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For many people, grapefruit is a favorite fruit, a juicy addition to salads and other dishes. Full of antioxidants, grapefruit also has a unique, tangy flavor. If you’re eating grapefruits, you might wonder if dogs can have grapefruit.

Can Dogs Have Grapefruit?

Like oranges, dogs can generally eat small amounts of grapefruit without issues. But though grapefruits are a great source of vitamin C, is grapefruit good for dogs? Not really.

Although the flesh of grapefruit isn’t toxic for dogs, it’s best to avoid feeding it to them. Grapefruit “can be very irritating to the gut of a dog,” advises Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC. This is in part due to the high levels of citric acid in grapefruits.

Miniature Bull Terrier sitting with a food bowl in its mouth.
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Dogs and Grapefruit Peels

While dogs can technically consume the flesh of a grapefruit in small amounts, the same can’t be said for the rest of the fruit. With grapefruits, “the skin and rind are toxic to dogs,” explains Dr. Klein, because of the natural essential oils that the skin contains. If your dog consumes grapefruit peels, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. If you are eating grapefruits or cooking with them, be very cautious of how you dispose of leftover fruit and rinds (which should be placed in trash containers that your dog can’t open.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Grapefruit

If your pet does eat grapefruit, they might experience gastrointestinal distress. If your dog consumes a large amount of the flesh, you should contact your veterinarian, while if they eat grapefruit rind or skin, you should call a veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your dog’s condition; be sure to tell them how much grapefruit your dog ate so they can determine if your dog should be seen in person and what treatment they might need.

Chocolate Labrador retriever puppy eating the spilled dog food on the floor outside his dish.
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How to Safely Share Citrus With Your Dog

If you want to safely share a bit of citrus with your dog, give them a small piece of tangerines or orange flesh: just not the peels. Before introducing any new food to your dog, discuss it with your vet. Only feed your dog a small amount; discontinue feeding them that fruit if you notice any change in behavior or subsequent stomach upset.

Related article: Can Dogs Eat Lemons?
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