sailer. Can My Dog Eat Watermelon Seeds. Retrieved from: https://www.rover.com/blog/can-dog-eat-watermelon-seeds/