Sweet yet tangy, juicy, and refreshing — it’s easy to understand why oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. While citrus fruits are often well-loved by people, we don’t always think to offer some to our pups. So, today we answer the question: Can dogs eat oranges?
Short answer: Oranges aren’t toxic to dogs and can serve as a nice treat for the average canine, but moderation is a must!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 small orange (about 96 g) touts:
- Water – 83.3 g
- Calories – 45
- Protein – 0.902 g
- Total Fat – 0.115 g
- Carbohydrates – 11.3 g
- Fiber – 2.3 g
- Total Sugars – 8.98 g
- Calcium – 38.4 mg
- Iron – 0.096 mg
- Magnesium – 9.6 mg
- Phosphorus – 13.4 mg
- Potassium – 174 mg
- Selenium – 0.48 µg
- Folate – 28.8 µg
- Choline – 8.06 mg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 124 µg
- Beta Carotene – 68.2 µg
- Vitamin A – 10.6 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.058 mg
- Vitamin C – 51.1 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.173 mg
In summary, while oranges are most well known for their high vitamin C content, they’re also rich in potassium, folate, beta carotene, and vitamin A!
Benefits of Oranges
Before we dive into the benefits of oranges, I want to stress the importance of feeding in moderation. This is because of the high sugar content and acidity. Some dogs, like my toy Poodle Gigi, love oranges. My Gigi would eat slice after slice if you let her. But, it’s essential to stick with just one or two segments in one sitting. (More on this below in the Feeding Tips sections).
- Supports a Strong Immune System – Dogs’ bodies naturally produce Vitamin C on their own, so they don’t necessarily require a dietary source. However, the vitamin C in oranges, along with their other key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, do help support a strong immune system.
- Helps To Detox The Body – Some experts believe a boost of vitamin C can be beneficial for dogs if they’ve ingested a toxic substance. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine: “Vitamin C could be the most important antioxidant for the liver. Even though dogs and cats produce their own, a little extra help during a toxic exposure or a cleanse is prudent and easy.”
- May Aid Recovery – Experts say vitamin C helps the body heal wounds.
- Aids Digestion – The high water content (88%) in oranges helps to soften stool and lessen constipation. Plus, oranges are high in fiber, which is great for digestive health.
- Supports Heart Health – Fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C all offer up heart health benefits.
- May Support Brain Health – Experts say the flavonoids found in oranges have been found to help preserve cognitive function.
- Promotes Eye Health – Eyes need many types of antioxidants to stay healthy. They include lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All of these nutrients are found in oranges!
- Promotes Skin Health – Vitamin C is well known for its skin health benefits!
So, If Oranges Are Safe For Dogs, Does That Mean They Can Drink Orange Juice?
Commercial OJ is filled with added ingredients that aren’t good for dogs. Even fresh-squeezed OJ is a no-go. Orange juice is simply a concentrated version of oranges, making it even more sugary and acidic. When it comes to your dog’s beverage, stick with fresh H2O!
First things first, if your dog has diabetes or is considered overweight then avoid feeding oranges. If your pooch doesn’t fall into those categories and you want to share a bite of your orange then stick with just one or two segments per sitting. Larger breeds may be able to tolerate a few extra slices, however, it’s advised to start slow. Oranges are acidic and overfeeding can cause digestive issues, like diarrhea and vomiting.
More must-know feeding tips:
- Don’t feed the peels, as they’re rough on a dog’s digestive tract
- Don’t overfeed the pith (AKA that spongy white substance found between the peel and the flesh)
- If your orange has seeds, remove them before offering a nibble to your pup
Oranges, along with other fresh fruits and veggies, should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your veterinarian.
What About Other Citrus?
Just because oranges are considered a safe treat for the average dog, that doesn’t mean all citrus gets a green light. Lemons, for example, are not recommended since the high acidity can quickly lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are safe for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!