Can Dogs Eat Oranges? Effects of Oranges for Dogs as a Dog Food

can dogs eat oranges

Dogs can eat oranges safely because they are non-toxic to dogs. Dog owners can give dogs occasional orange treats, but they must keep moderation in mind and give them the juicy flesh of the orange only. Oranges are very rich in nutrients and offer many health benefits for dogs.

Dogs can benefit from the high levels of soluble fiber in oranges, as well as their low calories. An added dietary bonus for dogs is the powerful punch of potassium and the antioxidants provided by high vitamin C levels.

What are the Benefits of Oranges for Dogs?

Oranges make healthy snacks for dogs. They’re low in sodium but high in necessary nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and manganese. 

The benefits of Oranges for dogs are listed below:

  • Cardiovascular health: Oranges benefit a dog’s cardiovascular health. Oranges contain high potassium levels, a mineral that regulates dogs’ blood pressure levels and cholesterol. Potassium in oranges also regulates a pup’s blood sugar and stabilizes its neural function.
  • Lower cholesterol and digestion: The soluble fiber in oranges helps keep dogs’ digestion healthy and bowel movements regular. If a dog suffers from high cholesterol, then oranges may be the best natural remedy. High cholesterol results from Hyperlipidemia, involving too many lipids in the blood, one of which is cholesterol. A low-fat diet with lots of fiber is recommended to reduce blood lipids.
  • Blood circulation: A dog’s blood circulation benefits from the high levels of vitamin C in oranges that promote iron absorption.
  • Improved eyesight: Vitamin C in oranges plays a significant role in improving dogs’ eyesight. The abundance of vitamins in ripe oranges lowers the risk of eye-related issues in dogs and delays age-related macular degeneration. Many vision problems in dogs, like cataracts and night blindness, result from insufficient vitamin C in canine diets.
  • Healthy skin and coat: A dog needs vitamins C for healthy skin and coat. The powerful antioxidant Beta-carotene prevents oxidative damage and helps with maintaining healthy skin and coat.
  • Enhanced immunity: Oranges boost dogs’ immune systems. Oranges are packed with phytochemical lycopene, primarily present in the flesh of the orange. This powerful antioxidant helps the body produce vitamin A, which plays a significant role in overall dog health. Lycopene also reduces stroke and heart disease risks and helps with strong bones and joints.

How Can Oranges Harm Dogs?

The harm oranges can cause to dogs are listed below:

  • Cyanide poisoning: A dog can be affected by the small amounts of cyanide in orange seeds. Although a few pips will not affect the dog, multiple seeds could poison the dog. The peels of the orange are not toxic, but dogs have difficulty digesting orange peels.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Some dogs have sensitivities to acidic foods. Dogs with gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux might have problems when they eat oranges. Discussing such matters with a vet is advisable before giving a pup new types of human foods.
  • Allergies: Feeding a dog human food will always include allergy risks. Oranges are not known to trigger allergic reactions in dogs. However, it is not something to disregard because severe allergies could be fatal.
  • Dental decay: The high acidity, coupled with the sugar content in oranges, can cause teeth decay in dogs whose owners give them too many orange treats.

When Should a Dog Eat Oranges?

Dogs can eat oranges at any time, regardless of the time of day, and at any age.

Puppies can benefit from the nutrients in oranges for building strong bones and teeth and also a strong immune system.

Older dogs benefit from several nutrients in oranges that slow down cognitive decline and macular degeneration that affects older dogs’ eyesight.

Bedtime is a good time for orange treats for all dogs. Oranges contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that increases the brain’s production of the super sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. 

After strenuous exercise, a dog can benefit from an orange treat. Under such circumstances, a dog’s liver might need some help producing additional Vitamin C.

How Many Orange Segments Can a Dog Eat per Day?

The amount of oranges a dog can have per day depends on the dog’s size, age, and overall health condition. The general rule is that smaller dogs should eat fewer oranges than a large dog and that an orange treat should not exceed 10% of the pup’s daily calorie intake.

