Imagine this: you’re having lunch with your parents on the terrace of their home (in sunny Florida) when your mother asks if it’s okay for your dog to eat oranges. You scan the yard and, sure enough, there’s your proud pup lying under the orange tree with his mouth full of fruit. What do you do?
First, relax. The good news is that an occasional treat of orange is likely OK for your dog. Like people, dogs are omnivores that evolved eating both meat and plant food sources. Oranges definitely qualify as the latter.
Oranges Vitamins and Nutrients
According to Oranges.com, oranges contain valuable nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and of course, vitamin C. These nutrients help you and your dog maintain healthy cardiovascular and immune systems.
Although dogs do not require vitamin C in their diet, it can still provide antioxidant benefits. In fact, vitamin C fights free radicals produced by normal metabolism in your dog’s body every day, which damage healthy cells and increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Despite these nutritional benefits, eating too many oranges at once may lead to digestive issues for your dog. Why? Oranges are high in fiber—and we all know what that does to us, so spare your pooch the discomfort!
Rule of Thumb
In general, when offering human foods to your dog, veterinarians and pet nutritionists agree that a good rule of thumb is to not exceed 10% of your dog’s total calorie intake for the day.
In simpler terms, if you think of filling your dog’s food bowl with everything he or she eats in one day, at least 90% of the bowl’s contents should be a complete-and-balanced dog food. The other 10% can be made up of dog food and/or treats, including things like oranges.
To figure out what 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake looks like, start with PawedIn’s Ultimate Dog Calories Calculator for an estimate of how many calories your pet needs every day. And to find information on the calorie content of human foods, check the package label or use websites like CalorieKing.com.
At 45 calories per small orange, you could theoretically offer a 20-lb. dog (who needs about 460 calories daily) up to a whole orange and not exceed the 10% rule of thumb. However, this may be a challenge for his digestive system, especially for a small dog, so it is best to limit your dog’s intake to a section or two as a special treat.
Though oranges are an okay treat (in moderation), not all human foods are suitable for dogs! There are 10 foods you need to be very careful they do not eat.