Can Dogs Have Oranges? Everything You Need to Know

an orange cut in half floating


Oranges are juicy, sweet, and nutritious...but are they okay for dogs to eat? And if so, can dogs benefit from an orange's fiber and nutrients like humans do? These questions are valid. Sometimes a seemingly benign food can be problematic for a dog, which is why we will be squeezing all the juice out of this topic today. We'll cover the potential benefits, the risks, and how to safely introduce this citrus delight into your dog's diet. 

The Nutritional Powerhouse of Oranges

Most people associate oranges with vitamin C. This is no wives' tail - oranges are packed with vitamin C, which is a powerhouse antioxidant known to prevent everything from scurvy to oxidative damage. There is even more nutritional goodness to oranges than vitamin C, however. They also are a rich sources of fiber and folate.

Vitamin C Boost

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports immune function and helps combat free radicals in the body. Dogs can produce their own vitamin C, but additional sources can be beneficial, especially for older dogs or those under stress.

Fiber for Digestive Health

Fiber aids in digestion and helps maintain regular bowel movements. A small amount of orange can provide a fiber boost, promoting gastrointestinal health.

Folate Benefits

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is another crucial nutrient found in oranges. This vitamin plays a vital role in cell production and the maintenance of healthy tissues. 

Antioxidants for Aging Dogs

Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting overall health. This is particularly beneficial for aging dogs, whose bodies are more prone to oxidative stress.

Are Oranges Safe for Dogs?

While all of the aforementioned nutrients in oranges and their associated benefits sound, well, amazing, the (small) caveat is that dogs simply cannot have too much. The main reasons are the sugar content and the acidity of oranges can both cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs. Furthermore, it is important to avoid feeding your dog oranges with seeds in them, as orange seeds can contain cyanide, which is toxic for dogs.

Potential Risks

Oranges are high in fructose, the natural sugar that makes them sweet and delicious. Dogs, unfortunately, do not process sugar as well as humans do - an overconsumption of sugar can lead to obesity, digestive upset, and dental issues for dogs..

Is Citrus Toxic to Dogs?

This is a very common question (and one, as a dog owner, I had!). Some citrus fruits (like lemons and limes) can be that have very high levels of essential oils and citric acid, which can be toxic to dogs. The good news is that oranges typically are not toxic to dogs, especially in small quantities. When in doubt, call your vet!

Cyanide in Seeds

Orange seeds contain small amounts of cyanogenic compounds that can release cyanide when digested or chewed. Cyanide can be poisonous for dogs. While a couple seeds are most likely nothing to stress about, to be safe it is always best to remove seeds before sharing an orange slice with your pup.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Some dogs may be allergic or sensitive to citrus fruits. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing, and consult your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.

Introducing Oranges to Your Dog's Diet

If you decide to share an orange with your dog, start with a small segment to see how they react. Monitor them for any signs of digestive upset or allergic reactions. If they handle it well, you can offer oranges as an occasional treat.

Portion Control

To avoid overfeeding, stick to one or two small segments at a time. This keeps the sugar intake in check and minimizes the risk of digestive issues.

Preparation Tips

Remove the peel and seeds before giving orange segments to your dog. The peel is difficult to digest and can cause blockages, while the seeds pose a risk of cyanide poisoning.

Serving Suggestions

Oranges can be served fresh, frozen, or mixed with other dog-friendly fruits. Get creative with how you offer this tasty treat to keep things interesting for your dog.

Benefits of Oranges for Dogs

Yes, we know we have hammered home that moderation is crucial when feeding oranges to dogs, but oranges do provide several dog-specific health benefits.

Immune System Support

Vitamin C (found in large amounts in oranges) is good for all things immunity. In essence, vitamin C can boost your dog's immune system so they can fight off any infections, stay healthy and keep chasing squirrels.

Skin and Coat Health

Oranges are rich in antioxidants (of which vitamin C is one) and other antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, which can reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy coat. These little miracle nutrients help combat free radicals that can damage cells that contribute to aging.

When to Avoid Feeding Oranges

When should you not feed an orange to a dog? We thought you would never ask! While oranges are perfectly fine for most pups, some dogs should steer clear.

Dogs with Diabetes

Dogs with any sort of blood sugar issues should avoid oranges. Yes, you guessed it - because of the high sugar content.

Overweight Dogs

If your dog is overweight, it's best to limit sugary treats, oranges included. 

Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

Dogs with sensitive bellies have a higher chance of not being able to tolerate oranges well. If your dog frequently experiences stomach upset, it's best to avoid citrus fruits altogether.

Alternatives to Oranges

If oranges don't suit your dog or you're looking for variety, there are plenty of other fruits that can make safe and nutritious treats.


Apples are a great alternative, offering vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core before serving.


Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and low in calories, making them an excellent treat for dogs. They're also easy to serve and can be given fresh or frozen.


Watermelon is perfect for a doggon hot summer. It is hydrating, yet low in calories. Make sure to remove the seeds and rind  offering small chunks to your dog.

Consulting Your Veterinarian

It can never, ever hurt to contact your vet before introducing any new food to your dog (we highly recommend it). Your vet can provide insight and personalized advice for your pup based on their health status.

Building a Balanced Diet

While sharing treats that you love with your dog can be fun, you should not overdo it. After all, a dog's nutritional needs are different than yours. The great thing is most reputable dog food provides a dog with complete nutrition, meaning it has all of the essential nutrients a dog needs to survive and thrive.

Treats in Moderation

Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake (this is probably a good rule of thumb for us humans too). This helps maintain a balanced diet and prevents overfeeding.

Quality Ingredients

We get it, the cost of food right now is outrageous, but whenever possible choose high-quality, organic foods (both dog food and treats). This will help support your dog's overall health, and hopefully will save you some money in the long run, as your dog will be less likely to become sick.


We hope we peeled this topic open well enough for you today! To sum things up, oranges can, in fact, be a nutritious treat for dogs. Moderation is key, as too much citrus, and too much sugar in oranges can create issues for dogs. But in the right amounts (again, think moderation!) oranges can benefit dogs in many of the same ways they can benefit humans - from immune support to skin/coat health. We always recommend consulting your dog's doctor (AKA your vet) before introducing any new food or supplement into your dog's diet.


Can Dogs Eat Mandarin Oranges?

They can, but the same rules apply for mandarin oranges as they do for regular oranges. Dogs can eat mandarin oranges... in moderation!


1) Peterson Dante Gavasso Pacheco, Mayara Aline Baller, Francine Mendes Peres, Érico de Mello Ribeiro, Thaila Cristina Putarov, Aulus Cavalieri Carciofi, Citrus pulp and orange fiber as dietary fiber sources for dogs, Animal Feed Science and Technology, Volume 282, 2021,115123.

2) Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G. Vitamin C function and status in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):66-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00005.x. PMID: 12134712.

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