Veterinarians typically suggest one segment for small dogs, two or three for a medium-sized dog, and half an orange for a large dog. However, large active dogs could even get a whole medium-sized peeled orange occasionally. 

The reason for not giving a large dog a whole orange every day is the high sugar content that can pose a health risk. Dogs who get too many orange treats can develop abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues. However, vitamin C is water-soluble, which allows the dog’s body to flush out excessive amounts of vitamin C.

How to calculate a safe daily portion of Orange for a dog

Approximate Daily Caloric Needs for Average Dogs

Dog’s Weight

Total Calories per Day – Including Treats

Allowed Calories of all Treats per Day

10 lbs.

200 to 275 calories

20 to 27 calories

20 lbs

325 to 400 calories

32 to 40 calories

50 lbs

700 to 900 calories

70 to 90 calories

70 lbs

900 to 1050 calories

90 to 105 calories

90 lbs

1100 to 1350 calories

110 to 135 calories

A medium-sized orange (5.5 oz) contains about 60 calories.

Using this table could help dog owners determine how to ensure treats are healthy additives for their dogs and not just ways to spoil a dog and possibly cause weight gain or other health problems.

Even though oranges are packed with nutrients that can benefit a dog, giving them to the dog for the first time requires caution. Test the dog’s reaction, and if the dog has no adverse reactions, a weekly orange treat might be beneficial for a dog’s health.

Which Nutrients in Oranges are Beneficial for Dogs’ Health?

The nutrients in oranges that are beneficial for dogs’ health are listed below:

  • Vitamin C: For dogs, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant searching out and eliminating free radicals that can damage cells. It also supports the dog’s immune system by reducing inflammation, fighting some cancers, and reducing cognitive aging.  
  • Synthesized Vitamin C: Dogs’ livers synthesize Vitamin C naturally, but the livers of dogs with acute anxiety or extreme activity levels might not be able to keep up. That is when dog owners can give orange treats to supplement vitamin C that will benefit the dogs.
  • Vitamin A: Oranges contain high levels of beta-carotene, which promotes dogs’ eyesight and healthy vision. Once beta-carotene enters the dog’s body, it changes into Vitamin A to support a dog’s cell function, immune and reproductive system.
  • Potassium: A dog’s kidneys need potassium to function normally. It also supports efficient heart function, muscle function, and a healthy digestive system. Insufficient potassium levels in dogs could lead to Arrhythmia, which involves an abnormal heartbeat rhythm.
  • Lycopene and beta carotene: These are carotenoids that are invaluable for a dog’s health. When dogs eat oranges, these powerful antioxidants help prevent cell damage by free radicals. Lycopene and beta carotene are also believed to reduce stroke and heart disease risks in dogs.
  • Dietary Fiber: Fiber is essential in a pup’s diet to ensure regular bowel movements. While helping things move along in the dog’s digestive system, fiber keeps a dog feeling full longer after eating, helping to maintain a dog’s weight. One more fiber-related benefit for dogs is how it slows digestion to prevent sudden dropping or spiking in blood sugar.
  • Moderate natural sugar: Dogs are not exposed to excessive amounts of sugar when they eat oranges. Along with the necessary vitamins and minerals listed above, it is worth noting that oranges have moderate sugar content. Be cautious when giving a diabetic dog orange treats because it could raise blood sugar and lead to obesity.

Dogs get other beneficial nutrients from oranges, including B-complex vitamins, citric acid, and the powerful antioxidants phenolic and carotenoid. 

A nutritional profile of a 4-ounce Orange is listed below:

  • Calories 73
  • Calcium 60.2 mg
  • Protein 1.3 g
  • Sugar 12 g
  • Carbs 16.5 g
  • Fat 0.2 g
  • Fiber 2.8 g
  • Water 95%
  • Sodium 13 mg
  • Potassium 232 mg
  • Vitamin C 82.7 mg

Is the Vitamin C in Oranges Good for Dogs?

Vitamin C in oranges is good for dogs. Dogs use their livers to produce vitamin C to help them stay healthy. Although they might not need supplemental vitamin C, an occasional orange treat can be beneficial.

