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Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

Updated: Mar 29

can dogs eat oranges

Can dogs eat oranges?

Every dog owner understands the joy of sharing moments with their furry family.

Whether it's a walk in the park or a quiet evening at home, these moments are even more special with a tasty treat.

But when it comes to what our dogs can eat, things aren't always as easy as they seem.

Dogs' nutritional requirements and limitations differ from those of humans. 

While we relish a variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, not all of them are safe for our canine companions.

It's essential to know what foods they can consume safely.

In this article, we delve into the world of dogs and citrus fruits, exploring the potential benefits and risks without directly answering the question - can dogs eat oranges?

So, sit back, relax, and let's embark on this informative journey together.


'While citrus fruits like mandarins and tangerines can be a source of vitamins for humans, they may not be suitable for dogs. The peels and skin of these fruits contain oils and substances that can be harmful to dogs. Always ensure any fruit given to your dog is prepared safely.' Dr Jane Barker, Canine Nutritionist


The Citrus Family and Dogs

The Citrus family is a vibrant and diverse group of fruits known for their refreshing flavours and health benefits.

This family includes tangerines, mandarins, blood oranges, satsumas, clementines, and grapefruits, each with a unique taste and nutritional profile.

But when it comes to our canine companions, we must tread carefully.

While these fruits are a source of vitamins and fibre for humans, they may not be entirely safe for dogs.

The peels of these fruits, in particular, can pose potential hazards. They are tough and can be difficult for dogs to digest, leading to gastrointestinal issues.

Moreover, the essential oils and psoralens present in the skin can be toxic for dogs, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and even depression.

Using a peeler to remove the skin might seem like an easy solution, but it's not that simple.

The flesh of some citrus fruits can still be too acidic for a dog's stomach, and the seeds might be a choking risk or cause blockages in the digestive tract.

It's also worth noting that not all citrus fruits affect dogs in the same way.

For instance, while tangerines and mandarins are generally considered less harmful, grapefruits are known to be toxic for dogs due to their high psoralen and essential oil content.

So while citrus fruits are a healthy choice for humans, they may not be suitable for dogs. 

Safe Consumption of Citrus Fruits

Interactions between dogs and citrus fruits can be quite varied.

Some dogs might be intrigued by the bright colours and unique smells, while the strong, tangy aroma might deter others.

However, the key to any interaction between dogs and citrus fruits lies in the word 'safely'.

While we've established that certain parts of citrus fruits can be harmful to dogs, it's also important to note that every dog is unique.

Some dogs might be able to consume small amounts of certain citrus fruits without any adverse effects, while others might have a negative reaction.

If a dog owner and pet parent decides to let their small dog try citrus fruits, it should be done under close supervision.

The fruit should be thoroughly washed to remove any pesticides or chemicals on the skin.

Any seeds, stems, leaves, and especially the peel should be removed to reduce the risk of choking or ingesting potentially harmful substances.

The fruit should then be cut into small, manageable pieces to further reduce the risk of choking.

Gradually adding new foods to a dog's diet is also essential; start with very modest amounts and watch for any indications of an allergic response or unsettled stomach.

While dogs can interact with citrus fruits, it must be done safely and responsibly, keeping the dog's best interests at heart.


'Every dog is unique. Some might show interest in citrus fruits, while others might not. It's essential to respect their preferences and ensure their safety at all times.' Dr Emily White, Animal Behaviourist


Case Studies

Let's explore some hypothetical scenarios to better understand the interaction between dogs and citrus fruits. These stories will help us visualise the potential outcomes and precautions necessary when dealing with dogs and citrus fruits.

Bella and the Tangerine

Bella, a playful Lhasa Apso, comes across a tangerine for the first time. Her owner, aware of the potential risks, ensures that the tangerine is fresh and prepares it safely.

The peel is removed, the seeds are taken out, and the fruit is cut into small pieces.

Bella is given a small piece to try. She seems to enjoy the new taste and has no immediate adverse reactions.

Over the next few days, her owner monitors Bella for any discomfort but finds none.

Max and the Mandarin 

Max, a curious Bichon Frise, is introduced to a mandarin. His owner follows a similar safe and easy preparation process as in Bella's case.

Max, however, shows no interest in the mandarin. He sniffs it but doesn't attempt to eat it.

