Can Dogs Eat Oranges? What You Need to Know!

Dogs want to do everything their humans do, which includes snacking. If you’re sitting there trying to enjoy a lovely citrus fruit all to yourself, you may notice those pleading eyes staring at you, hoping you’ll toss them a piece.

But, are oranges safe for dogs? And can dogs eat oranges? Yes, they can—but only in moderation. Also, you have to make sure you’re feeding them the fleshy parts and nothing else. According to the ASPCA, there is a potential danger with citrus because of essential oils and citric acid. Let’s dig a little deeper into the subject.

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Oranges for Dogs: What’s the Deal?

So, now we know that oranges are totally fine to give your dog on occasion. But is it good for them to eat? A hunk of the fleshy fruit part won’t hurt them a bit, but giving your dog an orange a day isn’t the best idea.

Oranges are very high in acid, which can cause gastrointestinal upset. The acidity may actually be a deterrent since dogs will most likely steer clear of the strong, bitter flavor.

Jack Russell getting oranges off tree
Image credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

Breaking Down the Contents

Like many fruits, oranges are power-packed with vital nutrients that help bodies thrive. One of the biggest perks of oranges for humans is the high percentage of vitamin C. Human bodies don’t produce vitamin C on their own, so we need it in our diets to make up for it.

Dogs, however, naturally produce vitamin C on their own. Adding more vitamin C won’t be much of a benefit to your dog, but it won’t hurt them either. So, if you want to offer a citrus snack in the hopes of ramping up their vitamin C levels thinking they need the boost, they really don’t.

Health Benefits

Oranges are loaded with nutrients. Some primary health benefits of oranges include:

  • Protein to help muscles
  • Fiber to aid in digestion
  • Potassium for heart regularity
  • Vitamin A for organ health
  • Calcium for bone health

It’s unlikely that your dog will eat enough of the fruit to produce lasting effects, but the positive components won’t hurt.

Oranges
Image Credit: Bru-nO, Pixabay

Potential Risks

Of course, like anything else, oranges can have downfalls, too. Dogs eating oranges can have the following risks:

  • Choking hazards
  • Potential for diarrhea
  • Could cause vomiting
  • Could upset stomach

As you can see, the risks are mild, but it’s still something to consider.

Sugar Content

Oranges are full of natural sugar. These sugars can lead to weight gain and even obesity if you aren’t careful. It can also stay on their teeth, causing plaque, tartar—and eventually, dental disease.

Sugar can also cause inflammation throughout the body, so ultimately, it isn’t worth it. Small amounts here and there (such as one section of orange) won’t have any real problems. But it would help if you avoided ongoing consumption.

How About Orange Peels?

Corgi eating citrus oranges
Image credit: RavenaJuly, Shutterstock

While orange peels aren’t toxic to your dog, they might be irritating since they are very high in citric acid. If your silly oaf got into the trash or gobbled up a piece before you could stop them—it’s okay! They’re going to live, but they may not feel the greatest afterward. And, you may just have a mess to clean up.

Because orange peels are bitter, they can irritate their stomach, causing:

  • Vomiting
  • Discomfort
  • Diarrhea

Or, your dog may be lucky and have no side effects whatsoever.

Can Dogs Eat Other Citrus Fruits?

Other citrus fruits are fine for dogs to have, too. But most of the time, your dog will probably steer clear of these snacks because they’re highly acidic and don’t taste very good to most doggy tastebuds. Oranges may be just sweet enough for your dog to enjoy, but fruit like lemons probably won’t have the same appeal.

Citrus fruits that your dog can eat:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Clementines
  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruit

Isn’t Citric Acid Dangerous for Dogs?

In large quantities, citric acid can be dangerous for dogs. In an orange, there isn’t much citric acid found in the fleshy parts of the fruit. Most of it is concentrated in the peel, leaves, and stems.

Your dog would have to eat a lot for it to have any real ill effects aside from general upset. However, too much citric acid can cause major nervous system depression.

So, if your dog got into a bag of oranges and you aren’t sure exactly how much they ate, contact your veterinarian for further advice.

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Dogs and Oranges: Final Thoughts

So, what do we learn? Dogs can have oranges in moderation. If you give them too many too frequently, high sugar levels can lead to obesity. Plus, the excess acid isn’t good for your pooch. Handing over a fleshy section once in a blue moon is harmless. But otherwise, you should stick to other more favorable fruit like apples, blueberries, and bananas.

Even though it’s perfectly fine for your dog to have oranges, they may show no interest in them at all. It will depend greatly on the dog as citrus fruits are too bitter or acidic for some canine palettes.


Featured Image Credit: PosiNote, Shutterstock