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Can Dogs Eat Oranges? Potential Benefits, Risks, and Precautions

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Mary Nielsen

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Nothing can beat sharing a snack with your pup. Whether it's a piece of apple or orange, getting your dog a bite of your healthy snack is something you probably can't resist. But hold up. Can dogs even eat oranges?

If you already gave your pup a slice of orange and now look for the answer in panic, don't worry; the short answer is yes. Dogs can eat oranges. However, as all pet parents know, it's never that simple with dogs and food (which is the reason the DoogFoodGuide site exists).

These things are essential for any dog owner to consider. After all, you don't want anything wrong to happen to your puppy, do you?

Therefore, before you let your pup sink its teeth into an orange, sink your teeth into this article (what an impressive play on words), and ensure oranges can become an integral part of your doggo's diet.

Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

Yes, dogs can safely eat oranges (with a few exceptions we'll discuss later). Moreover, orange slices can be more than just a healthy snack for your four-legged friend. They can become a vital part of its diet.

That's because oranges boast healthy nutrients and vitamins. They are a great source of potassium and fiber and just explode with the amount of Vitamin C, essential for your dog's immune system.

However, it's important to note that we're talking about the orange's fleshy part here. As you're well aware, an orange consists of a few other parts, namely orange peel, seeds, and pith. What's the case with them?

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Can Dogs Eat Orange Peels, Seeds, or Piths?

Let's start with orange peels. Are they toxic to dogs? No (at least not in smaller quantities). Can dogs eat orange peels, then? Also no.

While orange peels aren't toxic to dogs, they are difficult to digest. In most cases, they will only cause an upset stomach. In extreme cases, orange peels can create an extremely dangerous, potentially even life-threatening gastrointestinal tract blockage, which requires emergency surgery.

As for orange seeds, these can potentially contain traces of toxic substances. They can also pose a choking hazard, so it's best to avoid giving them to your dog.

Orange pith, on the other hand, which is the white layer between the peel and fruit's flesh, is safe for dogs. What's more, it's packed with antioxidants and fiber. The pith is also acid and sugar-free, which won't cause stomach upset if you give it to your dog.

Can Dogs Drink Orange Juice?

Okay, we know that the orange flesh and pith can be safely served to your dog. But what about orange juice? After all, it's just the fruit's fleshy part squeezed into liquid. Therefore, it should be safe for dogs, right?

Here's the problem – it's not. Why is that? Because orange juice, even when it's freshly squeezed, is a concentrated source of citric acid and natural sugars. These two can be very harmful to dogs.

First of all, a higher amount of natural sugar can cause several health issues in dogs (we'll discuss them more in a moment). Secondly, as for citric acid, its increased concentration in orange juice can destroy your pup's tooth enamel over time.

That said, orange juice for dogs is a no-go.

orange slices

What Are the Benefits of Oranges for Dogs?

Okay, but why should you even consider giving orange slices to your pup? There are three primary benefits worth mentioning:

  • Oranges are full of Vitamin C, which can boost a dog's immune system, helping keep any diseases at bay. And while it's true dogs can produce Vitamin C themselves, in some cases, they might not be able to do that, for example, if they exercise a lot. In such instances, feeding your pup with a slice of orange can be extremely beneficial.
  • Oranges are rich in soluble fiber. In small quantities, it helps your dog produce fatty acids, which provide energy for the gut epithelial cells, improving your dog's digestive system.
  • Oranges are high in potassium, an important electrolyte that prevents dehydration. That said, when you, for example, get back from an extensive run with your furry friend, giving it an orange slice can help with rehydration.

How Many Oranges Can Dogs Eat?

We've established that dogs can eat oranges. Indeed, orange is a fruit that can prove highly beneficial for your pup. However, before you start feeding your dog oranges, you must learn how much orange is enough.

So, how many oranges can a dog eat? One or two orange segments a day should be enough.

Of course, the answer also depends on your dog's size and breed. Large breed dogs, for example, can safely eat two or three orange slices. Smaller dogs, on the other hand, might feel an upset stomach if they eat the same amount. As for puppies, a maximum of one slice is more than enough to avoid any digestive health issues.

Another vital consideration is your dog's daily calorie intake. As a rule, snacks should not make up more than 10% of your pup's daily calorie intake. That amount, however, should be balanced. If it comes only from oranges, it can unbalance your dog's diet and lead to stomach upset.

The key here is to stay moderate. If you aren't sure how your dog will react to oranges, it would be better to consult the matter with the vet first. If they give you the green light, one orange segment a day should provide your dog with enough nutrients without unbalancing its diet.

When Can Oranges Be Harmful to Dogs?

We've established that most dogs can eat oranges. Moreover, giving your dog an orange slice or two a day can prove very beneficial for your furry friend. However, there are several exceptions where oranges can do more harm than good for your pup.

First, oranges should be avoided in diabetic dogs and overweight dogs. That's mostly due to the natural sugar found in oranges. In higher amounts, it can spike a diabetic dog's blood sugar, leading to surplus calories.