Can Dogs of All Sizes and Breeds Eat Oranges?

All dogs can eat orange treats. However, the size and breed of a dog might affect the digestion of the orange. Large breeds like German Shepherds or Huskies will tolerate the digestion of more orange treats than small breeds like Pomeranians and Yorkies. 

Giving the small breed the same amount as the large dogs could cause stomach problems for the smaller doggies. Another reason for providing the smaller dogs less orange treats is the sugar and calorie intake that would be too much for them.

What Nutrients in Oranges are Harmful to Dogs’ Health?

The harmful contents of oranges that can adversely affect dogs are listed below:

  • Sugar: Oranges have high natural sugar levels. While that might make oranges a favorite treat, excessive amounts of sugar also mean excessive calories. Allowing a dog to overeat oranges could gain weight, and that might lead to obesity. Furthermore, too many sweet treats could cause blood sugar spikes in dogs with diabetes.
  • Acid: Dogs can be harmed by too much acid from overeating orange treats. Vomiting or diarrhea could follow. It is always a good idea to start any new treats gradually and keep a lookout for adverse reactions.

Can Oranges Affect a Dog’s Mood?

Yes, oranges can affect a dog’s mood. Oranges and other citrus fruits are known as mood-boosters. The high vitamin C levels of oranges help the dog’s body absorb iron, which plays a significant role in transporting oxygen throughout the dog’s body. Inefficient iron causes oxygen deficiency, which causes fatigue. However, with the help of vitamin C, the negative impact on the dog’s mood is reversed.

Can Baby Dogs (Puppies) Eat Oranges?

Yes, puppies can eat Oranges, but in small portions. Their immune systems are still developing, and puppies are more susceptible to gastrointestinal issues. Oranges can help a puppy build a healthy body but use caution when introducing a puppy to oranges.

Puppies might take time to get used to the texture and taste of oranges, and they might turn away from a fresh orange treat. Nevertheless, the benefits of extra fiber, minerals, and vitamins in oranges for baby dogs can be equally valuable if the orange treats are mixed into their food.

Can Old Dogs Eat Oranges?

Yes, older dogs can eat oranges. Several of the nutrients in oranges are particularly beneficial for senior dogs. Vitamin C in oranges optimizes the immune systems of dogs and reduces inflammation risks. Additional vitamin C benefits for old dogs include fighting some cancers and slowing down cognitive decline.

Senior dogs can further benefit from the vitamin A in orange treats. Many older dogs experience macular degeneration, which affects the retina’s central area. Aging dogs could experience mild vision impairment, night blindness, and even complete loss of vision. However, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant in oranges that could prevent or slow down macular degeneration in old dogs. However, older dogs with Arrhythmia should not eat orange treats unless approved by the vet.

Should Different Dog Breeds Eat Different Amounts of Oranges?

All dog breeds can eat oranges in amounts to suit their size and health condition. Too many oranges could cause gastrointestinal problems in any dog breed.

A small Jack Russel Terrier weighing 12 pounds or less can have two to three sections of orange, which is about 20 calories.

Bulldogs weighing about 50 pounds can eat one medium-sized orange totaling 60 to 80 calories.

A Rottweiler weighing about 90 pounds can safely eat 2 ½  4-ounce oranges.

Dogs should not be given orange peel and seeds.

For Which Dog Breeds are Oranges More Beneficial?

Oranges are not more beneficial for some dog breeds.

For Which Dog Breeds are Oranges Less Beneficial?

Oranges are not less beneficial for some dog breeds.

Which Orange Recipes and Parts Can Be Eaten Safely by Dogs?

Dogs can eat the flesh of oranges. Even though the peels of oranges and seeds are not toxic to dogs, digesting them might be a problem. Orange seeds contain only trace amounts of cyanide, and while two or three will not cause problems, dogs who ingest more than a few could suffer cyanide poisoning-like symptoms. Therefore, keeping orange peels and pips away from dogs is best.

