This Citrus Fruit Can Be a Fresh and Enjoyable Snack for Dogs in Moderation

Oranges are high in Vitamin C, which can aid in your dog's overall health.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 18 2024, Published 3:29 p.m. ET

A dog picks at a citrus tree while standing on its hind legs.
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Fresh oranges and cold-pressed orange juice are the perfect anytime snack to boost our health and curb our cravings, but can this fruit be shared with our puppy pals?

We know that citrus is loaded with Vitamin C and can be a boon to our well-being, so naturally, we would want to let our companion dogs in on this natural immune booster.

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Let's explore whether you can share an orange slice with your dog, if orange juice is safe for dogs to consume, and other important facts to be aware of in order to keep your dog healthy and safe.

An East European Shepherd dog holding a tangerine on its nose.
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Can dogs eat oranges?

Yes, dogs can eat a few orange slices, and when given as an occasional snack, they may aid your dog's overall health. According to Forbes, the vitamins and minerals in oranges make them a good alternative treat, so long as they are introduced slowly and in small quantities.

Nutrients present in oranges, such as potassium (kidney, heart, muscle, and digestive health), fiber (colon health and reduced inflammation), and Vitamin C (immune system health) are all beneficial to your dog.

It's important that oranges should only be given as an occasional treat to some dogs, per Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS. The sugar content in oranges could be harmful to overweight and diabetic dogs, so humans should not give their furry friends oranges in that instance to avoid potential obesity or unsafe insulin level spikes.

It's also important to seek out seedless oranges, such as naval oranges, or remove the seeds for your pet before feeding them.

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Mandarins are stacked on top of one another on a dark plate, with two mandarins opened on a wood table.
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According to veterinarian Diana Watkins, who spoke to USA Today, orange peels can cause extreme health complications for dogs. Orange peels contain essential oils that are toxic to dogs. If ingested, essential oils can cause health problems such as drooling, difficulty walking and breathing, vomiting, and more.

Additionally, if you have moldy fruit laying around, beware: moldy oranges can also be toxic to dogs, says Dr. Watkins.

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In general oranges' acid content may cause stomach problems, diarrhea, and vomiting, so it's best to introduce oranges after consulting with your vet.

Dog eating a piece of orange out of someone's hand.
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Can dogs eat mandarin oranges?

While mandarins are affectionately known as the cuter version of oranges, it's probably best to leave them off your adorable pup's plate.

According to Purina, mandarins may not harm your dog when given on occasion. Because they're even sweeter than their larger citrus counterparts, they may pose unnecessary risks to your dog's health.

Additionally, mandarins do not possess the same nutritional profile that oranges do. Therefore, your dog will not get to enjoy the same health boost they would from oranges, while being exposed to greater risk of obesity and excess sugar.

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Tangerines grown on a tree are shown in a sunny garden.
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Can dogs eat tangerines?

The same restrictions and concerns that apply to oranges and mandarins—don't feed them to overweight and diabetic dogs due to their excess sugars and acid content—likewise apply to tangerines.

According to Purina, diarrhea and vomiting are some of the tell-tale signs that tangerines do not agree with your dog.

As always, it's best to consult your veterinarian before feeding your furry friend a food that is unusual to them, especially if you are concerned about them having a severe reaction.

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