His owner doesn't force him and removes the fruit, understanding that not all dogs may like the smell or taste of citrus fruits.

Daisy and the Grapefruit 

Daisy, a small Shih Tzu, encounters a grapefruit. Having done some research, her owner knows that grapefruits are not safe for dogs.

Despite Daisy's interest in the fresh fruit, her owner distracts her with a dog-safe treat instead.

This case highlights the importance of knowing which fruits are safe for dogs and being vigilant about what they have access to.

These case studies remind us that while dogs can interact with citrus fruits, it must be done cautiously. 

Citrus Fruits and Canine Health

Citrus fruits are known for their high nutritional content.

They are loaded with vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and other nutrients like fibre and antioxidants.

However, the impact of these nutrients on a dog's health can be quite different from their impact on human health.

Firstly, unlike humans, dogs can produce their own vitamin C, so they don't need it from their diet.

While a fresh orange or tangerine might seem like a good source of vitamin C for us, it's not necessary for our canine friends. Too much vitamin C can cause digestive issues in dogs.

Secondly, the high sugar content in citrus fruits can be problematic for dogs.

Dogs don't process sugar the same way humans do. Overeating sugar may well cause obesity and other health problems in dogs, including blood sugar imbalances and diabetes.

Thirdly, the acidity of citrus fruits can cause upset stomachs in dogs.

While a small amount of citrus fruit might not cause any issues, larger quantities can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, or even more severe conditions like pancreatitis.

It's also important to note that the peels and seeds of citrus fruits can pose additional risks. They may result in intestinal obstructions or choking, and the oils in the peels can be toxic to dogs.

So, while citrus fruits are nutritious for humans, they should be given to dogs cautiously. Remember, what's healthy for us might not be healthy for our furry friends.

Alternatives to Citrus Fruits

While citrus fruits might not be the best choice for our canine friends, plenty of other fruits and treats are safe and healthy for small breed dogs.

These alternatives can provide the nutritional benefits that citrus fruits offer to humans without the associated risks.


Apples are an excellent dietary fibre source.

They contain vitamins A and C. They're a simple and healthful dog treat because they're low in fat and protein.

Remember to remove the seeds and core when giving your dog an apple since these may be dangerous.


Bananas are high in vitamins, fibre, potassium, and biotin.

They're also low in cholesterol and sodium. However, due to their high sugar content, they should be given as a treat, not a regular part of your dog's diet.


Dogs can benefit from the antioxidant-rich superfood blueberries. They're a great, easy alternative to citrus fruits.


Carrots are low in calories and high in fibre and vitamins. They're good for a dog's teeth and make an easy and crunchy treat.


Cucumbers are a safe and hydrating snack for dogs. They contain little to no fats, oils, or carbs, so they are particularly beneficial for overweight dogs.


Vitamin C and fibre content are high in pears. As with apples, remove the pit and seeds before giving a pear to your dog.


Watermelon is full of vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as potassium. It's also hydrating due to its high water content. Remember to remove the seeds and rind.

Remember, even safe fruits and treats should be introduced gradually into a dog's diet and in moderation. 

Understanding Your Dog's Dietary Needs

Understanding your dog's dietary needs is fundamental to responsible pet ownership.

Like us, dogs also need a balanced diet to be healthy.

However, a dog's nutritional requirements might differ significantly from our own, and certain things that are good for us may not be suitable for dogs.

One example is the peels or skin of certain fruits, including those from the citrus family.

While we can easily consume and digest these, they can pose a risk to dogs.

Dogs may find it difficult to digest the peels, potentially leading to gastrointestinal issues.

Moreover, the essential oils and other substances present in the skin can be toxic to dogs.

Therefore, it's crucial always to prepare food for your dog safely. This food safety includes:

  • Thoroughly washing fruits to remove any pesticides or chemicals.

  • Removing the peels and seeds.

  • Cutting the fruit into small, manageable pieces to prevent choking.

It's also important to introduce any new food gradually and watch for any negative responses in your dog.

However, a dog's diet should not be based solely on what they should avoid.

It's equally important to know what they should eat.

Dogs need a balanced diet rich in fats, proteins, and carbs in addition to specific vitamins and minerals.

