Can dogs eat oranges? Believe it or not, this is a common question.
After all, starting the morning with a glass of cold, fresh-squeezed orange juice is a great way to wake up the body and energize it for the day ahead.
The natural sugars found in oranges supply the muscles, including the brain, with healthy fuel. Plus, oranges are loaded with vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.
Of course, they’re also refreshing and taste great. No wonder your pooch drools every time you slice one up. While dogs love meat, many love oranges, and fruit too.
The good news is oranges are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, for the most part. They’re packed full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, but feeding your dog too many oranges can be unhealthy and cause digestive problems. Let’s have a look at why.
Dogs and Oranges – The Health Benefits
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for us dog parents, so it’s easy to imagine why your pet would benefit from a few orange slices and vitamin C as well.
Oranges are low in sodium and high in Vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, folate, and many other vitamins and minerals. In addition to their refreshing taste, this makes them a healthy treat for you and your dog.
Oranges can also be beneficial for dogs suffering from vitamin C deficiency. According to Christine Keyserling, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at New York City’s Animal Medical Center, stress and extreme exercise can “overwhelm the liver’s capacity to make vitamin C” in some dogs.
“In these cases, it may be beneficial to provide additional vitamin C supplementation. However, for most pets it’s not required,” she continued.
In addition to strengthening a dog’s immune system and helping dogs suffering from vitamin C deficiency, the vitamins and nutrients in oranges can also be beneficial for dogs who have ingested toxic substances, such as onion powder.
However, the benefits of oranges can only be experienced when eaten in small quantities. Like most things in life, when it comes to dogs and oranges, it’s very possible to have too much of a good thing.
Dogs and Oranges – The Hazards
Sugars are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, but they’re also packed with natural sugars. It’s one of the reasons most people and dogs like eating them.
Unfortunately, sugar and calories go hand-in-hand, so oranges aren’t recommended for overweight dogs. Just like us, if a dog is overweight, eating extra calories should be avoided.
The same rings true for diabetic dogs. If your dog is diabetic, he or she should absolutely avoid eating oranges as the natural sugars can affect blood values and result in insulin spikes.
Pet parents should recognize the added sugars and calories found in oranges and only allow their dogs to eat two or three slices at most.
While not containing any added sugars or calories, the outer rinds of oranges are loaded with vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals as well. Knowing this, it’s easy to assume allowing your dog to eat orange rinds is perfectly fine, but this isn’t the case.
Orange rinds are difficult on a canine’s digestive system and difficult to break down, so eating them can cause an upset stomach and gastrointestinal issues.
The same can be said of the seeds. Therefore, if you do decide to treat your dog with an orange slice or two, it’s best to take out any seeds and only feed him or her the fleshy fruit portion.
All that being said, dogs, in general, don’t need any extra vitamins and minerals from oranges added to their diets. According to Keyserling, “Nearly all dogs on complete and balanced diets so not need vitamin or mineral supplementation from fruits.
However, if the sweet smell of oranges is difficult for your dog to resist, sharing a slice or two as a tasty treat for your pooch generally won’t hurt. In fact, you may receive plenty of happy kisses in return.
How many slices should a dog eat?
It’s generally accepted that the sugars and fibers in oranges are safe for most dogs to eat, but exactly how much of the citrus fruit is okay to eat is a topic of debate amongst many veterinarians.
According to Stephanie Liff, DVM and partner at New York City’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care, larger dogs can eat an entire orange and be perfectly fine, but smaller dogs should only have 1/4 to 1/3 of a standard-sized orange per day.
“There is not really a limit to how much vitamin C a pet can have because it is water-soluble and excess levels are urinated out and don’t accumulate in the body,” says Liff.
David Dilmore, veterinarian and medical editor at Banfield Pet Hospital, takes a slightly different stance.
“I recommend that you only give 1 or 2 segments per day. Any more than that can lead to obesity or other issues,” he said. “These along with any other treats should not make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily calories. If you feed treats, their daily food intake should be decreased by 10% to prevent obesity.”
Needless to say, when it comes to your dog’s health, it’s best to take the safe approach and treat him or her with no more than a few slices per day.
As far as puppies and oranges go, the sweet citrus fruit should be introduced slowly to your pup’s diet, so eating no more than one segment a day is recommended. This will allow them to safely adapt to the new sweet, juicy ingredient without disturbing their digestive system.
If your puppy vomits, has diarrhea, or exhibits any other unusual behavior after eating an orange slice, he or she may have a sensitive stomach not suited for digesting oranges and other citrus fruits.
How should oranges be introduced to my dog’s diet?
When introducing oranges to your dog’s diet, regardless of his age, it’s important to take things slow. Start by giving a single segment and observing his reaction.
If he likes it, you can slowly and safely bump it up to three segments per day. On the other hand, if it upsets his stomach or he obviously doesn’t like it, oranges may not be for him.
Some dogs can’t handle the acidity in oranges or simply don’t like their slightly bitter flavor, but others do. So, introduce the citrus fruit slowly, observe, and take it from there. Whatever the case, just make sure not to feed him too much.
What other citrus fruits can dogs eat?
Like oranges, the answer to this question depends on the dog and how his stomach reacts to the sugar and acid found in the fruit.
Tangerines are fine to eat for most dogs. However, similar to oranges, they have quite a bit of sugar and calories, so they should only be fed sparingly.
Lemons, on the other hand, are extremely acidic and should be avoided. In order to keep your dog happy and healthy, it’s best to research any food or fruit prior to giving it to your lovable pooch.
Are orange peels okay for my dog to eat?
No, you should never feed your dog orange peels or the white layer between the rind and the sweet fleshy part of the orange. Seeds should also be avoided as both they and the peel contain compounds that can be toxic to dogs and difficult to digest.
Does my dog need the extra vitamin C found in oranges?
We eat oranges because they taste sweet, tangy, and refreshing. We also eat them for vitamin C, which boosts our immune systems and helps us stay healthy.
However, unlike us, most dogs naturally create enough vitamin C and don’t require any more through oranges or supplements. That being said, some dogs suffer from vitamin C deficiency. If this is the case, your dog may benefit from oranges as they are high in vitamin C.
Can my dog drink orange juice?
No, orange juice is a concentrated form of the citric acid and sugars derived from the fruit. Since most dogs don’t require the added vitamins in oranges, orange juice provides no benefit and will only harm your dog. Water is all your dog needs to stay healthy and hydrated.
What’s the best way to serve oranges to my dog?
When serving oranges to your dog as a tasty treat, it’s best to peel the fruit and remove as much of the white pith as possible. Then, feed him or her the peeled segments.
Make sure to avoid orange juice and orange-flavored drinks or snacks. Almost all of them are loaded with natural and/or artificial sugars and will only detriment your dog’s health.
Can dogs eat oranges? Well, as you now know, the answer to this question depends on several factors. While dogs in general do not need extra vitamin C in their diets, for the most part oranges are fine to eat. However, as is the case with most things, it’s best to only feed your pup a moderate amount. Unless her or she is diabetic or overweight, a few orange segments a day is a perfectly fine juicy and tasty treat!