Sweet, tangy oranges are one of the world’s most popular fruits, behind only mangoes and apples. Citrus fruits are known to be healthy because they are packed with a generous portion of Vitamin C and other nutrients. Oranges are no exception. Now, the question dog owners may be asking is, can dogs eat oranges?
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Oranges
Dogs can safely eat oranges when given to them in moderation. The occasional orange contains enough Vitamin C to give your dog’s immune system a little boost and help battle potential illnesses. Despite the health benefits, oranges may not be the best fruit to give to your dog. That being said, there are a few things that need to be considered before feeding your canine a juicy orange.
Let’s further investigate dogs and oranges.
Health Benefits: Oranges and Dogs
If oranges are so healthy for us humans, why not for our canine friends? This theory makes a lot of sense, but the truth is that oranges may not be as good for dogs as they are for us. However, this is not to say that there are absolutely no health benefits if your dog eats oranges.
First let’s break down the nutritional value of an orange.
In one small orange (96 grams):
- Vitamin C – 85% DV
- Potassium – 174 mg
- Vitamin A – 4% DV
- Magnesium – 2% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 5% DV
- Sugar – 9 grams
- Fiber – 2.3 grams
Vitamin C For Dogs
Looking at the nutritional chart for a small orange, you may notice that the biggest benefit in nutrition is Vitamin C. For humans, it is extremely important for us to get this particular vitamin from our foods because our bodies cannot naturally produce this.
On the other hand, a dog is able to produce Vitamin C and doesn’t necessarily require oranges to fill a void in nutrition. That being said, there are still situations when this prominent vitamin in oranges makes sense for your canine.
According to Dr. Christine Keyserling DVM from the Animal Medical Hospital of New York City, some dogs that encounter extreme stress or exercise may hinder the dog’s liver from successfully producing enough Vitamin C for healthy living. This is when feeding oranges to your dog makes a lot of sense.
Sometimes when a dog ages, they may not be able to produce Vitamin C as efficiently and effectively as when they were in their younger days. A few slices of oranges here and there would be ideal to keep their immune system strong. Yes, even for older dogs.
Oranges For a Healthy Dog Heart
Like with bananas, oranges are packed with potassium. But what is potassium and what does it actually do for your dog? Potassium is an electrolyte mineral proven to help the heart function efficiently and effectively.
It’s a known fact that when the potassium levels becomes low enough, there’s a chance of developing Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is when there is an abnormal rhythm of the heart beat.
This means that a few slices of oranges for an aging dog might be a good idea. However, if your dog has been diagnosed with cases of Arrhythmia, consult with your veterinarian before using oranges as a treatment.
Oranges Will Lower Cholesterol in Dogs
If your dog suffers from high cholesterol, then oranges may be a good natural remedy. High cholesterol is stemmed from Hyperlipidemia, where too much lipid in the blood. Cholesterol is one of those lipids. In order to reduce blood lipids, a low fat diet with lots of fiber is recommended.
Oranges are great low-fat fruits that provide a lot of soluble fiber. Most commercial dog foods contain too much fat that may lead to this medical condition in certain dogs. By feeding a dog suffering from Hyperlipidemia, the dog can fight against high cholesterol.
Always consult with your veterinarian before using this treatment method for high cholesterol in dogs.
Side Effects & Harms: Dogs and Oranges
In most cases, the benefits of a dog-friendly fruit vastly outweighs the side effects. However, because the highlight of oranges is Vitamin C and dogs already naturally produce it, the benefits and side effects are much closer this time around. Oranges are by no means a necessity for dogs.
Let’s examine the side effects and potential harms that come with feeding your dog some oranges.
Oranges Not Suitable for Diabetic Dogs
It should be a no-brainer that oranges are not the greatest idea for a dog suffering from diabetes. The high sugar levels and the surplus of Vitamin C can potentially affect the blood values in your dog and lead to more serious health problems. Surprisingly, this happens mostly due to the Vitamin C than the high sugar content in oranges.
If you have an older dog that needs a little boost of Vitamin C, check with your veterinarian first. Older dogs are more likely to be diabetic.
Highly Acidic Oranges Rot Teeth Faster
Like with most citrus fruits, oranges are highly acidic. Although high doses of Vitamin C is okay for dogs, a big reason why we stress moderation is because acids from everyday foods is notorious for speeding up the rotting of teeths.
In addition, oranges contain an alarming 9 grams of sugar for a medium-sized orange. Sure, it’s not as sugary as bananas, cherries or mangoes. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough sugar in oranges to help decay a dog’s teeth.
This is true for both dogs and humans. What’s the only difference? Humans brush their teeth once or twice a day. Although it’s highly recommended, dog owners don’t brush their canine’s set of pearls even once a day.
Constipation or Diarrhea in Dogs
It might seem contradictory that a fruit with high fiber can cause constipation, but it is possible with oranges. The majority of the 2.3 grams of fiber is soluble fiber, not insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known to absorb the water in the stool. So, if your dog isn’t getting enough water while eating too many oranges, they may experience constipation.
