Are you thinking of a healthy, refreshing, and tasty treat for your canine companion, and thinking of trying out some grapefruits? But, will your dog even like the taste of this citrus fruit? And more importantly, can dogs eat grapefruit?
Without a doubt, grapefruit is healthy food for us, humans, with its handful of nutritional benefits. It is loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, choline, and lycopene to name a few.
With all of these nutrients, grapefruit is indeed a healthy food choice for humans who are looking to boost their immune system, digestive system, and improve their heart, skin, and dental health.
However, just because this citrus fruit works wonders for our bodies doesn’t mean that it can also do the same for our dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?
Dogs can eat a small amount of oranges and tangerines, so, it might be easy to conclude that it’s also safe for them to eat grapefruit. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that.
Compared with oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits, grapefruits are more acidic. The flesh of grapefruit contains a high amount of citric acid, which can irritate your dog’s digestive system, leading to an upset stomach, and causing vomiting and diarrhea.
These uncomfortable symptoms are more likely to manifest when your dog eats large quantities of grapefruit. Similar side effects could also happen when your dog drinks grapefruit juice.
Do Dogs Love the Taste of Grapefruit?
While you may like the tart flavor of this citrus fruit, your dog may not share the same interest as you do. Most dogs would steer away from the sweet, sour, and bitter flavor of this fruit.
And you can simply consider this as an advantage, since your dog is better of without this citrus fruit, anyway.
Yes, grapefruit is loaded with nutrients, but your dog can also get all of these vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from other fruits and vegetables without experiencing harmful side effects.
At the end of the day, the risks and downsides of eating this fruit outweigh the benefits that it can offer to your dearest pet.
Does Grapefruit Offer Some Health Benefits in Dogs?
Grapefruit is rich in nutrients that are beneficial for us, humans, and even for our dogs.
One of the most notable nutritional benefits of grapefruit is that it’s rich in vitamin C. However, dogs, just like cats and other animals, can produce their own vitamin C. So, they don’t have to get this from their diet.
Also, by adding vitamin C-rich foods to your dog’s meals, you might just be introducing too much of this nutrient inside his body, which he no longer needs.
As a result, this may only put your dog at risk for vitamin C toxicity, which could lead to serious complications such as urinary blockage due to the formation of calcium stones in his bladder.
Moreover, grapefruit is also low in calories with a decent amount of fiber, so it can be helpful with weight management.
It also contains a high moisture content, which is good in keeping dogs hydrated, especially during summer. And again, grapefruit is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which are great for your dog’s overall health.
However, as mentioned earlier, your dog can easily get all of these nutrients from other foods without putting his health and safety at risk.
There are also other safer means to manage your dog’s weight, such as by purchasing high-quality dog food that is specialized for this purpose and by encouraging him to adapt to a more active lifestyle.
Is Grapefruit Toxic to Dogs?
The flesh of grapefruit isn’t toxic to dogs, but it can still irritate your dog’s tummy when given in large quantities. On the other hand, its seeds, rind (peel or skin), and pith are toxic to dogs because these parts contain essential oils and psoralens that are harmful to dogs.
Removing these toxic parts may decrease the toxicity of grapefruit, but it’s still not worth the risk. Hence, it’s best to just simply keep your dog away from this fruit.
What Happens When Your Dog Has Eaten Grapefruit?
If your dog ate grapefruit, the initial signs that you will notice are related to gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
These uncomfortable side effects are pretty much expected if your dog eats the flesh of this fruit because of its high acidity.
Should you be alarmed? Well, you should treat it as you would whenever your dog is experiencing these symptoms. When vomiting and diarrhea are not treated as soon as possible, your dog may be at risk for fluid and electrolytes imbalance.
Also, while the flesh isn’t toxic, the other parts of this fruit are, such as its skin, seeds, and pith. These parts contain toxins that can lead to grapefruit poisoning or toxicity when consumed in huge quantities.
As the toxicity advances, your dog may experience photosensitivity or he may become sensitive to light, he may also drool excessively, and eventually, he won’t be able to stand or walk.