A balanced diet can be achieved through high-quality commercial dog food and certain safe fruits and vegetables.

It's also worth noting that a dog's dietary needs can vary based on their age, breed, size, and health condition.

Puppies, for example, require more fat and protein to promote their growth and development.

In contrast, elderly dogs might need a diet higher in fibre but lower in calories.

The secret to maintaining the health and pleasure of your dog is to be aware of their dietary requirements and constraints.

For individualised diet recommendations for your dog, always see a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.

The Role of Veterinarians and Dog Nutritionists

Veterinarians and canine nutritionists are crucial in determining a dog's diet.

Their knowledge and direction can guarantee that your dog is fed a healthy diet tailored to their requirements.

Veterinarians are doctors with a focus on the health of animals.

Dogs with various health issues, particularly those connected to nutrition, can be diagnosed and treated by them.

For example, suppose a dog consumes the peels or skin of a citrus fruit and experiences an adverse reaction. In that case, a veterinarian can provide appropriate treatment.

They can also conduct blood tests to monitor a dog's health and detect potential diet-related issues.

Canine nutritionists, on the other hand, specialise in dog nutrition.

They understand the nutritional needs of dogs at different stages of life and can provide tailored diet plans to meet these needs.

They can advise on the safe foods for dogs to consume and how to safely prepare them.

For example, they can guide you on how to safely introduce new foods into a dog's diet and how to balance the different components of a dog's diet.

Veterinarians and canine nutritionists can provide valuable advice on feeding practices, portion sizes, and dietary supplements.

They can also offer appropriate substitutes and assist in identifying dietary sensitivities or intolerances.

Maintaining the health and welfare of your dog depends heavily on veterinary specialists and dog nutritionists.

Regular veterinary examinations and discussions with a canine nutritionist can help support your dog's health and avoid diet-related problems.

faqs can dogs eat oranges


Can dogs eat oranges?

Not every fruit or vegetable is suitable for canines. Can they eat oranges? Veterinarians say yes, but in small amounts.

Potassium, fibre, and other essential vitamins and minerals abound in oranges.

They are low in salt, which, when consumed in moderation—perhaps one or two pieces per day—makes them a nutritious snack.

Vitamin C, which is high in this fruit, helps strengthen your dog's immune system.

Hazards of Oranges for Dogs

Dogs may safely consume oranges, but you should consider a few things before giving your dog an orange as a snack.

First, if your dog consumes too many oranges, their stomach may be irritated due to the modest sugar level.

It's always a good idea to start slow when giving your dog oranges to observe how their stomach responds. Peeling the orange and ensuring all the seeds are out are essential steps.

If you see any strange behaviour in your dog, immediately stop giving them oranges.

Limit the amount of oranges and other treats given to them.

Your dog's daily meal intake should not exceed 10% of calorie intake even if they like the fruit and exhibit no adverse symptoms.

Reducing the amount of treats they eat will assist in avoiding an upset stomach and your dog's weight increase.

Only some dogs are fond of the sharp flavour of oranges or the overpowering scent of citrus.

Any food you place in front of other dogs will be consumed, including the fruit and peel.

Although orange peels are not poisonous, they can clog your dog's digestive tract and cause them to need surgery.

For those reasons, keeping oranges out of your dog's reach is advisable.

Are Oranges Good for Dogs?

Yes! Orange flesh is rich in nutrients that are beneficial to your dog's health. Among these nutrients are: 

Potassium: Kidney function depends on this mineral. Additionally, potassium helps dogs' hearts, muscles, and digestive systems.


Fibre: Fibre aids in the maintenance of a balanced, healthy digestive system in dogs. In addition, it helps lower inflammation and maintains colon health and bowel regulation. 

Vitamin C: Since dogs' livers can produce it, they typically don't need to eat it. Nevertheless, diets high in vitamin C may benefit dogs.

The antioxidants support a robust immune system. In moderation, all these nutrients can help your dog.

How Much of an Orange Can Dogs Eat?

According to Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS, "Oranges should be considered treats.

Therefore, they shouldn't account for more than 10% of the dog's daily caloric intake. One to three orange slices would be appropriate for most dogs."

Can Oranges Be Bad for Dogs?

The main concern when giving oranges to dogs is the sugar content. Oranges come with natural sugars, which is what makes them so tasty for dogs and people alike.  