Dog owners might not be aware that, although the orange outer peel causes GI problems, the pith, the white layer between the orange’s flesh and the peel, is the most nutritional part of the orange. The pith contains most of the fiber and antioxidants, valuable nutrients for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Orange Peel Safely?

No, dogs can’t eat orange peels safely. They are not toxic but very difficult for dogs to digest. Orange peels can also pose blockage or choking risks for dogs. Additionally, the citrus oil in the orange peels can cause serious gastrointestinal problems for dogs. It could cause diarrhea and vomiting, which could, in turn, cause dogs to become dehydrated.

Can Dogs Eat Mandarin Oranges Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat Mandarin oranges safely. Mandarin oranges are not toxic to dogs. However, canine digestive systems aren’t designed for digesting citrus fruits. Any dog whose owner shares too many orange treats will likely experience stomach upset. Diabetic dogs should be given safer treats because the sugar levels of the mandarins may cause harm to the dog.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Oranges Safely?

No dogs cannot eat canned oranges safely. Fruit canned in syrup typically contains preservatives and sugar or the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Orange Pie Safely?

Yes and no. Orange pie can be harmful to dogs because of the butter, sugar, and other ingredients which can harm a dog. However, a homemade orange pie with the canine in mind could be safe. When making the orange pie, avoid processed products like canned oranges with preservatives. Limit the fat and sugar in the pastry, and the owner and dog can share a healthy orange pie.

Can Dogs Eat Dried Oranges Safely?

Yes and no.  Dog owners should avoid giving their pups store-bought dried oranges because they typically contain extra sugar, salt, and preservatives, all of which can harm a dog. However, drying thin slices of peeled orange on parchment paper can provide an excellent, healthy snack for doggies.

Can Dogs Drink Orange Juice Safely?

No, dogs cannot drink orange juice. Even 100% pure orange juice is dangerous. This is because its high concentration of citric acid and sugar could be too much for a dog’s system to handle. Small amounts of pure orange juice can be used when making homemade treats for dogs, which would not be concentrated enough to cause health problems.

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Oranges Safely?

Yes, a dog can eat frozen oranges safely. However, be cautious when giving a puppy or a small breed dog like a Chihuahua frozen orange treat. Because they are hard, they could pose a choking hazard.

Can Dogs Eat Orange Cake Safely?

Yes and no. Dogs can only eat orange cake safely if it is homemade with the dog’s health in mind. Cakes for humans typically contain lots of sugar, butter, wheat flour, and other ingredients that provide no benefits for canines. A small bite of orange cake baked for humans would not be harmful, but too much could be too rich for a doggy. Weight gain and tooth decay are only two of the many adverse consequences of giving a dog too much orange cake.

Can Dogs Eat Orange Chicken Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat orange chicken safely. However, it would not be safe if the orange chicken was a pre-packed meal or a Panda Express takeout. Such meals are typically overloaded with calories, sugar and fat. Such meals for pups would soon have them gaining weight and on their way to obesity. Too many fatty treats could even lead to pancreatitis, which is a life-threatening disease.

Can Dogs Eat Orange Ice Cream Safely?

No, dogs cannot eat orange ice cream safely. Fruit-flavored ice cream typically contains artificial flavorings, which could harm a dog. Furthermore, the toxic artificial sweetener might be an ingredient. Many dogs are lactose intolerant, making any dairy product containing treats dangerous. 

Which Dog Food Brands Add Oranges to their Dog Foods?

There are no commercial dog foods containing oranges currently, but multiple recipes for homemade orange treats.

Can Eating Oranges Cause Diseases in Dogs?

Yes, oranges can cause adverse health to dogs, not necessarily diseases but preventable health issues. The common adverse reactions are listed below:

  • Puppies are prone to stomach upsets if oranges are not gradually introduced. Young dogs’ immune systems take time to develop, and they could experience gastrointestinal problems.
  • Dogs with gastroenteritis or other GI problems should not receive orange treats that can aggravate stomach sensitivity until they have recovered.
  • Although dogs can only eat oranges safely, they should not eat orange peel and seeds. If dogs eat these parts of oranges, intestinal health issues may occur.
  • Dogs with sensitive guts could have stomach problems due to the high acidity of oranges.

