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Can Dogs Eat Oranges

A very popular fruit, oranges are great for people. But can dogs eat oranges as well, and are oranges for dogs safe to consume? What about the health benefits of giving oranges to dogs, and are there any side effects? Let’s take a closer look at this famous fruit and how it may affect your dog.

If you’ve been wondering, “can I give my dog oranges,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat oranges without any issues and oranges are not toxic to dogs. The only caveat is that you give oranges to your dog in moderation, and that your pet doesn’t have any medical conditions which oranges can aggravate.

If you’re into making your own homemade dog food, this could be a good ingredient.

As a citrus fruit, oranges are full of nutrition and are very health for people. But for a very small group of dogs with certain pre-existing health problems, oranges may not be recommended. Let’s investigate further the benefits and side effects of oranges for dogs.

READ ALSO: Can Dogs Eat Apples?

What are oranges?

The orange, or sweet orange, is a citrus species fruit that belongs to the family of Rutaceae. There are many different varieties of oranges which is a result of mutations, with another well-known type of orange called bitter orange.

An orange was born when scientists crossed mandarin with pomelo. Today, it’s one of the most popular and nutritious fruits. It’s relatively low-calorie, moderate in natural sugar content, contains mainly water and provides multiple essentials vitamins and minerals.

This is what fresh raw oranges look like:

What do oranges look like

As one of the most common fruits, oranges are often part of a healthy diet due to their high content of fiber, Vitamin C, folate, thiamin and tons of antioxidants. Oranges also have some unique properties, some of which may be great for dogs. But can dogs eat oranges and reap all the same benefits humans can?

Oranges for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Oranges

Can I give my dog orangesSo can you give your dog oranges without any fears? Yes, dogs can eat oranges safely as long as they don’t have any of the specific medical conditions discussed below.

As with most other vegetables and particularly fruits for dogs, oranges for dogs must be given in moderation because of the high carbohydrate content that mostly comes from the natural sugar in oranges. Oranges make a great occasional snack for a dog.

Oranges are very nutritious and pack a good amount of vitamins, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Thiamin

These vitamins, minerals and antioxidants improve health, and many studies that we investigate below have confirmed that. Also, it has been observed that dogs can absorb most of these vitamins, thus giving an orange to a dog may be a very good idea.

Aside from the above, oranges also contain unique and powerful antioxidant compounds which makes oranges a healthy snack. Here’s a science-based breakdown of the most vital plant compounds found in oranges and how they improve health:

Citric acid, which prevents kidney stones and promotes kidney health (1, 2)
Lycopene, which provides many different overall health benefits (3)
Hesperidin, which improves general health (4, 5)
Anthocyanins, which may improve heart health (6)
Beta-cryptoxanthin, which reduces inflammation and may prevent arthritis (7, 8)

All of the above and below has been based on both human and animal studies; however, few studies investigated the relationship between these compounds or oranges in dogs. Nevertheless, it’s safe to assume that as long as oranges for dogs are safe, there’s a change that canines can reap at least some of the health benefits from oranges.

Moreover, there are specific ways that consuming oranges may improve health where researchers investigated oranges specifically. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Oranges improve heart health and prevent heart diseases (9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Oranges improve iron absorption and may prevent anemia (13, 14)
  • Oranges prevent kidney stones (15, 16)
  • Oranges strengthen body’s immune system and fight inflammation (17)
  • Oranges may improve age related skin issues (18, 19)
  • Oranges fight and prevent different forms of cancer (20, 21, 22, 23, 24)
  • Oranges protect an aging brain and boost brain function (25, 26, 27, 28)

As you can similar, as is the case with giving bell peppers to dogs, oranges as well may have many different health benefits most of which are related to its unique antioxidant compounds and Vitamin C.

Oranges vs orange juice for dogs

Is orange juice for dogs safeThe next question you may have is “can I give my dog orange juice?” The answer would be somewhat of a yes, technically. However, there’s really no reason to do that.

If you give your dog orange juice that’s freshly squeeze and natural, then you’re essentially giving your dog oranges in liquid form without the benefit of fiber.

So even though you technically can let your dog drink a little bit of orange juice, it’s not advisable since orange juice is still high in natural sugar content and without the fiber it may contribute to harmful metabolic effects and weight gain (29, 30, 31).

RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?

7 Potential Benefits of Oranges for Dogs

Are oranges good for dogsNow that we’ve established that oranges for dogs are safe to consume in moderation, and that they may provide many health benefits through their rich vitamin and mineral content, let’s take a look at specific reasons of why give oranges to dogs.

Here are seven health benefits oranges may provide dogs with:

1. Vitamin A promotes eye health in dogs.

Oranges are a good source of beta-carotene. Other than the above mentioned health benefits of this compound, beta-carotene found in Vitamin A also improves a dog’s eyesight and promotes overall eye health.

This vitamin may help keep your dog’s bones, coat, and skin healthy as well.

2. Vitamin B6 is good for vital body functions and prevents illnesses.

Vitamin B6, which is found in oranges, is needed to metabolize amino acids within your dog’s body. It also helps to prevent the formation of bladder stones and as studies have shown, oranges clearly help prevent kidney stones thanks to this vitamin. 

3. Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, an important antioxidant for the body.

Oranges contain significant amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which may have tons of various health effects on a dog’s body. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative cell damage and may prevent autoimmune diseases and illnesses like canine cancer.

Vitamin C also promotes cartilage and collagen synthesis, as well as combats degenerative conditions and dementia, and it improves hair and skin conditions.

4. Dietary fiber promotes healthy digestion in dogs.

Oranges are well-known for their high fiber content, which has numerous effects on health in humans and dogs. In particular, fiber improves digestion, regulates bowel movements, and aids in weight loss. It also helps prevent diarrhea, flatulence, and constipation.

Furthermore, oranges contain plenty of soluble fiber that contributes to the prevention of hyperlipidemia, or high blood pressure, making them an excellent treat for dogs suffering from this condition or if the dog breed is genetically predisposed for this health issue.

5. Potassium is a critical nutrient for essential body functions.

Oranges are a moderate source of potassium, which helps improve various body functions in dogs, including electrolyte replacement, muscle development, and blood vessel function. In particular, it assists with developing efficient and effective heart health.

6. Oranges are an excellent source of magnesium.

Magnesium is another essential mineral for dogs overall health. It promotes bone growth, production of protein, and the proper absorption of vitamins within the dog’s body.

7. Oranges may help reduce joint inflammation in dogs.

As studies with humans have shown, oranges are great at reducing inflammation and preventing arthritis. Active and older dogs benefit from anti-inflammatory characteristics of oranges, which are full of antioxidants that keep dogs’ joints supple and active.

Health benefits of oranges for dogs infographic

“So, can I give my dog oranges?”

Yes, dogs can eat oranges and they’re totally safe for them as long as they are provided as an occasional treat rather than make up your dog’s regular diet, and fed in moderation.

Whole oranges are better than orange juice (even though technically, your dog can drink orange juice in moderation) because they contain fiber, a very important part of why oranges for dogs make a healthy snack.

Always remember to wash and peel oranges before you give them to your pups.

But are there any side effects of oranges for dogs, and is there a reason to be cautious when you feed an orange to a dog? Let’s take a closer look.

The Bottom Line: Oranges are a safe treat for your dog to snack on, and they provide many nutritional benefits and may improve dog’s health in a variety of areas.

Benefits and side effects of oranges for dogs

2 Potential Side Effects of Oranges for Dogs

Even though dogs can eat oranges and they are safe for your canine to consume, giving too many oranges for dogs may cause some issues and side effects. Here are the two main adverse effects of oranges for dogs that you need to be aware of:

1. Gastrointestinal issues.

Because of its high amount of soluble fiber in oranges, feeding too many to your dog may upset your dog’s stomach, causing either diarrhea or constipation. Dogs with sensitive stomachs are particularly susceptible to stomach pain and upset from oranges.

2. Tooth decay.

Oranges are very high in natural sugars, and if frequently fed to your dog, may cause tooth decay or rot your dog’s teeth. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis may help lessen the chance of tooth decay, and is actually highly advised by veterinarians.

