Oranges are a popular citrus fruit that can give your diet a fresh, healthy balance. You can enjoy them as a midday snack or pair freshly squeezed orange juice with breakfast.
But you might wonder if oranges are safe for your dog. The good news is that these tangy citrus fruits are safe for dogs in small quantities. But since it’s a fruit rich in natural sugars, you need to be aware of a few cautions before sharing this treat with your dog.
In this article, we'll talk about how to feed oranges to your dog safely and what health benefits he or she will get from eating them.
4 Amazing Health Benefits of Oranges For Dogs
Let’s first discuss some of the amazing health benefits of oranges for dogs:
1. Vitamin C Powerhouse
Oranges are widely acclaimed for their high vitamin C content. It makes them an ideal snack for sick, stressed, or aging dogs that often suffer from vitamin C deficiency.
This vitamin will help their immune system by making their white blood cells work harder and by making more antibodies, which protect their body. It will also promote joint and bone health and help prevent arthritis in older dogs.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Oranges are packed with flavonoids and carotenoids that are potent natural antioxidants. They help keep your dog protected from the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. In turn, this helps prevent a number of long-term health problems, such as lung diseases, allergies, autoimmune disorders, and heart diseases.
Even the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants help boost the dogs’ immune systems and prevent arthritis and various eye problems like cataracts.
3. Provides Soluble Fiber
Oranges are a rich source of soluble fibers that can help improve your dog’s digestive health. These fibers are fermented in your dog’s colon to produce short-chain fatty acids that feed the good bacteria and prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Furthermore, soluble fibers can also support bowel regularity by absorbing excess water in the dog’s stomach and preventing diarrhea.
4. Contains Many Minerals
Oranges can provide your dog with a variety of essential minerals. This fruit is especially rich in calcium, a mineral required for the proper growth and development of your dog’s bones, muscles, and teeth. It also supports their heart and brain health.
Additionally, oranges also contain magnesium and potassium, which work together with calcium to improve your dog’s muscle strength and bone health. These minerals also help support various other important functions in your dog’s body.
How to Feed Oranges to a Dog
Now that you’re all excited about sharing oranges with your pup, let’s discuss some suggestions about how to incorporate this fruit into their diet correctly.
The Right Portion Sizes
Oranges are a safe fruit for dogs, but only when eaten in small amounts. That’s because oranges have moderately high levels of sugar, and in the long run, consuming too much sugar can lead to many health problems, gastrointestinal upset, and weight gain. Even the acidic nature of oranges can lead to health problems for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
By limiting how many oranges your dog eats, you can make sure he gets the most benefits from them without getting sick.
Ideally, it’s recommended that treats like oranges shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. That means you can serve 1 or 2 orange slices to a small dog and 3 to 4 orange slices to a large dog, as an occasional treat. You can also consult with your veterinarian to determine the exact amount of orange slices you can add to your dog’s diet.
Also, if your dog has diabetes or another health problem, you should talk to your vet before making any changes to its diet.
What Parts of Oranges Are Safe for Dogs?
When talking about oranges, most pet owners want to know if dogs can eat orange peels. The answer is a little complicated because, while the peels aren’t toxic, they can be hard to chew and digest for a dog. These orange peels also contain some oils that can lead to upset stomachs and other gastrointestinal issues.
In most cases, when a dog accidentally eats a small amount of orange peel, they may try to vomit it up, or it might cause diarrhea.
But in some extreme cases, orange peels can get lodged in your dog’s digestive tract, causing an obstruction. This situation can be dangerous, so it is suggested you keep your dog away from orange peels.
The same goes for the orange seeds. They aren’t toxic, but they are hard to digest and can lead to stomach upset and intestinal obstruction.
The white, stringy part of the orange between the peel and fruit, called the pith, is safe for dogs. It contains many antioxidants and fiber that can be beneficial for your dog’s health.
What Types of Oranges Can Dogs Eat?
