Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/20/20242-4 minutes

Flavors help dogs know what foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Though dogs’ taste buds may steer them away from grapefruit, should you coax them into trying the tart fruit? Read on to learn more about grapefruit and your dog.

Is Grapefruit Good for Dogs?

Dogs can eat the flesh of grapefruit. But most dogs won’t be tempted by grapefruit because of the taste. “Dogs can taste bitter flavors, and they don’t like it. It is generally always a negative,” explains Purina Senior Nutritionist Jan Dempsey. That means your dog may never try the fruit, and that’s fine. If your dog avoids eating grapefruit, it could be for the best. Grapefruit flesh is very acidic and can cause digestive issues for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Peeled Grapefruit?

A dog can eat grapefruit flesh, but it’s best to not force him to eat it. Eating grapefruit may create problems for him–loose stool, vomiting, etc. “The citric acid in grapefruit is so high it can throw off your dog’s digestive system,” explains Purina Senior Nutritionist Jan Dempsey. There are many other fruits you can feed your dog. Try apple slices with the seeds removed or mashed banana instead.

Why Can Grapefruit be a Problem for Dogs?

“There are a few different reasons why dogs might have an adverse reaction to grapefruit,” Dempsey says. “The rind has essential oils which are toxic to dogs.” Plus, the flesh is very acidic and while you may like the tart flavor, the high levels of citric acid can throw off your dog’s digestive system. That’s why it’s best to call your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has eaten any part of a grapefruit’s rind or plant parts.

What Should Owners Do if Dogs Eat an Unattended Grapefruit?

If you see evidence that your dog ate grapefruit you did not prepare for him, it’s best to call your veterinarian. Grapefruit rinds and plant parts are toxic to dogs. The flesh is very acidic but is not toxic like the rind, so give your veterinarian specific information; it will help her know how to advise you.

Are There Any Citrus Fruits Dogs Can Eat?

Absolutely! Not all citrus fruits are as acidic as grapefruit. Your dog can eat small amounts of orange and tangerine. “Offer your dog one section and see if he likes it,” Dempsey suggests. Then watch his behaviors. If a slice doesn’t cause any digestive upset, you can add these fruits into his diet. “Remember that these fruits are a treat. Keep the 10% rule in mind. Treating should never take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake,” Dempsey advises.

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