READ ALSO: Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

More on Oranges for Dogs
3 Safety Precautions

Dangers of orange peel for dogsWhile oranges are relatively safe for dogs when fed in moderation, there are certain safety precautions that you should consider before feeding oranges to your pups. Here are three things you should keep in mind if you give oranges to your dogs:

1. Don’t feed oranges to a diabetic dog.

The high amount of Vitamin C and natural sugars present in oranges make them an unsuitable snack for dogs with diabetes because of the impact these elements have on blood levels.

2. Avoid feeding orange peels to your dog.

Orange peels, or rinds, are fine for people to consume, but not so for dogs. The peel is too difficult for a dog’s digestive system to break down. If your dog eats an orange rind, it may cause stomach upset and pain.

3. Remove orange seeds before feeding them to your pup.

Like many other fruits (such as watermelons), oranges have seeds that contain cyanide. A few seeds may not harm your dog, but if he consumes too many, he may suffer severe indigestion or obstruction of the intestinal tract. It’s best to remove orange seeds.

Summary:
Can My Dog Eat Oranges?

Can Dogs Eat Oranges - 7 Potential Benefits and Side EffectsIn conclusion, dogs can eat oranges without any problems as long as they are fed in moderation and your dog doesn’t have a medical condition such as diabetes.

Except in rare situations, oranges are non-toxic and safe for dogs.

Research shows how oranges provide many necessary vitamins and minerals that promote healthy body functions and may prevent cancers, illnesses, and even arthritis.

Remember to wash and peel oranges as well as remove orange seeds from it before giving an orange to your dog.

References

Click here to see study citations and references

Footnotes, study citations and further reading:

