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Can I Feed My Dog Oranges?

Picture of a dog eating oranges

Dogs often want to eat the same foods they see humans eating but that doesn’t mean that all of our foods are good for dogs. You may have wondered if you can feed your dog oranges, for example. Oranges are not toxic to dogs but there are some pros and cons to giving your dog oranges.

Orange facts

Originating in ancient China, orange trees are the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. Brazil produces more oranges than any other country in the world, followed by China, India, and the United States. The sweet orange (to differentiate it from the related bitter orange fruit) is not a wild fruit. It is a hybrid cross between the pomelo and the mandarin. The hybrid sweet orange was first mentioned in China in 314 B.C. The Moors introduced the orange to Spain in the 10th century, while Italian and Portuguese merchants took sweet orange trees to Mediterranean countries in the late 15th century. The orange was soon known throughout Europe. The Spanish brought the sweet orange to the Americas. Today there are many varieties of sweet oranges which have different characteristics, some sweeter, some more acidic, some larger, and so on.

Are oranges good for your dog?

Oranges are made up of about 91 percent carbohydrates, 2 percent fat, and 7 percent protein. They are a  good source of thiamin, folate, and potassium, as well as being a very good source of vitamin C. They are also a good source of dietary fiber. Some dog foods include the pulp from oranges in their recipes as a source of fiber.

Dogs can make vitamin C in their bodies so they don’t actually need the vitamin C in an orange but some dogs enjoy the taste of oranges.

On the down side, oranges are relatively high in calories compared to other fruits and a large part of the calories in oranges come from the natural sugars in the fruit. Oranges are high in natural sugars – one of the reasons why they are sweet and taste so good. But dogs don’t really need to eat foods that have so much sugar.

Are there cautions about oranges?

If you are concerned about your dog’s weight; if he has diabetes or some other illnesses; or if he has digestive problems, you should avoid giving your dog any oranges. The high amount of natural sugar in oranges means that dogs that are overweight should avoid them. Diabetic dogs should not eat any foods, including oranges, that contain high amounts of sugar since the sugar can cause spikes in the dog’s insulin levels.

Eating too much fruit of any kind can upset a dog’s digestion so if your dog has digestive trouble, it’s a good idea to avoid eating oranges.

What about the orange peel?

Dogs should not eat orange peel or the interior white film that might be left on the orange when the fruit is peeled. You should also try to remove the seeds from any orange pieces that you give your dog. (Don’t panic if you cannot remove every single seed, but do try to remove them.) Peels and seeds are bitter and they can contain some compounds that could be harmful.

How to give your dog oranges

If your dog likes oranges (not all dogs do), remove the peel and seeds and slice the orange into small pieces. You can feed the pieces to your dog from your hand or place them in his bowl.

Most dogs can safely eat about 1-3 sections of an orange in one day but you should start out slowly. Offer your dog just one section to start to see if he likes it. This will also let you see if he has any kind of negative reaction to eating the fruit.

More than 2-3 sections of an orange could cause some stomach problems. Like other citrus fruit, oranges contain a lot of acid that can irritate the stomach of some individuals. Keep in mind the fact that oranges are high in calories compared to other fruit. You shouldn’t give your dog any treats (including fruit) that make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories.

You might want to try offering your dog slices from a navel orange since these oranges are seedless. Otherwise, be sure to remove the seeds from any piece of fruit you offer your dog, along with the peel and pith.

What about orange juice?

No, you should not give your dog orange juice. Orange juice is a concentrated source of the sugars and citric acid found in oranges so it is not good for your dog.

Conclusion

Oranges are very healthy for humans but, even though your dog might enjoy them, you need to use some caution about letting your dog eat them. High amounts of natural sugar and acid can make them a bad choice for some dogs. If your dog is able to eat oranges, keep the amount to 1-3 sections and be sure to remove the peel, seeds, and pith.

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