Chihuahua looking at oranges

Can Dogs Eat Orange?
Canine Food Safety

The best mornings start with freshly squeezed orange juice… but should your dog partake in this ritual? If you’re wondering “can dogs eat orange”, or whether citrus fruits are safe for dogs, no worries!

Our experts have reviewed everything you need to know. Read this before slipping some orange juice to your pup!

A dachshund with oranges

Are Oranges Safe For Dogs?

Simply put, yes. Oranges are a relatively safe fruit for dogs, in general. Of course, vets recommend consuming in moderation.

Related: What Fruit Can Dogs Eat?

As oranges are nutrient-rich and high in vitamin C, you might be wondering if this citrus fruit could be healthy for your dog.

Well, before starting your pup on an orange juice frenzy, here’s what you should know.

Benefits of oranges for dogs

Oranges can be very healthy for both you and your dog. According to research, here’s how they could benefit your pup:

  • Stronger immune system: Because oranges are rich in vitamin C, folate and potassium, its micronutrients help strengthen your dog’s immune system.
  • Prevent vitamin C deficiency. According to vet Christine Keyserling [1] some dogs can develop vitamin C deficiency due to strenuous exercise or stress. In those cases, vitamin C supplementation might be needed. But she warns that in most cases this isn’t necessary!
  • High in fibre: Oranges, like other fruits and veggies, are high in fibre. This can add much-needed prebiotics to your dog’s diet. Prebiotics are the main food for your dog’s gut flora, composed of millions of microbes, good bacteria and yeasts. While most balanced dog foods have some fibre in them, adding a bit more is usually a good idea. Keep in mind the fibre content is only found in the pulp, and not in orange juice!

    Related: Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Should Dogs Eat Orange?

Not everything about oranges is so beneficial for dogs! Like with other common food items, too much of a good thing can actually be bad.

Despite what many people think, citric acid from oranges is neither harmful nor toxic to dogs but this is very far from saying all dogs should eat oranges!

Veterinarians warn that, while oranges are rich in micronutrients, they can also contribute to some issues in certain patients:

  • Careful with orange rinds! The rinds are one of the most dangerous parts of an orange for a dog. They are pretty much impossible to digest whole, and if your dog doesn’t chew them thoroughly rinds can cause intestinal blockage. Keep the rinds away from your puppy!
  • Stay away from orange juice: Especially if it isn’t homemade. Many of the benefits of oranges are found in the flesh and fibre. Orange juice strips that away, meaning it’s mainly sugars and acid. Neither of these are all that healthy for your dog!
  • Stick to one or two slices: Don’t go out and give whole oranges to your dog! A segment or two (or a slice or two) are more than enough for them to reap the benefits. Of course, this shouldn’t be a daily occurrence: oranges should be considered a treat!

PRO TIP: Treats like oranges should only account for around 10% of your dog’s intake! This fruit is too high in sugars to be eaten more often.


How To Give Oranges To A Dog

Step 1. Make sure they like it

If your dog isn’t interested in oranges, don’t force it. The health benefits from eating them are too small to try and convince them to like them! Unless your dog is genuinely curious about the taste, skip oranges altogether.

Step 2. Cut and clean the orange

Be careful when feeding oranges to your pup! Seeds and rinds can get stuck in their delicate digestive system, causing dangerous blockages. To be sure, take all the seeds out of the segments you want to share with your dog. Then, peel the rind so only the flesh remains.

Step 3. Start slow

Even if your dog seems to love the taste, start with only half a slice or half a segment. If after 24 hours they show no negative symptoms (diarrhoea, vomiting, bloating or personality changes) you can assume oranges won’t harm your pup.

If that’s the case, you can increase their orange treats to up to 2 slices a couple of times a week. Don’t offer more than that!

Check out our other fruit related articles:

FAQ

Can dogs eat lemons?

The short answer is no.

Considering dogs can eat oranges, why aren’t lemons ok?

Unlike oranges, lemons are significantly more acidic. This can cause bloating, indigestion and vomiting. And while they have significant amounts of vitamin C, they lack other micronutrients. The possible benefits of eating lemon for dogs is offset by the dangers of eating too acidic foods. If your dog is interested in citrus fruits, stick to oranges and mandarins.

Can dogs eat whole oranges?

No! If you see your dog chewing on a whole orange or trying to catch one, stop them immediately. Dogs might get confused since whole oranges look very similar to a bright ball. However, whole fruits (including oranges) can be very dangerous for them!

If swallowed whole or in large chunks, an orange can quickly cause choking and asphyxiation.

References

  1. PetMD. Can dogs eat oranges? https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-oranges
  2. Volpe LM, Putarov TC, Ikuma CT, et al. Orange fibre effects on nutrient digestibility, fermentation products in faeces and digesta mean retention time in dogs. Archives of Animal Nutrition. 2021 Jun;75(3):222-236. https://europepmc.org/article/med/34148447
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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