4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Citrusy Food?



4 min read


Can Dogs Taste Citrusy Food?


We know that you probably like to give your dog's tasty treats - especially the ones you're eating. It's only natural, right? We love our pups and we want them to enjoy what we enjoy. This, however, isn't always safe. Dogs digest things differently than humans do, so they can't always eat the same things as us. So, what about that delicious orange you're eating? What about that grapefruit you eat every morning while your dog stares at you from under the table with big, begging eyes? Can you feed your dog citrus?

The answer: yes, but in moderation. Citrus fruits aren't toxic to dogs, but there are some that are better than others, and there are some precautions you should always take. For example, citrus should be given to your dog after you've approved it with your vet, under certain restrictions, and in small amounts. 

Want to know more about what kind of citrus you can feed your dog? Would you like to understand the benefits and dangers that are associated with citrus fruits and acids? Wanting a better idea of how to make sure your dog recognizes that a treat is just a treat and not part of their everyday diet? Read on! 


Signs Your Dog Has Had Too Much Citrus

Oranges, grapefruits, clementines, tangerines - they're delicious, aren't they? Even if you don't think so, your dog probably does. But can they eat them? 

Sure they can - in moderation! Why is that? Well, while citrus fruits can be delicious and healthy for your dog (they're packed with much-needed Vitamin C), they're also full of acid and sugars, things that can cause gastrointestinal upset and discomfort for your dog. Giving your dog 1-2 segments of a peeled citrus fruit that's been cut up and seeded can be a delicious treat! 

There are signs that your dog has had too much citrus, though. If your pooch is struggling with digestive issues and vomits, has poor bathroom habits, and has loose or bloody stool, it's possible that the high amounts of acid and sugars are not agreeing with your doggo. This can also result in a lack of appetite and weight loss. 

On the flip side, too much citrus fruit can result in weight gain, too! Dogs with diabetes might find the sugar content in citrus fruit much too high and it might mess with their blood sugar too much. Alternatively, too much citrus can affect your dog the way that too much sugar can affect humans - big highs and even bigger crashes! Watch out for this.

Body Language

Odds are, if your dog has had too much citrus, their body is letting you know. Check out some of these signs if you think your dog has had too much citrus:

  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Weakness
  • Body Freezing
  • Drooling
  • Dropped Ears
  • Pupils Dilated

Other Signs

There are other signs to look out for, too:

  • Tremors
  • High Blood Sugar
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Drooling

Historic Causes of Citrus Issues in Dogs


Citrus can actually be a delicious and healthy treat for your dog - it's non-toxic and it's chalk full of vitamin C ( a nutrient your dog definitely needs). That being said, it can be dangerous for your pup if they accidentally eat too much citrus fruit! 

There are a few reasons for this. Often, it's because of over-consumption, and that can either be the pawrents fault or fall back on an overly-curious doggo. People will feed much-too-much citrusy fruits to their doggo or they won't understand that their pooch can only eat a small amount per day. Too much citrus can mean too much acid, which can tear up your poor pup's stomach, resulting in GI issues and an uncomfortable pooch. 

It's also risky to give your pup too much citrus because of the sugar - especially for diabetic dogs. Citrus can raise blood sugar too high! Additionally, one of the historical issues with citrus and dogs is that owners won't peel the fruit or take the seeds out. Both of these things are choking hazards, but they can also cause GI trouble and obstruct your pooch's bowels. 

The Science Behind Citrus Foods


Scientifically-speaking, citrus can offer you pup a ton of benefits. In limited amounts, non-toxic citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, nectarines, and tangerines can provide your dog with tons of nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and more! They are, however, pretty acidic and high in sugar content, two things that don't always agree with your doggo's diet. in moderation, however, they can offer that dose of Vitamin C that your dog needs, but isn't getting. 

That being said, dogs aren't set up like humans, so they digest things differently. Too much acid, or giving your dog citrus rinds, can cause gastrointestinal upset, affect the blood values of your pooch, and even cause dramatic weight gain. 

Training Your Dog to Eat Citrus Foods in Moderation


We understand the desire to give your dog a treat, especially a treat that you're eating, but it's important that you're training your pooch to recognize that a treat is a treat and doesn't always mean that they get to eat that food item regularly. It's also important that your dog is able to listen to what you're telling them to protect them from over-consumption. 

For example, ensuring that your dog has a strong grasp on normal, daily obedience commands like "no" and "drop it" can work wonders for your pooch. Let's say you come inside from a long walk and you see your dog sprint toward the counter where the oranges are placed. You know you can't beat your dog there, but you also know if you shout out a loud and commanding "No," you won't have to. If you find your dog jowls-deep in the fruit bowl, a simple "leave it" or "drop" it should be enough for your pup to do just that - drop the citrus! 

Additionally, it's important that your pooch understands a treat is just a treat, and not part of their diet. Sometimes doggos can get picky, but it's important for their balanced diets that they don't. 

So, if your dog won't eat the kibble your put in front of them because it's lacking a tangerine, no sweat! Simply leave your dogs food out for about an hour, then pick it up. If your dog doesn't eat, tough luck! Your dog is an animal and will eat whenever they're hungry. We never recommend starving your dog, but we do recommend sticking to scheduled meal times with whichever food you deem necessary for their diet. 

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Safety Tips for Dogs Eating Citrus:

  1. Talk to your dog-tor about citrus amounts that are safe for your dog.
  2. Feed your dog citrus in small amounts.
  3. Only feed your dog approved citrus.
  4. Don't assume that citrus fruits mean all fruits.

By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Published: 04/01/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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