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Can Dogs Eat Orange Peels?

Can Dogs Eat Orange Peels?

Some dogs will eat just about anything, which can make feeding them a dream. But it can also be a nightmare making sure they don’t eat things they’re not supposed to!

For many reasons, orange skins are one of the things that your dog should not eat. Although it seems harmless, they can be quite dangerous for dogs.

This article will dive into why it’s best to keep your pup away from them.


Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Orange Peels?

Letting your dog eat orange peels is not advisable for a few reasons.

Choking hazard

Firstly, fruit peels can be a choking hazard as they are a little bit harder to break down. Although dogs’ sharp teeth are good at breaking food items down, dogs tend to gobble things up quite fast – we’re sure you’re familiar with this as a dog owner!

This means there’s a chance that the pieces they swallow can be big enough to cause choking. If the piece is just the right size, it could block the entire airway and cause suffocation.

Blockages in the digestive tract

Secondly, orange peel can cause blockages in a dog’s digestive system if the swallowed pieces don’t break down and are too large to pass through the digestive tract naturally. Blocked intestines can be very dangerous and usually need surgical intervention to be cleared.

If your dog only ate a little bit of orange peel, they will likely be okay and might only suffer from a mild upset stomach. That being said, it is a good idea to monitor them for something more serious.

The signs of internal blockage are:

  • Excessive vomiting & diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Bloating & abdominal pain
  • Whining or yelping

Too many essential oils

Lastly, the peel stores the fruit’s natural essential oils. Essential oils can be highly toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. The oils of an orange peel are processed in the liver, but dogs don’t have the capacity to process these as well as humans. This is especially true of dogs that have a liver condition and breeds prone to liver disease.

A small amount of citrus peel ingested by accident is unlikely to cause liver problems, but it might cause vomiting and diarrhea if too much of the concentrated oils were consumed at once.

The signs of essential oil poisoning include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Redness on lips, gums & tongue
  • Excessive vomiting

If your dog shows any of the above symptoms, we strongly recommend calling your vet immediately for further instruction.


What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to Orange Peels?

Thankfully, dogs can eat oranges, just not the peels. Here’s how to give your dog some citrusy goodness, safely.

Orange slices

Orange slices are not poisonous to dogs and some actually enjoy eating oranges. So, you can let your dogs eat oranges, but moderation is key.

Although oranges are considered a healthy treat, they are high in natural sugar and citric acid. If you give your dog oranges too often, these components can have unwanted effects.

The sugar in oranges can add too many additional calories to your dog’s daily calorie intake. This could lead to an increase in weight gain, which could be particularly problematic for already overweight dogs struggling to get down to a healthy weight.

This excess sugar can be harmful to dogs with diabetes or those with pancreas issues. If you have a dog with health issues, look into further dog feeding advice or consult your vet if you want to give them any ‘human’ foods.

Citric acid is toxic to dogs in high doses, and causes central nervous system issues if consumed in excess. For the most part, dogs will likely suffer from an upset stomach and diarrhea if they ingest too much citric acid from oranges.

You might want to consider oranges as a healthy treat alternative as the vitamin C can be beneficial for your dog’s immune system. However, vitamin C is naturally synthesized in dogs’ livers, so there’s no need for them to have it in their diet.

So, are oranges good for dogs? They can offer some health benefits when fed in small doses.

Other citrus fruits

You might be wondering if there are other citrus fruits that you can safely introduce into your dog’s diet.

Some orange-like fruits such as tangerines, mandarines, and clementines are generally okay if they’re served in the same quantity you’d serve your dog oranges (more on that later).

Other citruses such as lemons, limes, and grapefruit are not recommended for dogs. Lemons and limes have the highest levels of citric acid – see above why this isn’t good for your pup.

Can dogs drink orange juice?

Feeding orange juice to dogs is not a good idea for two reasons – excess sugar and citric acid (the same as feeding too many orange slices to your dog).

Orange juice companies usually add extra sugar and citric or ascorbic acid to their juices to increase health benefits and taste for humans. However, these additives are simply too much to be safe for dogs to consume.

In addition, the juice may be too sour and have an overly acidic taste for most dogs to enjoy. Dogs are sensitive to sour and bitter tastes and usually avoid foods that smell or taste that way. So, it’s likely your dog won’t even enjoy orange juice anyway. It’s better to keep them hydrated with water!


How to Incorporate Oranges into Your Dog’s Diet Safely

If you do choose to treat your pup to a sweet snack, make sure you give your dog orange slices in moderation. Ideally no more than two segments per serving – and don’t feed them oranges every day.

Also, watch how your dog reacts to the citrus fruit and avoid feeding it again if an adverse reaction occurs. Check out our homepage for more advice on feeding your dog new foods safely and what they can and cannot eat.



What fruits can I feed my dog besides oranges and other citrus fruits?

Besides letting your dogs eat oranges, you can occasionally treat them to fruits such as apples, bananas, and blueberries.

If dogs can eat oranges, can they eat orange chicken?

Many human food dishes such as orange chicken contain other ingredients that are not good for dogs. Seasonings and onion and garlic are particularly bad for dogs to consume.

Additionally, orange chicken is usually made with a sugary orange-flavored sauce and not fresh oranges – we’ve explained above the dangers of too much sugar in your dog’s diet.

Read our article “Can Dogs Eat Baby Back Rib Bones?” for more info on why barbecue sauce is also bad for dogs.

Can puppies eat oranges?

You can give puppies oranges but in very small quantities. Puppies can be quite sensitive to new and different foods. When feeding oranges to your young pup, it’s best to give them half a skinless orange slice at most.