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Food & Diet

Grapefruit And Dogs: Pup-Perfect Or Paw-sibly Perilous

At A Glance

Can dogs eat grapefruits, the slightly bitter or semi-sweet fruits that belong to the citrus family?

The flesh part of the grapefruit is safe for canine consumption. However, grapefruit skin and rind are toxic to dogs, and if ingested, your dog may experience the following symptoms:

  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

But since grapefruits have a slightly bitter taste, the chances are that your dog may avoid the fruit altogether.

Last Updated on: Apr 24, 2023

 

Grapefruits belong to the citrus family and are rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C. But the fruit is usually bitter making it a little hard to love despite its many health benefits

It is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, essential for a strong immune system. Moreover, it is low in calories. And while this juicy citrus fruit is a breakfast staple for many humans, can dogs eat grapefruit?

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not dogs can eat grapefruit, the potential benefits and risks, and what you should keep in mind if you plan on sharing this tart treat with your four-legged friend.

So, let’s dive in and find out if grapefruit is a safe and healthy snack for your pet!

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

The Citrus Conundrum

Should You Feed Your Dog Grapefruit? Well, grapefruit has a lot of amazing benefits. For example, just half of a medium-sized grapefruit will provide you with the following nutrients:

  • Calories – 52
  • Carbohydrates – 13 grams
  • Fiber – 2 grams
  • Folate – 4% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
  • Magnesium – 3% of the RDI
  • Potassium – 5% of the RDI
  • Protein – 1 gram
  • Thiamine – 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A – 28% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C – 64% of the RDI

With these many benefits, surely grapefruit is good for dogs, right?

Technically, it is. The nutrients present in the fruit will boost your pet’s immune system. However, not all parts of the grapefruit are safe for canine consumption.

The Good, The Bad, And The Not So Ugly: What Parts Of A Grapefruit Can Dogs Eat?

The flesh of the grapefruit is safe for canine consumption and therefore good for your dog too. And while a dog’s love for food knows no bounds, grapefruit might not find favor with all dogs, given its slightly bitter taste.

For dogs who love grapefruit, ensure they are only fed a small part of the flesh.

Can dogs eat grapefruit pulp?

It is actually the only part of the grapefruit your dog can eat. And although the peel is considered the most nutritious part of the fruit, your dog will still receive plenty of nutrients from the pulp.

What about the skin and seeds of the fruit?

That’s a hard no because the rind and skin of grapefruit are toxic to dogs. The seeds can also be a choking hazard.

From Grapefruit To Gripefruit: The Common Concerns

Most parts of the grapefruit are bad for dogs, so the smart thing would be to keep grapefruits away from your dog, especially if it’s among the small percentage of canines that love the fruit.

Why can grapefruit be a problem for dogs?

It’s too acidic. So, even if it is healthy to eat grapefruit pulp, you can only feed small amounts to your dog because it may lead to gastrointestinal distress.

Jan Dempsey, Senior Nutritionist, says, “The citric acid in grapefruit is so high it can throw off your dog’s digestive system. Remember that these fruits are a treat. Keep the 10% rule in mind. Treats should never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.”

Also, the peel, rind, and seeds are a big no-no for dogs because they have psoralens, a substance known to be toxic to both dogs and cats. In small amounts, your dog may experience minor gastrointestinal issues, but it may be fatal when consumed in large amounts.

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer, states, “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.”

And if your dog has dug into a grapefruit – peel, rind, and seeds included, contact your veterinarian to report possible food poisoning.

Symptoms & Causes of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

When it comes to citrus fruits like grapefruit, the flesh, leaves, peels, seeds, and stems, contain high amounts of citric acid that can cause food poisoning when ingested. And while the flesh or pulp of the fruit is the safest for dogs, the amount consumed must be limited. As mentioned at the beginning, grapefruit seeds, rind, and peel contain psoralens, which can be harmful to dogs.

Dogs and humans have similar symptoms when it comes to food poisoning. They may experience any or a combination of the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

In severe cases, some dogs may have seizures and collapse. Tremors and lack of coordination have also been among the reported symptoms of food poisoning.

If you’re still wondering can dogs eat grapefruit, the answer is they can, but in moderation and just the pulp of the fruit.

dog eating

Diagnosis & Treatment of Grapefruit Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog is showing multiple signs of food poisoning symptoms, call your vet immediately. Typically, when the symptom includes vomiting or diarrhea, the vet will most likely tell you to observe the situation. Other treatment methods include:

Fasting

If your dog is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea after eating grapefruit, the vet may put your pet on a 24-hour fast. Water is usually allowed in such cases. In most cases, your pet won’t be asking for food anyway, as it may be weak from dehydration.

If your dog continues to vomit or has diarrhea despite not eating any food, then it needs immediate medical examination. This also goes for when it stops vomiting or having diarrhea within the 24-hour fasting but the symptoms return after it begins eating again.

Induced Vomiting

Although scary, vomiting is a good sign because it means your dog’s body is trying to rid itself of the toxins. And if you’ve rushed your pet to the hospital, the vet will likely induce vomiting anyway.

Activated Charcoal

The vet may administer activated charcoal if the vomiting, whether at-home or induced, is unsuccessful. Activated charcoal helps bind the toxins so the body does not absorb them.

Antiemetic

An antiemetic is a type of drug given to dogs to give them relief from vomiting, which can be distressing and physically exhausting. The antiemetic will help stop the vomiting.

Intravenous Fluid Therapy

Your dog will need to drink a lot of water to replace the liquid lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

If it is still dehydrated, liquid must be introduced intravenously to your dog’s system. This will also flush the toxins out of its body quickly.

Zest For Life: Alternatives Fruits Your Furry Friend Can Relish

Citrus fruits aren’t completely bad for your dogs, although all citrus stems, peels, leaves, and seeds may cause food poisoning. Instead of giving your dog grapefruit flesh, try orange or tangerine pulp. Oranges and tangerines are sweeter versions of grapefruit with similar health benefits.

Other fruits that are safe for canine consumption include:

can dogs eat grapefruit - tweet

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If My Dog Eats Grapefruit?

A small amount of grapefruit pulp is good for your dog. Too much of the fruit may leave your pet feeling distressed from the citric acid, which can cause gastrointestinal issues. But it will start to feel better in a few hours.

However, contact the vet if you suspect your pet may have ingested the seeds, peel, or rind.

How Much Grapefruit Is Toxic to Dogs?

There is no specific amount of grapefruit that is considered okay or toxic for dogs because it depends on the size and breed.

However, a small amount of grapefruit flesh is safe for dogs of all sizes. If you are unsure, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian first.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit Skin?

No, the rind or skin of grapefruit can be toxic for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit Seeds?

No, the seeds are not just a choking hazard but they can also be toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Drink Grapefruit Juice?

It is not a good idea to give dogs grapefruit juice. They will probably not enjoy it anyway, given the slight sourness and bitterness of the fruit.

The high level of citric acid in the juice can also be harmful to dogs and will likely give your dog an upset stomach.

Can Grapefruit Kill Dogs?

Yes, grapefruit can be fatal. If dogs ingest a large quantity of the grapefruit peel, rind, or seeds, the resulting toxicity may be fatal.

In such cases, rush your pet to the vet immediately. Toxins, like psoralens, must be removed from the dog’s system at the earliest through induced vomiting or activated charcoal.

 

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.


Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.