Can dogs eat citrus fruits?

To many of us, a freshly sliced orange on a hot sunny day can be a refreshing treat, and like many treats that we enjoy, our dogs will see us enjoying this fruit and will want to get in on the act. But is it safe to share any citrus fruits with your dog? There are some that are fine, and some that should be avoided, and in this article, we’ll let you know which citrus fruits you can safely feed you dog.

The good

If you are enjoying a slice of orange, the good news is that you can share this with your dog. Just as they are for us humans, this fruit is full of nutritious things that help our body, including vitamin C, potassium and fibre. The occasional slice of orange as a treat for your dog is fine, but it’s probably best not to make it a regular treat as it is full of sugars that are bad for your dog’s weight. One thing to avoid though is orange pits as these can prove to be a bit of a problem for some dogs but you can either buy seedless fruit, or hold the segment up to the light to see through it – if there are any pits, that can be your slice instead.

Pineapple also makes an excellent treat for dogs, and while they are considerably more difficult to unwrap compared to oranges (and you do need to make sure there aren’t any spiny bits left before sharing), they can certainly be worth the effort as far as your dog’s health is concerned. It’s a bit of a super fruit really, as along with all of the nutrients we’d associate with citrus fruits being there, it also has plenty of bromelain which helps humans and dogs alike to better absorb protein (which will be a big part of your pet’s diet). But again, all things in moderation – a rare treat rather than a regular one, and small doses are best.

The bad

You should avoid feeding your dog lemons and limes. While a tiny slice might do no harm, it certainly won’t do any good, and too much can be dangerous. The high levels of citric acid are the real issue here and this can cause a lot of problems for your pooch. This can give your dog an upset stomach, and again, the seeds can be choking hazards – especially in smaller breeds. 

More information

If you’d like more information on foods to avoid feeding your dog, we have a very handy guide for you to read – it’s called What foods are harmful to dogs? and it’s well worth taking a look. As for citrus fruits, like we’ve said, lemons and limes are bad, but the very occasional bit of orange or pineapple should be ok. It’s worth remembering though that some dogs just don’t like the smell of citrus fruits at all and they might actually leave you alone while you’re eating for once!

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