So, your dog loves themselves some fruit, huh? Besides going crazy for watermelon, bananas and strawberries, dogs are known to go ballistic over some oranges whenever given the chance.
But you’re here because you’re a responsible dog owner that refuses to feed their dog any food before doing their research on the subject and making sure it’s 100% safe for Fido, so good on you for doing that!
So, can dogs eat oranges? Or will something bad happen to them if they do so?
Can Dogs Eat Oranges?
The short answer to this question is, YES, dogs can indeed eat oranges and do so safely and it will not cause them any harm, although they don’t really serve any extra benefit to your dog’s diet or overall nutritional profile.
The only NO when it comes to feeding your dog oranges is when when your dog has a specific medical situation, as we will be discussing in this article in a few moments.
If you were searching about whether or not your dog can eat oranges because someone told you that oranges (just like tangerines and clementines) contain high levels of citric acid that will be harmful to your dog, this statement is not true at all.
For any level of citric acid found in oranges to pose danger to your dog’s health, you’ll have to feed them a truckload of oranges in a day’s time for that to happen.
However, if you were searching about whether or not dogs can eat oranges because of the high levels of Vitamin C they contain, we’ll be talking about that in just a few.
Why Should Dogs Eat Oranges?
Even though oranges are rich in Vitamin C, and we know for a fact that Vitamin C has a tremendous effect on us humans, there really isn’t that much of ground-thumping research that shows that your dog needs this vitamin and it would benefit them substantially.
There do exist some minor studies though that claim that Vitamin C does indeed benefit your dog’s overall health, especially when you exercise them on a day to day basis.
These studies also talk about Vitamin C improving your dog’s immune system, which means your dog will lead a healthier and longer life.
Whether or not the Vitamin C in oranges benefit your dog or not, this isn’t really the issue here.
Just know that as long as you’re feeding your dog a high quality diet that’s focused around premium, high quality dog food products that have the right ingredients in them, your dog will be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from these dog food products and won’t be needing any supplementation for certain vitamins or minerals from any fruit out there.
Either way, the last thing you should ever be worried about is your dog getting Vitamin C overdose from eating oranges, because there is no maximum amount of Vitamin C beyond which toxicity will occur in your dog’s system if you don’t deliberately overfeed them.
Your dog can have all the Vitamin C it wants, their body will get rid of any excess levels of Vitamin C it deems unneeded through their urine, and no excess levels of Vitamin C will be building up inside their system and posing any kind of health risk.
More often than not, your dog wants to eat the orange because they just love it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. If it benefits them then it does, if not then oh well, life goes on!
How Much Oranges Can My Dog Have?
First thing’s first, every dog owner should have a general picture and overview about their dog’s overall diet. And, as with any other food or fruit, an orange should be calculated as part of the bigger picture.
One other thing to be aware of is that you should only feed your dog oranges in controlled moderation.
Don’t forget that oranges taste real good because of the natural sugars they contain, and if you offer them to your dog in large quantities, you’re setting them up for some serious sugar addiction!
Moreover, oranges (much due to the high levels of sugar they contain) can become a cause of diarrhea in your dog if they eat too much of them all at once.
Feed your dog too much sugar during the day, even if this sugar was as natural as it gets coming from fruit, and that’s just a recipe for gastrointestinal upset.
However, it must be said that with all this natural sugar that your dog will be getting from eating oranges, they’ll also be getting decent amounts of fiber as well, because oranges are high in fiber.
So, you don’t have to worry about a drastic increase in your dog’s blood sugar levels when you feed them a slice or two of oranges, it’s all under control.
Also, all this extra food will be adding up to their daily caloric intake and will be slowly yet surely making them overweight.
So, what’s the ideal quantity when it comes to your dog eating oranges?
1 to 2 segments of oranges per day given to Fido as something like a treat or a reward seems to do the trick, as suggested by professional veterinarians.
Whenever you do indeed decide to feed your dog some slices of orange, be a responsible dog owner and try to notice if any weird stuff goes on, such your dog behaving differently than they used to, unusual bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea) or them refusing to eat as much as they used to, as any/all of these signs (and more) could be signaling that you should stop feeding your dog orange slices.
When Are Oranges Bad For Dogs?
One of the biggest no-nos when it comes to feeding your dog oranges is if your dog suffers from diabetes.
Because the sugar and the Vitamin C in the orange itself can affect blood values in diabetic dogs and cause you a whole new world of problems.
So, if your dog suffers from diabetes, keep them away from oranges!
You should also avoid feeding your dog any oranges when they’re still a young, growing puppy that hasn’t fully developed yet.
When your dog is still a young puppy, they need a special diet and special dog food that has been specifically formulated for young, growing puppies, and they definitely don’t need to be messing around with all these acidity levels and whatnot that are found in oranges.
If an orange could cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems in your fully grown, adult dog, then just imagine what kind of digestive problems it has the potential to cause in your tiny, young and growing puppy that has a much more sensitive stomach that hasn’t fully developed yet!
Before your puppy is a fully mature and grown up dog, you should only be following your veterinarian’s guidelines about what diet to feed them, and definitely shouldn’t be experimenting around here and there with some fruits and vegetables on the side. It’s just not worth it.
What About Orange Peels/Rinds?
When it comes to feeding your dog orange peels (also known as orange rinds), this is also a big no-no.
Whether your dog suffers from any medical conditions or not, the answer is still the same, a big, fat NO.
For diabetic dogs, orange peels also contain a large amount of Vitamin C, which we already established can be dangerous to diabetic dogs.
As for non-diabetic and medical-condition-free dogs, feeding them orange peels is also not recommended, due to the difficulty in your dog’s digestive system digesting them properly, which could potentially lead to upsetting their stomach and a whole bunch of digestive problems you don’t want to deal with.
(Also Read: Why Lemon Peel Is Bad For Dogs)
So immediately do away with any orange peels before you feed any oranges to your dog, as even though they aren’t exactly toxic or poisonous to dogs (such as excess sodium levels), they don’t really have any health benefits to offer your dog, and can only offer them (and you as their owner) a whole lot of digestive problems to deal with.
A Note About Orange Seeds
This is a very important topic I don’t see being emphasized nearly enough by people who answer the question of whether dogs can eat oranges or not.
Whenever you feed your dog an orange, make sure to take out the seeds contained inside before you do so!
Seeds can pose a toxicity problem to your dog if they eat them, so make sure to take them out of the orange before you give it to them.
If you’re worried about your dog mistakenly eating seeds with any oranges they eat for some reason, then try restricting their access to oranges and try to give them easier access to other similar yet seedless fruits such as apples, cantaloupe and blueberries, just to name a few alternatives.
The Final Verdict
So, in conclusion, can dogs eat oranges? This one gets a yes from us, even though we will say again that there’s not much of an added health benefit you’ll be giving your dog if you do so that they’re not already getting from a diet that focuses on high quality, premium dog food.
As long as the overall diet of your dog is in check, and they don’t suffer from any medical condition that requires them to stay far away from oranges, feeding your dog an orange every once in a while is no reason for you to worry.
However, don’t think of oranges as anything more than a small treat that you could be giving your dog in the form of a slice or two every now and then to make ’em happy!
If you start to think about feeding your dog oranges for supplementation or health benefits, that’s when you start to give them too much of it and that’s where the problems begin to form.