Sugar means calories, so owners of overweight dogs should treat them with a lower-calorie snack option. Diabetic dogs should not eat oranges, as it can cause a spike in their insulin levels.  

Pet parents should also make sure to remove all seeds from the orange.

Orange seeds contain trace amounts of a toxic chemical known as cyanide. While eating a few orange seeds poses little risk to a dog, removing them from the orange before feeding is best.  

Also, citrus fruit contains a lot of acids. This may result in nausea, vomiting, or digestive problems, including diarrhoea.

Try no more than one orange section a day. Wait and watch. If you don't see any side effects, pet owners can give their dogs a little more. 

Can Dogs Eat Orange Peels?

No. Oranges, for dogs, are only beneficial when you feed them the fleshy part of the fruit. Like orange seeds, orange peels may contain toxic compounds that are harmful to dogs.  

Orange peels can also be difficult on a dog's digestive system.

In extreme cases, orange peels may cause a blockage that requires surgery. Remove the peel, seeds and white film on the orange's flesh to be safe. 

Can Dogs Drink Orange Juice?

No. Carbo-Johnson states that "orange juice is not recommended for your dog."

"Your dog may suffer injuries from the high sugars and citric acid in the juice. The greatest approach to keep your dog hydrated is to give them water."

How Should I Introduce Oranges to My Dog?

All citrus fruits are acidic, which can upset your dog's digestive system.

If you feed them a little orange flesh, limit the amount and introduce your dog to it slowly.

Do not give your dog orange juice to drink. It's full of sugar and too acidic for dogs.

Can dogs eat oranges or tangerines? 

While dogs aren't typically allergic to oranges or tangerines, these fruits contain a high amount of sugar and citric acid, which can cause an upset stomach.

Therefore, it's generally recommended to limit their consumption.

Can dogs have oranges? 

Dogs can technically eat oranges in small amounts. However, due to the high sugar content, they're not the best choice for a regular treat.

Can dogs eat orange peels? 

Orange peels aren't recommended for dogs. They contain oils that can disrupt the digestive system and can be challenging to digest.

Can dogs eat mandarin oranges? 

Similar to regular oranges, mandarins are safe for dogs to consume in moderation. However, their high sugar content means they should be given sparingly.

Can dogs eat easy peeler oranges? 

The "easy peel" variety of oranges can be given to dogs, but only the flesh part.

As with other orange varieties, the peel should be removed since it can be difficult for dogs to digest and may contain oils that could be toxic to them.


'It's crucial to remember that dogs have different dietary needs and tolerances than humans. What's healthy for us might not be healthy for them. For instance, the high sugar content in citrus fruits can lead to health issues in dogs, including blood sugar imbalances.' Dr Richard Fox, Veterinarian


Final Thoughts and Recommendations

As we reach the end of this comprehensive exploration into the world of dogs and citrus fruits, it's time to summarise our findings and provide some final recommendations for dog owners.

First, it's evident that although citrus fruits are a fresh and healthful option for us, our dog friends could not benefit from them.

Certain citrus fruits have meat that is too acidic for a dog's stomach, and their peels and skin may be dangerous. As a result, it's imperative that you always safely prepare food for your dog.

Second, maintaining your dog's health and happiness requires knowing their nutritional requirements and constraints.

Every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

It's always best to consult with a vet or a canine nutritionist or do your research before giving your dog any more new food in their diet. 

Thirdly, there are plenty of safe and healthy alternatives to citrus fruits that dogs can enjoy.

Apples, bananas, blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, pears, and watermelon are all easy and safe options that can provide the nutritional benefits that citrus fruits offer humans without the associated risks.

While the world of dogs and citrus fruits is complex, it's also fascinating.

As responsible pet owners, it's our duty to ensure that our furry friends are fed a balanced and safe diet. Always remember, what's healthy for us might not be healthy for them.

So, let's continue to learn, explore, and make informed decisions for the well-being of our beloved small dogs.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

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Mary Puppins can dogs eat oranges

Mary Puppins can dogs eat oranges

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Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny, an expert in small breed dogs and a pet parent to her own beloved small dogs.

With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families,

Kate shares her top tips with you.

Kate guides readers on small dog breeds, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate lifestyle for their small dogs.




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