You should definitely not wait for these symptoms to occur before you seek veterinary guidance.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Grapefruit?
When you suspect your dog has eaten an ample amount of this fruit and its toxic parts, you should call your veterinarian immediately and follow his advice.
You may have to bring your pup to the clinic as soon as possible so that proper diagnosis and treatment can be implemented right away. Timely treatment is important for your dog’s good prognosis and fast recovery.
Symptoms of Grapefruit Poisoning
While your dog may only experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms when he eats the flesh of a grapefruit, he may also suffer from the more serious side effects of this fruit, especially when he has eaten the peel, seeds, or pith.
Moreover, even the mild symptoms can become worse when not treated promptly. Hence, if you suspect your dog has eaten even a small amount of this toxic fruit, it’s best to seek veterinary help immediately.
Again, you shouldn’t wait for more serious side effects to manifest before taking him to the vet.
Also, the mild symptoms that can be observed when a dog eats the flesh of this fruit are also the same as the more serious presenting symptoms of grapefruit poisoning.
Hence, there’s no better way to get a definitive diagnosis and understand the severity of your dog’s condition other than a vet consult.
Below are the symptoms of grapefruit poisoning/toxicity that you should watch out for:
How is Grapefruit Toxicity Diagnosed?
When you arrive at your vet’s clinic, he will ask you several questions so he can have a bigger picture of your dog’s condition and what needs to be done.
Expect to be asked about your dog’s whereabouts, what he did, and when did he start acting not his usual self.
While asking you all of these questions, he will also perform a physical assessment on your dog, and get his baseline vital signs. He will then correlate the data that he gathered with your dog’s presenting symptoms.
If your dog vomits at the clinic, he will examine the regurgitated contents to find out some clues on what your dog has ingested.
If your dog is having watery stools, he will order to get a sample to be sent to the lab to rule out other possible diagnoses such as bacterial overgrowth and intestinal parasites.
He will also do a skin scraping sample if your dog is exhibiting any skin-related reaction due to photosensitivity.
Blood works, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and a chemical panel will also be done to check out how your dog is functioning internally, or how his organs are handling the toxins.
The result from these blood tests are broad, but they will give the vet a starting point and an overall look at your dog’s condition. And from there, he will decide whether or not your dog needs further diagnostic tests.
Additionally, he may order a urinalysis to evaluate your dog’s kidneys. And if the test results point out dehydration, your dog will be treated accordingly.
Treatment for Grapefruit Poisoning/Toxicity in Dogs
The treatment for your dog’s condition will be based on his symptoms.
If you suspect your dog has ingested grapefruit, or you are sure that he did, the vet will have to induce vomiting to remove debris of the fruit inside your dog’s tummy before his body absorbs them.
If vomiting is unsuccessful, he may perform gastric lavage. This is a procedure wherein he will insert a tube through your dog’s mouth (orogastric tube) or his nose (nasogastric) into his stomach.
Toxins are removed inside his tummy by flushing with saline solutions, followed by the suction of gastric contents.
If too much time has passed since your dog’s ingestion of the grapefruit flesh and other parts, he may administer activated charcoal after the stomach is pumped (gastric lavage). This will bind and neutralize the toxins before your dog’s body can even absorb them.
If your dog is vomiting uncontrollably, the vet may administer an antiemetic to stop it and give your dog some relief.
And if there is a risk for dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea, your dog will also receive intravenous fluid therapy. This will rehydrate him and help flush out the toxins from his body faster than without it.
A medical ointment or cream will have to be applied to the affected areas in his skin if your dog is experiencing any photosensitivity reactions.
This will help reduce the irritation and the itching and speed up the healing process. Your dog may also need to stay away from the sun as much as possible until the toxins are fully removed from his body.
Are There Other Citrus Fruits Dogs Can Eat?
While citrus fruits are generally acidic, there are some that are far less acidic than grapefruits, such as oranges and tangerines. You can give these fruits, instead, but in moderation.
Don’t forget to watch out for his reactions after. And remember that fruits are considered as treats, and dog treats can only account for 10% of your pup’s daily calorie intake.
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