On the other hand, if they are getting enough water and eating too many oranges, they may experience diarrhea. It’s a little unpredictable what may happen. However, all we know is that too much of this fruit will most likely cause a change in your dog’s stool habits.
Can Dogs Eat Orange Peels?
The orange rind, otherwise known as the orange peel, is extremely nutritious with vitamins and is highly recommended for humans to consume. However, the orange peel is not suitable for dogs to eat. According to Dr. Christine Keyserling, the rind can be very difficult for a dog’s digestive system to break down. Digestion of the rind could potentially cause health problems such as gastrointestinal upset or stomach aches.
And if you have a diabetic dog, that will give you another reason to avoid this at all cost. The orange peel is known to have an even higher concentration of Vitamin C. Good for humans, bad for dogs. Especially, diabetic dogs.
However, if your dog accidentally eats a few orange peels, it won’t do too much damage in most cases. They aren’t exactly toxic or poisonous to dogs such as chocolate or grapes.
The only thing to worry about is that the exterior of oranges contain a lot of pesticide. The chemical is really bad for your dog and has been known to cause seizures from overconsumption. If your dog accidentally consumes a lot of unwashed orange peels, it may be a good idea to consult with your vet.
Can Dogs Eat Orange Seeds?
Many citrus fruits, including oranges, have cyanide in their seeds. Although orange seeds don’t contain as high a concentration as apple seeds, the small traces may still harm your dog. If your dog swallows a few seeds, it likely won’t harm them. However, if they constantly eat orange seeds, then cyanide will build up in their systems and cause other dog health problems.
Also, the consumption of seeds is never a good thing for a dog’s digestive system. These hard seeds can easily obstruct their intestinal tract, which may lead to constipation.
Can Dogs Eat Tangerines?
This is a great question. Tangerines are essentially the same thing as oranges, but on a smaller scale. All the nutrients are relatively the same. This means that all the health benefits, side effects and other dangers will still apply to dogs. In short, yes – it is safe for dogs to eat tangerines in moderation.
If you must feed this citrus fruit to your dog, I would suggest tangerines for smaller dogs. These fruits may be easier for the smaller dog breeds to consume. Every time a small dog eats a larger fruit, there is always a chance that chunks of that fruit could cause some digestion problems.
Fruits Better Than Oranges
You can probably tell by now that oranges aren’t exactly the best fruit to be feeding to your dog. In fact, there are tons of other excellent fruits out there that provide much better health benefits than oranges.
If your dog actually enjoys the taste of oranges, I would suggest pineapples instead. These tangy tropical fruits may taste similar to them, but they pack a lot more nutrients than just a load of Vitamin C. Some people even call them superfood for dogs. Be sure to check out our page to learn about the several health benefits and why dogs should eat pineapples.
If pineapples are hard to come by, apples make a great refreshing snack for dogs, especially on a hot summer day. These fruits actually helps clean your dog’s teeth among other health benefits. But don’t start chopping away, there are certain potential dangers if not served correctly to your canine. Read more about the benefits and side effects of feeding apples to dogs.
The reality is that there are a ton of fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs to consume. Feel free to go through our list and pick one that your dog absolutely loves. But like with oranges, all human fruits should be fed to dogs in moderation.
How Can Dogs Eat Oranges?
Orange Preparation For Dogs
The first thing to do when serving up a dose of oranges for your dog is to wash them. Even though we will be throwing out the orange peel, the pesticide and/or bacteria on the outside skin may contaminate your hands and eventually get on the oranges being served.
The next step is to remove the peel or rind from the orange. From what we discussed earlier, the peel is not poisonous to your dog, but it may be difficult for them to digest them properly. The last thing you want is for a piece of orange peel to get stuck in their intestinal tract.
Remove any seeds that are in the oranges. The seeds of oranges contain cyanide and long term intake of cyanide can open the doors for more health problems down the line.
Tips on Feeding Oranges to Dogs
Some veterinarians have recommended giving roughly ⅓ to ¼ of a medium-sized orange for a small dog. Half an orange should be sufficient for a medium-sized dog. And a large dog can safely eat a whole orange.
Don’t worry about overfeeding them oranges, as the surplus of Vitamin C can’t really do any short term damage. Vitamin C is water soluble, meaning that any excess Vitamin C in their systems will just get flushed out when they urinate.
Dogs aren’t usually allergic to oranges, but there may be exceptions. If this is your first time feeding oranges to your dog, you may want to feed them one or two slices first and observe them for the next 24 hours. Any changes in behavior (lack of energy, too much energy, etc.) or stool (diarrhea, constipation, etc.) means you should stop immediately and consult with a veterinarian. If not, your dog is in the clear! You may feed them normal portions next time.
The Smart Canine is a one-stop resource dedicated to providing dog owners all over the world with the most accurate information. We can thoroughly researched on the effects of oranges when consumed by dogs. However, not every dog is the same and different reactions may occur with different dogs. We still recommend consulting with a vet before feeding oranges to your dog.