  1. Wabner CL1, Pak CY. Effect of orange juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors. J Urol. 1993 Jun;149(6):1405-8.
  2. Odvina CV. Comparative value of orange juice versus lemonade in reducing stone-forming risk. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Nov;1(6):1269-74. Epub 2006 Aug 30.
  3. Wang, X.-D. (2012). Lycopene metabolism and its biological significance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(5), 1214S–1222S. http://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.032359
  4. Morand C1, Dubray C, Milenkovic D, Lioger D, Martin JF, Scalbert A, Mazur A. Hesperidin contributes to the vascular protective effects of orange juice: a randomized crossover study in healthy volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;93(1):73-80. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004945. Epub 2010 Nov 10.
  5. Iris Erlund. Review of the flavonoids quercetin, hesperetin, and naringenin. Dietary sources, bioactivities, bioavailability, and epidemiology. Nutrition Research Volume 24, Issue 10, October 2004, Pages 851–874
  6. Mazza GJ. Anthocyanins and heart health. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2007;43(4):369-74.
  7. Pattison DJ1, Symmons DP, Lunt M, Welch A, Bingham SA, Day NE, Silman AJ. Dietary beta-cryptoxanthin and inflammatory polyarthritis: results from a population-based prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug;82(2):451-5.
  8. Burri BJ. Beta-cryptoxanthin as a source of vitamin A. J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Jul;95(9):1786-94. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6942. Epub 2014 Nov 5.
  9. Morand C1, Dubray C, Milenkovic D, Lioger D, Martin JF, Scalbert A, Mazur A. Hesperidin contributes to the vascular protective effects of orange juice: a randomized crossover study in healthy volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;93(1):73-80. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004945. Epub 2010 Nov 10.
  10. Napoleone E1, Cutrone A, Zurlo F, Di Castelnuovo A, D’Imperio M, Giordano L, De Curtis A, Iacoviello L, Rotilio D, Cerletti C, de Gaetano G, Donati MB, Lorenzet R. Both red and blond orange juice intake decreases the procoagulant activity of whole blood in healthy volunteers. Thromb Res. 2013 Aug;132(2):288-92. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2013.06.022. Epub 2013 Jul 13.
  11. Elisa Tripoli, Maurizio La Guardia, Santo Giammanco, Danila Di Majo, Marco Giammanco. Citrus flavonoids: Molecular structure, biological activity and nutritional properties: A review. Food Chemistry Volume 104, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 466–479
  12. PhD Elisabeth Wisker. MSc Martina Daniel. PhD Walter Feldheim. Effects of a fiber concentrate from citrus fruits in humans. Nutrition Research Volume 14, Issue 3, March 1994, Pages 361-372
  13. Péneau S1, Dauchet L, Vergnaud AC, Estaquio C, Kesse-Guyot E, Bertrais S, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, Galan P. Relationship between iron status and dietary fruit and vegetables based on their vitamin C and fiber content. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1298-305.
  14. Ballot D, Baynes RD, Bothwell TH, Gillooly M, MacFarlane BJ, MacPhail AP, Lyons G, Derman DP, Bezwoda WR, Torrance JD, et al. The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal. Br J Nutr. 1987 May;57(3):331-43.
  15. Odvina CV. Comparative value of orange juice versus lemonade in reducing stone-forming risk. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Nov;1(6):1269-74. Epub 2006 Aug 30.
  16. Wabner CL1, Pak CY. Effect of orange juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors. J Urol. 1993 Jun;149(6):1405-8.
  17. Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, Colonna G, Castello G, Costantini S1. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 May;14(5):444-52.
  18. Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4(3), 298–307. http://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22876
  19. Rhie G1, Shin MH, Seo JY, Choi WW, Cho KH, Kim KH, Park KC, Eun HC, Chung JH. Aging- and photoaging-dependent changes of enzymic and nonenzymic antioxidants in the epidermis and dermis of human skin in vivo. J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Nov;117(5):1212-7.
  20. Wang, A., Zhu, C., Fu, L., Wan, X., Yang, X., Zhang, H., … Zhao, H. (2015). Citrus Fruit Intake Substantially Reduces the Risk of Esophageal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies. Medicine, 94(39), e1390. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000001390
  21. Song, J.-K., & Bae, J.-M. (2013). Citrus Fruit Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: A Quantitative Systematic Review. Journal of Breast Cancer, 16(1), 72–76. http://doi.org/10.4048/jbc.2013.16.1.72
  22. Cirmi, S., Ferlazzo, N., Lombardo, G. E., Maugeri, A., Calapai, G., Gangemi, S., & Navarra, M. (2016). Chemopreventive Agents and Inhibitors of Cancer Hallmarks: May Citrus Offer New Perspectives? Nutrients, 8(11), 698. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu8110698
  23. Bae JM1, Lee EJ, Guyatt G. Citrus fruit intake and stomach cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Gastric Cancer. 2008;11(1):23-32. doi: 10.1007/s10120-007-0447-2. Epub 2008 Mar 29.
  24. Bae JM1, Lee EJ, Guyatt G. Citrus fruit intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Pancreas. 2009 Mar;38(2):168-74. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e318188c497.
  25. Alharbi, M. H., Lamport, D. J., Dodd, G. F., Saunders, C., Harkness, L., Butler, L. T., & Spencer, J. P. E. (2016). Flavonoid-rich orange juice is associated with acute improvements in cognitive function in healthy middle-aged males. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(6), 2021–2029. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1016-9
  26. Cirmi S1, Ferlazzo N2, Lombardo GE3, Ventura-Spagnolo E4, Gangemi S5,6, Calapai G7, Navarra M8. Neurodegenerative Diseases: Might Citrus Flavonoids Play a Protective Role? Molecules. 2016 Sep 30;21(10). pii: E1312.
  27. Kean RJ1, Lamport DJ1, Dodd GF1, Freeman JE1, Williams CM1, Ellis JA1, Butler LT1, Spencer JP1. Chronic consumption of flavanone-rich orange juice is associated with cognitive benefits: an 8-wk, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):506-14. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.088518. Epub 2015 Jan 14.
  28. Elumalai P1, Lakshmi S2. Role of Quercetin Benefits in Neurodegeneration. Adv Neurobiol. 2016;12:229-45. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28383-8_12.
  29. Faith MS1, Dennison BA, Edmunds LS, Stratton HH. Fruit juice intake predicts increased adiposity gain in children from low-income families: weight status-by-environment interaction. Pediatrics. 2006 Nov;118(5):2066-75.
  30. RD, M., & WW, C. (2009). Effects of food form and timing of ingestion on appetite and energy intake in lean and obese young adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(3), 430–437. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2008.11.031
  31. Wojcicki, J. M., & Heyman, M. B. (2012). Reducing Childhood Obesity by Eliminating 100% Fruit Juice. American Journal of Public Health, 102(9), 1630–1633. http://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300719

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