Can My Puppy Eat Oranges?

I’ve talked many times about how finding the best food, snacks, and treats for your puppy can be somewhat difficult. There are so many brands on the market claiming how good they are, healthy, nutritious, etc., that it can be confusing and frustrating at times.

Today many puppy parents are looking for snacks and treats to give their precious pups that are more natural. (It tracks with many Americans also wanting to eat healthier food and snacks.) To that end, whole, real food diets, and snacks are becoming more popular. Statistics show that more and more people are making their own dog and puppy food at home rather than buying it at the pet store.

Here’s the thing, however, a lot of healthy and nutritious foods for humans aren’t particularly healthy and nutritious for puppies and dogs. The digestive system of a canine is quite different from a human. For example, their intestines are much shorter, and the time between eating food and defecating (pooping) is much faster.

You won’t find other canines like wolves eating many fruits and vegetables in the wild. Instead, they eat meat almost exclusively. In fact, a wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in one meal, more meat than an average human can safely eat in 2 weeks! 

The point is that puppies and dogs aren’t big on eating fruits and veggies. That being said, occasionally giving your puppy a piece of fruit is not unhealthy. Many dogs like different fruits and veggies, including bananas, carrots, apples, etc. 

I was thinking about this the other day when one of my readers asked me a specific question. They had recently adopted their first puppy and, wanting to feed it a healthy diet, wondered what fruits made good puppy snacks. One of their questions was can my puppy eat oranges?

The answer is that, yes, puppies can eat oranges, and they make a healthy snack when given in moderation. Orange slices contain several nutrients and vitamins that are good for puppies and very little that’s “bad” for their health. They should, however, be peeled and have no seeds or pith.

Now that you know your puppy can eat oranges, I’m betting you have other questions about giving them this delicious fruit as a snack. How many oranges can a puppy eat, for example, and can dogs eat orange seeds? If you do, read on! I have the answers to those questions and several more below. (Orange you glad you read today’s blog?!) (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) 

How Many Oranges can a Puppy Eat?

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you might be familiar with the 90/10 rule. This rule, which applies to puppies and dogs, determines how many snacks and treats you can give to your puppy.

Simply Stated, the 90/10 rule says that 90% of your puppy’s nutritional needs should be met by their regular puppy chow, leaving the final 10% for snacks and treats. To answer the question of how many oranges a puppy can eat,  you first need to determine how much food you’re giving your puppy daily.

For example, let’s say your puppy eats a half-pound of food every day. That’s 8 oz of food, which means they should get .8 oz a day of snacks. The average orange weighs 4 ozs and has 8 segments, which means you can give your puppy approximately 2 orange slices a day. 

Keep in mind that those two slices would equal the total snacks your puppy could have that day if you follow the 90 / 10 rule. If your pup is eating a pound of food per day, you could give them 4 slices of orange. 

Is the Whole Orange Safe for Puppies to Eat?

No, certain parts of an orange aren’t safe to give to your puppy. They include the rind (peel), seeds, and pith (the whitish, stringy material between orange slices). 

Now, here’s the thing; if your puppy could get past the highly foul-tasting rind and eat an entire orange, they would probably get an upset tummy and possibly vomit and have diarrhea. In most cases, however, it wouldn’t be a life-threatening situation.

If you’re purposely feeding your puppy oranges as a snack, remove the rind, make sure you get rid of the seeds, and remove as much pith as possible. The only part your puppy should eat is the orange flesh.

Can Puppies Eat Orange Seeds? 

While a few random orange seeds typically won’t pose a problem for your pup, giving them orange seeds regularly could. The reason is that orange seeds, like apple seeds, contain a small amount of cyanide. Over time, this can build up in your puppy’s body and, as you might imagine, cause them harm.

Also, depending on the size of your puppy and the size of the orange seeds, they can present a choking hazard or obstruct your puppy’s intestinal tract. This obstruction can lead to come to constipation and other gastrointestinal problems.

Can Puppies Eat Orange Peels?

Like orange seeds, you shouldn’t give your puppy the peel or rind of an orange. Although it is highly nutritious, orange peels are very difficult for a puppy to break down in their digestive system. Eating a large amount of orange peel could potentially cause severe gastrointestinal problems. (At the very least, your puppy will have a terrible tummy ache.)

Orange peels have a very high concentration of vitamin C, which is why it’s recommended humans eat them. (Very few do, but they’re highly recommended.)  However, you should avoid orange peels for dogs, especially diabetic dogs. Also, unfortunately, many oranges are covered in pesticides which are problematic for both puppies and humans.

Can Puppies Drink Orange Juice?

While a staple of the American breakfast, orange juice is not suitable to give to a puppy or dog. The reason is that orange juice contains a very high amount of fruit sugar (sucrose) and a high concentration of citric acid. 

Some puppy parents are under the mistaken idea that their puppy needs vitamin C as much as they do. Unlike humans, though, puppies and dogs make their own vitamin C. While puppies may enjoy the occasional slice of orange, it isn’t necessary for their diet and overall health. 

Health Benefits of Oranges for Puppies

Although puppies don’t need oranges to stay healthy, they do provide certain health benefits. For example, oranges are very low in fat and provide a high amount of soluble fiber, which can help your puppy’s digestion.

If your dog is suffering from a condition called hyperlipidemia, which can be caused by the high amount of fat in certain dog foods, giving them a few slices of orange can be helpful and will also lower their cholesterol levels. (They may need veterinary intervention and a change of dog food.)

Lastly, oranges contain a high amount of potassium, an electrolyte. Electrolytes help the heart function more efficiently and can prevent a serious condition called arrhythmia. Arhythmia is when your puppy’s heart doesn’t beat correctly, although it’s more common in older dogs.

Final Thoughts 

Yes, your puppy can eat oranges. In moderation and following the 90/10 rule, they make a delicious snack with decent nutritional value. However, you should avoid giving your puppy the peel, seeds, and pith of the orange, as they can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

Did you find today’s blog helpful and educational? I certainly hope you did, as I try to fill them with as much useful, real-world advice if possible. Please see my other blogs if you have more questions or would like to learn more about how to care for your new puppy. Until then, enjoy every day with your pup and your life as a puppy parent.