Including fruits and vegetables in your dog’s diet can improve his overall health and spice up his regular diet. We all know that citrus fruits, like oranges, is very healthy for people, but is it safe for dogs?
So, can dogs eat oranges? Yes, dogs can eat oranges in small quantities. Oranges are a good source of vitamins C, A, B6, and potassium that can boost your dog’s immune system. This citrus fruit also contains fiber and is fat-free so it can be a healthy treat. However, oranges contain sugar so feed them only occasionally.
In this article, we’ll cover all advantages and disadvantages of oranges for dogs! Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about feeding oranges to your dog.
Are Oranges Good for Dogs?
Full of beneficial nutrients and extremely tasty, oranges are completely safe for dogs to eat. Like all other citrus fruit, oranges are chock full of vitamin C that can strengthen your dog’s immune system.
But that’s not all, this juicy fruit is also a good source of vitamins B6 and A, and contains several minerals, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. High in dietary fiber, but fat-free oranges are low in calories and can be a healthy alternative for commercial treats.
Keep in mind that oranges are naturally high in sugars. While this isn’t a problem for healthy dogs, you should avoid feeding your dog oranges if he has diabetes.
Benefits of Oranges for Dogs
Despite common beliefs, the citric acids found in oranges, tangerines, and clementines, isn’t harmful or toxic to dogs. In fact, including oranges into your dog’s diet can have several health benefits, including:
1. Stronger Immune System
Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, which can strengthen your dog’s immune system and provide protection against many health problems (source). As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C promotes healing and is necessary for the development and repair of all body tissues.
2. Promote Brain & Heart Health
Oranges are also a source of vitamin B6 which your dog’s body needs for several functions. Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin B6 is important for your dog’s overall health and may even prevent chronic diseases and cancer.
Besides reducing the risk of heart disease and improving brain function, this vitamin also promotes eye health and prevents age-related eye diseases.
3 Oranges Support Good Digestion
Oranges are a great source of dietary fiber that supports digestive health. Fiber-rich foods will also give your dog a sense of fullness for longer and promote better nutrient absorption.
Eating small quantities of oranges can help regulate your dog’s stool. Furthermore, the higher fiber count supports the digestive system and may help relieve gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
4. Promotes Muscle Growth & Bone Health
Oranges are also a good source of potassium, an important mineral necessary for the healthy function of your dog’s muscles and bones. Potassium promotes the rapid growth of muscle cells which in turn creates stronger muscles.
This mineral works together with calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bones and teeth in your dog. And according to research, dogs who receive a regular dose of potassium have a higher bone density.
Side Effect of Oranges for Dogs
Oranges have many health benefits for dogs, but only when offered in small amounts and fed moderately. Eating more oranges than necessary can lead to side effects such as:
1. Upset Stomach
As a fiber-rich food, oranges can cause digestive upset if your dog eats too much in one sitting. If your dog already has a sensitive stomach, you’ll have to be extremely mindful of how much oranges you’re giving him.
Eating too many oranges can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea in some dogs. If this happens, just stop feeding oranges to your pooch and give his stomach a day to recover.
However, if diarrhea and stomach problems continue after a day, call your vet and take your dog for a checkup if necessary.
2. High Sugar Count
Oranges are rich in natural sugar which isn’t problematic for healthy dogs. However, if your dog has diabetes, eating oranges can cause a spike in his blood sugar levels.
Ideally, you should avoid feeding oranges to a diabetic dog and consider other less sugary fruits and vegetables as an alternative.
How Many Oranges Can a Dog Eat?
While oranges are healthy and completely safe, dogs can eat them as treats. A general rule is that treats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake (source).
For a smaller dog like a Chihuahua, this might be a single segment of orange a day. However, a large dog like a Labrador can eat three orange segments a day without experiencing any side effects.
Are Orange Peels Good for Dogs?
Orange peel isn’t toxic to dogs, but they can be lodged inside your dog’s intestines and cause a blockage. If this happens, your dog might need surgery to remove the blockage.
Therefore, don’t allow your dog to eat orange peels and keep unpeeled oranges out of his reach. If you want to feed oranges to your dog, remove the peel, seeds, and piths first to avoid emergency vet visits.
How to Feed Oranges to Your Dog?
There are several ways you can feed oranges to your dog. Just don’t forget to peel the skin and remove all seeds first!
Popular ways to feed oranges to dogs are:
- Feed raw orange fragments as treats
- Chop and mix an orange segment with your dog’s food
- Make homemade dog treats with orange, cranberries, and oats
- Make a healthy orange smoothie with blueberries and bananas
Note, you shouldn’t give orange juice to your dog, even if it’s freshly squeezed. Orange juice is too concentrated and is packed with natural sugars.
Juicy and sweet, oranges are safe for dogs to eat and are full of vitamins and minerals that may improve your dog’s health. As always, moderation is the key, so feed oranges to your dog as treats.
Keep in mind that oranges contain natural sugars that can cause an insulin spike, so you shouldn’t feed them to diabetic dogs. But, if your pooch is completely healthy and likes the tart taste he’ll enjoy eating oranges once in a while!