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Can Dogs Eat Oranges? Are Oranges Safe For Dogs to Eat?

Many dogs love a little fruit in their diet to make their kibble a little tastier. If you are considering adding some oranges to your dog's diet, there are some factors you'll likely want to consider first. Veterinarian Joanna Woodnutt looks at if oranges are safe for dogs, and if dogs like them in the first place.

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Last Updated: August 1, 2021 | 4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Oranges

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate an orange and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Thinking of feeding Fido a serving of oranges? We all know fruit and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet for humans. We even aim for a target of five portions a day to stay in tip-top health. But what about our furry friends? Should they be eating fruits and veggies, just like us?

One of the most popular fruits on the planet is the orange. Offered widely, from half-time on the sports field to children’s lunchboxes, there is no disputing their health benefits. They are rich in Vitamin C and offer an energy boost with some healthy sugars. But can dogs also eat oranges the same way they eat strawberries or watermelon?

There are a few things you’ll want to be aware of before feeding too much of this juicy fruit to your pup. In the article below, we examine if it’s safe to feed this to your canine companion. We’ll also look at how much is OK to feed your pup as a quick treat.

Are Oranges Safe for Dogs?

Sliced Juicy Citrus Fruit
The juicy flesh of the orange is perfectly safe for canine consumption.

The answer to whether oranges are safe for canine consumption is both yes and no. The orange flesh or pulp is safe for dogs to eat if they enjoy it, but only if all of the white orange pith, orange peel, and seeds are removed, which may contain toxic compounds that can make Fido sick.

Similar to other fruits, the flesh contains no toxins. This means just like Mangoes or peaches, the flesh of the fruit is safe for our canine companions to snack on. While the fruit is generally safe, the rinds and other parts are not as safe, and should not be fed to dogs.

Are Oranges Good for Dogs?

Citrus Fruit Hanging on a Tree
Oranges can provide many different vitamins and nutrients to your pooch.

Oranges are a great source of vitamins, including vitamin C, thiamine, and folate. Vitamin C benefits your dog’s immune system, as well as acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Oranges are also high in potassium, which is important for heart health.

Oranges also contain other antioxidants, especially flavonoid compounds. Hesperidin is one of the main flavonoids in oranges and is responsible for many health benefits of oranges.

The natural sugars in oranges are a potent energy source. Oranges contain approximately 49 calories for every 100g of flesh. However, these sugars are slow-release thanks to the fiber content of oranges, which also helps to keep your canine companion’s gut healthy.

Do Dogs Need Vitamin C?

Cane Corso Puppy Smelling Round Fruit
Dogs make their own vitamin C, so adding it to their diet is unnecessary.

Vitamin C is a popular vitamin that’s well known to come from the citrus family. Fruits like tangerines, limes, and lemons are all also part of the citrus family. Fruits like grapefruit are grown differently and are considered a hybrid. They are all rich in vitamin C which is important for humans, but not as much for canines.

Bear in mind that dogs don’t need to consume Vitamin C in their diet, because they can make it within their bodies, so the potential benefit of providing your dog with Vitamin C from oranges is negligible. Similarly, there are plenty of sources of dietary fiber and foods that contain healthier energy sources.

How Much Orange Can a Dog Eat?

Chihuahua Laying Among Citrus Fruits
A moderate amount of orange as a snack or treat is all your dog should consume to avoid any issues.

If your dog enjoys oranges, you can safely feed the orange flesh, but there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t give too much. Oranges are not a complete diet because they do not contain all of the nutrients they need. So, they should only be a small portion of their daily food intake, to ensure their dietary requirements are met with other foods.

Because orange fruit is so high in sugar, it should only be fed in moderation, and if your pet is overweight, on a diet, or is diabetic, it should be avoided altogether. Too much orange could upset their guts, causing vomiting or diarrhea, so it’s all the more important to keep offerings small.

If you’re wondering how much is too much, a good rule of thumb is to start small, with just one segment offered, and keep an eye out for any signs that it doesn’t agree with your pup. If you see no signs of vomiting or diarrhea, and Fido enjoys the orange, then you could give a couple of orange slices or segments, a couple of times a week as a sugary treat.

When are Oranges Bad for Dogs?

Dachshund Next to Glass of OJ
There are a few reasons why oranges should be avoided, even in different forms such as orange juice.

Like all foods, it is important to know which parts of oranges dogs can eat and whether there are any situations where you can’t give an orange to your pup.

Don’t Feed the Pith, Peel, or Seeds

The orange peel, pith, and seeds, as well as any other part of the orange tree, may contain toxic compounds from spraying with chemicals during growing. Therefore, these parts should always be avoided.

Another reason to ensure that any orange you offer your dog is peeled, is that the peel can struggle to fit through a dog’s guts and can cause a blockage, which is very serious.

Consider the Sugar Content

Oranges are mainly made of sugar. Yes, they also contain nutrients that are beneficial to us, but the high sugar content makes them less than ideal and means that there are situations when oranges should absolutely be avoided. If your pup is obese, struggling to lose weight, or has a health condition like diabetes, orange is not a suitable treat for them.

What About Orange Juice?

If you were tempted to let Fido drink some orange juice, as a healthy refreshment – don’t! No matter the formulation, orange juice is incredibly high in sugar and citric acid and would not offer any health benefit to our canine companions.

Are Moldy Oranges Safe?

You should also not feed your pup oranges that are going moldy. Gone-off oranges have started to ferment, and the yeasts will be turning the sugar into alcohol. This can cause serious problems in many canines. Never feed moldy oranges to a dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can dogs digest oranges?

    Yes. Dogs can digest orange flesh without any trouble (although too much may make them vomit and diarrhea. However, they cannot digest orange peel, so any orange offered must be peeled and free from any pith or seeds.

  • Is citrus okay for dogs?

    Dogs can enjoy small amounts of some citrus fruit safely, including peeled and prepared oranges and tangerines. However, other citrus fruits can irritate a dog's guts as they can be very acidic. It’s best not to feed any citrus unless you’ve got good evidence that it’s safe for dogs.

  • Will an orange hurt a dog?

    Orange flesh will not harm most canines unless they have a medical condition like diabetes, but it does contain a lot of sugar. The orange peel, pith, and seeds can contain toxins, and the peel itself can get lodged within the guts while passing through, so those parts must be avoided. If you think any of these parts of an orange were consumed, contact your veterinarian for advice.

  • What happens if my dog eats an orange?

    If your pup has eaten just the flesh of orange and just a small amount, it is unlikely that they will show any signs of being sick. They may even enjoy it. Larger amounts of orange flesh can cause vomiting and diarrhea whereas orange peel, pith, and seeds can cause toxicity or gut obstructions, so you must see your veterinarian if you suspect your pup might have eaten more than just the flesh.

  • Do dogs even enjoy oranges?

    Dogs are often not keen on citrus fruits, including oranges, presumably due to their somewhat bitter taste and their less than enticing smell.

Final Thoughts

You can feed Fido orange flesh if it is peeled, seeded, and has no pith. He may not enjoy it, though, and the high sugar content may outweigh any potential benefits to their health. This poses the question of whether you should offer any orange to your four-legged friend since there is no conclusive health benefit. There are also risks associated with the high sugar content.

The size and consistency of the orange peel mean it risks getting stuck in the gut, causing an obstruction. If you think your dog might have eaten orange peel, seeds or pith, speak to your veterinarian immediately, especially if he is showing signs of being unwell.

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