Sure, dogs can eat oranges … but do oranges add to their overall health?
Oranges are full of vitamin C. For people, this is a huge bonus. For dogs … not so much.
Unlike people, dogs naturally produce their own vitamin C. You don’t have to add it to their diets.
But there are times when vitamin C can give your dog an extra boost.
I’ll tell you about some of those reasons today. And I’ll mention a few cautions you should take before you share oranges or other citrus fruits with your dog.
3 Benefits Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays many roles. It’s needed for …
- Proper tissue growth and repair
- The formation of calcium and iron
- Strengthening the immune system
- Adrenal gland function
While a healthy dog shouldn’t need vitamin C added to his dish … there are times when a bit of extra vitamin C could be a good thing.
1. To Reduce Free Radicals
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It improves your dog’s immune system by scavenging free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons. To make themselves whole again, they’ll steal electrons from other molecules. This creates more free radicals which damages cells, DNA and proteins in the process.
And damaged cells can lead to premature aging and chronic health problems like …
- Inflammatory disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heart disease
Some free radicals are a byproduct of metabolism. And that’s okay … your dog needs a healthy balance of free radicals.
But free radicals are also created by toxins in your dog’s environment …
To keep the number of free radicals in check, the body requires antioxidants.
Antioxidants stabilize free radicals, so they no longer need to attack healthy cells. And that stops the chain reaction that leads to chronic disease.
2. To Control The Allergic Response
Your dog’s body is full of mast cells that act as the first line of defense for your dog’s immune system.
When they sense an invader, they send out chemical mediators …
This allows your dog’s body to heal the injury or infection that caused the immune response in the first place.
When your dog suffers from allergies, his body’s sensitive to certain substances … pollen, food, grass. It treats the substance like an invader and tries to destroy it. This causes his mast cells to release their chemicals.
Vitamin C’s an anti-allergy vitamin that stabilizes the mast cells. This means they aren’t as likely to release those chemicals.
3. When Your Dog’s Stressed
When your dog experiences emotional or physical stress … his body redirects resources to feed stress hormones. This includes vitamin C, along with B5 and zinc.
If these resources get redirected to manage stress … there aren’t enough nutrients left for other processes. And that means your dog may need a boost in vitamin C to make sure his immune system stays strong.
Common sources of physical and emotional stress for dogs can be …
- Excessive exercise
- Unfamiliar environments
- Poor nutrition or a change in foods
- New routines
- Loud noises
If you feel like your dog’s a bit more stressed than usual, it may be a good idea to give him some extra vitamin C.
And, when you do that, it’s much better to give it as food, instead of out of a bottle. Most vitamin C you buy at health stores come from ascorbic acid. And that means it’s synthetic and produced in a lab.
Some brands source their vitamin C from whole foods. Look for those if you want to use a supplement.
But otherwise, oranges are a good way to get some natural vitamin C into your dog.
How To Safely Share Oranges With Your Dog
Oranges are safe for dogs but … there are three things to consider before you feed your dog some orange.
Oranges Are A Sweet Treat
Oranges contain a lot of natural sugars and are very acidic. If your dog eats too much, it could upset his stomach.
The first time your dog has oranges, start slow and watch how he reacts.
If he does well, you can give him a bit more. But be sure to limit it to a treat sized portion … a segment or two is plenty for a large dog.
Seeds And Peels Can Cause Obstructions
Orange seeds and peel could cause a gastrointestinal blockage. So you don’t want to give any to your dog.
If your dog does eat some by accident, look for these symptoms of a bowel obstruction …
- Loss of appetite
- Less responsive
- Tacky or sticky gums from dehydration
- Belly is sensitive to touch
Some Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Oranges
Oranges have a moderate to high sugar content.
It could cause an unnecessary spike in dogs with diabetes … or increase the caloric intake for overweight dogs.
And while puppies can eat oranges, their stomachs are more sensitive. So be cautious about how much you give them or better yet … consider a different treat.
So, Can Dogs Eat Oranges?
Yes. Dogs can eat oranges. As well as tangerines, clementines and mandarins. They can also have other citrus fruits like lemons, limes or grapefruit.
Whether that means they will is another story.
Some dogs don’t like the taste of citrus fruits. So, if you give your dog a piece of orange and he doesn’t show interest … don’t worry.
There are other healthy options that he may like more.