In the market, you'll find a wide variety of oranges. They are mostly distinguished based on their sizes, colors, and sweetness.
The good news is that dogs can eat all kinds of oranges, including mandarin oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, clementines, etc. But you should be mindful of the portion sizes and feed only a few slices of orange to your dog occasionally.
How to Add Oranges to a Dog’s Diet
You can simply peel and feed orange slices to your dog as a treat. But there’s a chance that your dog won’t enjoy the tart taste of oranges. In such cases, you can try some of the following quick and simple recipes if you want to add oranges to your dog's diet:
- Serve orange slices with dog-friendly yogurt
- Make popsicle sticks by blending some orange slices and other fruits like banana
- Make dog-friendly orange ice cream
- Dehydrate a few slices and serve as treat
How Not to Add Oranges to a Dog’s Diet
While fresh oranges are safe and healthy for a dog, they should be kept away from some packaged orange products. For example, orange marmalade and canned orange slices contain additional seasonings and high amounts of sugar that can be harmful in the long run.
The same goes for packed orange juice. It contains high amounts of sugar, and consuming too much sugar can lead to various health problems for your dog. You can however feed them a small amount of freshly squeezed orange juice that doesn't contain any additional ingredients.
Are There Any Dangers to Feeding Oranges to a Dog?
Oranges are safe for dogs, but they should be considered a treat that can supplement their healthy and well-balanced meal. It’s because oranges contain moderately high amounts of natural sugar, which isn’t inherently bad, but if too much sugar is eaten, it can lead to a sudden blood sugar spike, especially in diabetic dogs.
That’s why it’s also recommended that if your dog has any preexisting health conditions, you consult with a veterinarian before feeding them oranges.
Another caution is to remove the orange peels and seeds before feeding an orange slice to your dog. These parts aren’t toxic, but they are also not digestible and could lead to many health problems.
In most cases, when a dog accidentally eats a small amount of orange peel, they may try to vomit it up, or it might cause diarrhea. But if that doesn’t happen, you should look out for the following signs of intestinal blockage:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Continuous whining
- Muscle tremors and spasms
- Pain in the abdomen
If you notice any of these signs, they might indicate a blockage, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Orange is a safe and healthy fruit for a dog. It’s a vitamin C powerhouse that can have many immunity-boosting benefits for your pup. Even the antioxidants and fiber in this fruit can help a dog's digestive system and prevent several long-term health problems.
Just be careful of the portion sizes and serve only a few orange slices to your dog as an occasional treat. You can also try making delicious recipes like orange ice cream or popsicles with dog-friendly ingredients.
But if you have any more questions, you can talk to your vet before giving your dog an orange.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about feeding oranges to a dog:
1. How many oranges can a dog eat?
Depending on their size, you can serve 1 or 2 orange slices to a small dog and 3 to 4 orange slices to a large dog as an occasional treat.
You can also talk to your veterinarian to determine the right amount of oranges to feed your dog based on their health conditions and nutritional requirements.
2. Can a dog eat orange peel?
Orange peels aren't toxic for a dog, but they are hard to chew and digest. They also contain some oils that can lead to upset stomachs and other gastrointestinal issues.
If your dog accidentally eats a small amount of orange peel, they might try to vomit it up, or it might cause diarrhea.
But in some extreme cases, orange peels can get lodged in your dog’s digestive tract, causing an obstruction.
3. Can a dog have mandarin oranges?
Yes, dogs can eat all types of oranges, including mandarin oranges.
4. Can a dog with diabetes eat oranges?
Oranges contain natural sugar, which isn’t inherently bad, but it can lead to a sudden blood sugar spike, especially in diabetic dogs. That's why if your dog has diabetes you shouldn't feed them oranges or make any other changes to their diet without first talking to a vet.
5. Can a dog drink orange juice?
No, you should avoid feeding orange juice to your dog. It has a lot of sugar, and consuming too much sugar, in the long run, can lead to many health problems, gastrointestinal upset, and weight gain.