Allergies: Rarely, dogs have allergic reactions to oranges, but exceptions exist. When that happens, the dog owner should immediately stop giving the dog oranges because severe allergies can lead to anaphylaxis and possible death. Hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties could lead to anaphylaxis. Any of the following symptoms or behavioral changes should be reported to the vet immediately.

  • Lack of energy
  • Too much energy
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • constipation
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

To ensure a dog’s safety, owners must introduce oranges gradually and be vigilant for any reactions. Furthermore, oranges should be regarded as occasional treats and not part of a dog’s overall diet.

Can Dogs Eat Oranges When Sick?

Yes, dogs can eat oranges when they are sick, except if their illness is gastrointestinal. Moderation in orange treat portions is crucial for sick dogs.

There are other circumstances in which dogs should not eat orange treats. 

For example, overweight dogs or dogs that have diabetes should not eat oranges. Although the natural sugar in oranges is not a health threat, it can impact a diabetic dog’s blood sugar levels and lead to excess calorie intake if fed in large amounts.

Can an Anemic Dog Eat Oranges?

Yes, anemic dogs can eat oranges.  A dog with anemia needs iron, and although oranges contain almost no iron, they can help the body absorb iron. Anemia is a condition in which a dog has low red blood cell levels. These blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the dog’s body. An iron shortage causes a drop in red blood cell levels. Orange treats can provide the dog’s body with Vitamin C and citric acid, both tools to help the dog’s system absorb more iron from other foods. Orange treats can be even more beneficial for dogs if they eat them with iron-rich food.

Can Dogs With Kidney Disease Eat Oranges?

Yes, dogs with kidney disease can eat oranges. Oranges are rich in citrates and citric acid. Both are believed to assist in preventing the formation of kidney stones.

Can Dogs Eat Oranges to Help With Diarrhea?

Yes, dogs can eat oranges to help with diarrhea. Although some raw vegetables and fruit could worsen stomach problems, the same is not valid for oranges. Food with insoluble fiber could make diarrhea worse, but oranges have high levels of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps dogs’ systems in producing more formed stools.

Can a Nursing Dog Eat Oranges?

Yes, a nursing dog can eat oranges. The acidity in oranges can’t affect the mamma dog’s milk. Oranges are safe treats for nursing dogs, and nutrients like vitamin C are perfect energy boosters for mamma dogs.

What Else can Dogs Eat together with Oranges?

Some of the people food that is often shared with dogs are listed below:

Tangerines

Tangerines are safe for dogs to eat. However, moderation is crucial to avoid overtreating pups with too much sugar that could cause weight gain and tooth decay.

Apples

Yes, dogs can eat apples safely — as long as the core and seeds are removed. Apples are packed with vitamin C and A. They are an excellent fiber source for all breeds of dogs, and they are low in fat and protein. Apples are also a perfect snack to pair with oranges for older dogs.

Mandarins

Yes, dogs can eat mandarin oranges safely. Mandarin oranges are not toxic to dogs. However, canine digestive systems aren’t designed for digesting citrus fruits. Any dog whose owner shares too many citrus treats will likely experience stomach upset. Diabetic dogs should be given safer treats because the sugar levels of the mandarins may cause harm to the dog.

Bananas

Yes, dogs can eat bananas together with orange treats. Bananas provide numerous health benefits for dogs. Bananas contain high concentrations of vitamins, fiber, and potassium for dogs’ daily diet, while they have low concentrations of cholesterol and sodium. 

Which Dog Food Recipes Contain Oranges?

Orange Smoothie

Add orange segments to a plain yogurt smoothie with other fruits like blueberries, cranberries, or bananas.  An alternative option is freezing the smoothie in ice cube trays for a tasty summer treat.

Orange Pupsicles

Blend 1 ripe banana, ½ cup plain yogurt, and 4 cups orange juice. Pour the blended ingredients into ice trays or popsicle molds, freeze and serve.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.