The second problem is the orange's acidic nature and its high amount of fiber. These two components can cause an upset stomach in dogs with sensitive gastrointestinal systems. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you should avoid feeding it oranges.

dog waiting for a tasty treat

Can Dogs Get Orange Poisoning?

As said, in most cases, oranges aren't toxic to dogs when served correctly and in smaller quantities. However, we're human, and mistakes are a part of our nature.

For instance, by mistake, you might give your dog a slice of orange with a peel. As covered, dogs may struggle to digest orange peels. It also contains a few toxic substances. This might lead to orange poisoning, which can also be caused by your dog eating too much orange.

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If you believe your dog might've caught orange poisoning, look out for the following symptoms:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • drooling
  • weakness
  • intestinal obstruction
  • muscle tremors and spasms
  • depression

If you start noticing these, take your pup to the vet immediately.

How to Diagnose Orange Poisoning in Dogs?

The vet will perform a physical exam to diagnose your pup. Often, they may use an endoscope to check if there's an inflammation or signs of obstructions in your pup's throat. That's because an orange peel or seed might get stuck in your dog's throat.

If orange poisoning might be caused by something else, your vet will run further tests, including urine and blood tests, a CT scan, an ultrasound, etc.

How to Treat Orange Poisoning in Dogs?

Treating orange poisoning in dogs looks similar to treating other forms of food poisoning. Typically, the treatment process includes the following:

  1. The first step is eliminating the poison. Typically it's done by giving a dog an emetic to trigger vomiting. The vet will also give your dog activated charcoal to absorb any toxins left.
  2. The next step is detoxification. In most cases, the vet will perform gastric lavage to rinse away any fruit residue. Then, they will give IV fluids to rehydrate your pup and flush its kidneys.
  3. The final step is giving your dog medication, such as antiemetics when vomiting and stomach protectants for gastric distress.

Once you're back home with your pup, observe its recovery and behavior in the first few days after treatment. Remember to provide it with enough water and only give it food that is easy to digest.

How to Serve Oranges for Dogs?

So yes, ensuring your doggo doesn't get orange poisoning would be much better than a visit to a vet. However, for that, you need to know two things – how many oranges your dog can eat, which we've already covered, and how to serve oranges to your pup correctly.

So, the first essential thing to remember is to peel the oranges and remove the seeds. Then, remove it into segments and feed your dog with one as a sweet treat.

You can also add oranges to your pup's meal portions or mix them with other fruits. A good idea is to freeze the orange slices and serve them to your dog when it's hot. Feeding oranges that way will keep your dog hydrated and refreshed during the hot summer.

Dogs and Oranges: FAQs

Can dogs eat mandarin oranges, tangerines, or clementines?

Yes, dogs can safely eat mandarin oranges, as well as tangerines and clementines. Before serving them, apply the same rules as when feeding oranges to your pup. That said, remember not to go overboard. Again, one or two slices are enough for your canine friend.

You should also remember to peel them and remove any seeds. Like with oranges, peels and seeds may contain traces of toxic substances and pose a choking hazard.

Another consideration here is that mandarins, tangerines, and clementines are all sweeter than “standard” oranges. They contain more natural sugar, meaning you must be extremely careful with them if your dog has diabetes or is overweight.

Can dogs eat other citrus fruits?

So yes, dogs can safely eat oranges. But what about other citrus fruits, such as limes, lemons, or grapefruits? If you're thinking about throwing these into your dog's diet, you can safely do so.

The fleshy part of any citrus fruit is safe for your pup. Again, remember to peel and remove seeds, adjust meal portions correctly, and balance your pup's diet with other foods. Then, all citrus fruits are safe for your dog to eat.

However, there's a chance your furry pal won't want to eat a lemon slice. That's because these fruits are much more acidic and sourer. Most dogs don't like such foods.

Can puppies eat oranges?

Yes, both adult dogs and puppies can eat oranges. However, remember that puppies find it harder to digest oranges, which makes them more prone to GI upset than adult dogs.

Therefore, it's better to give your puppy only a tiny amount of an orange – half a slice, no more. Needless to say, it should be peeled and seedless.

two dogs running

Key Takeaways

Can dogs eat oranges? In general, yes, as long as you ensure that your pup can eat oranges, give them in small quantities as sweet treats, and always ensure they're peeled and seedless.

As covered, oranges are full of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. All these play an important role in your pup's health. However, as with any other food your dog eats, you need to ensure you apply some basic feeding rules we've discussed above.

Not following these can do your dog more harm than good, which no pet parent wants. Feeding your doggo oranges in larger quantities and not peeled can upset your pet's stomach, which can lead to orange poisoning.

Also, while oranges are safe for more dogs, obese or diabetic dogs must follow a strict daily calorie intake, which natural sugars found in oranges can disturb.

As long as you keep these rules in mind, you can safely share a few slices of orange with your pup.

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