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Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit? – How To Avoid Grapefruit Poisoning

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Grapefruit is a popular and healthy breakfast fruit for humans but can dogs eat grapefruit and reap the same rewards and benefits?

Like most fruits, there are parts of a grapefruit that are safe for dogs to eat and other parts that are unsuitable and may even be toxic to your canine friend. So the answer to can dogs eat grapefruit is yes but you must be careful about how you prepare it for them.

Here you can learn how to separate the toxic from the non-toxic, the best way to feed your dog grapefruit; and discover why some dog owners regularly offer their dog grapefruit pieces when other owners refuse to offer this fruit at all.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

Grapefruits contain toxins that are harmful to dogs but the seedless inner flesh of grapefruit can be eaten as it is non-toxic and enjoyable to dogs when fed in small quantities.

It must be noted that there are several different varieties of grapefruit. Grapefruits are also available in a variety of shapes, and sizes, with inner flesh colored either red, pink, or white, they are seeded or seedless and can be semi-sweet to sour.

However, regardless of the type of grapefruit you have, the acidic, toxic, and beneficial properties to dogs remain the same.

Which Parts Of A Grapefruit Are Toxic To dogs

The rind, pith, seeds, and any stem or leaves attached to a grapefruit contain citric essential oils and the compound psoralen which are considered toxic to dogs.

High levels of essential oils can metabolize in a dog’s liver and if fed to a dog regularly they can cause liver failure and death.

Please read:- Essential Oils And The Danger To Cats, Dogs, And Birds

Psoralens can also have a phototoxic effect on a dog’s skin which means that when your dog is exposed to sunlight the psoralens irritate the skin and can lead to phototoxic dermatitis.

Additionally, the rind of grapefruit is tough and largely indigestible and should never be offered to a dog to chew upon as it is a choking and internal blockage hazard for dogs of all shapes, and sizes.

Which Parts Of A Grapefruit Are Safe For dogs

Grapefruit flesh is considered safe for dogs to eat in small quantities with all pith and seeds removed as it only contains trace amounts of psoralen.

In addition, the citric acid in a grapefruit when ingested in small amounts can be important as it assists in the production of ATP (Adenosinetriphosphate) which provides energy to many living cells.

However, If a dog eats large quantities of grapefruit flesh the citric acid will cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. Ingesting very large quantities the citric acid will prove dangerous for your dog and veterinarian care should be sought.

How To Feed Your Dog Grapefruit

The only part of a grapefruit safe for your dog to eat is the inner flesh with the seeds removed and free of all pith. Due to the high sugar and citric acid content, it should only be offered in small amounts of perhaps one or two segments irregularly.

Grapefruit can be offered raw, frozen, or mashed but should never be offered as a juice, smoothie, or in any type of concentrated form.

Grapefruits are naturally high in sugar content and offering your dog the juice of grapefruit can lead to diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, and pancreatic problems

Benefits To Dogs From Eating Grapefruit

Grapefruits are fat-free, high in fiber, low in calories, and contain antioxidants that can help to fight disease. They are also about 92% water which can help to hydrate the body on a hot day.

The nutritional benefits of grapefruit flesh to a dog are:-

  • Antioxidants – are natural substances that protect cells from free radicals which are molecules that can lead to diseases like cancer.

  • Vitamin A – is a nutrient important to vision, cell division, and reproduction, and is vital to the immune system.

  • Vitamin C – is a nutrient important in the development of blood vessels, muscle, cartilage, and collagen in bones.

  • Fiber – helps with digestion and prevents binding together waste products.

  • Potassium – supports normal blood pressure and helps to maintain fluid within the cells of the body.

  • Phosphorus – helps to filter out waste in the kidneys and reduces muscle pain

    Grapefruit flesh is also rich in flavonoids which protect nerve cells against damage and aid in brain functions in dogs in areas such as memory and learning.

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For a list of foods toxic to dogs please read:- Toxic Foods For Dogs + Signs Your Dog Is Poisoned

Risks to Dogs From Eating Grapefruit

The major risks to dogs from eating grapefruit are:-

  • Rind, Pith, and Seeds – all three contain psoralen which is a compound used as a treatment for skin disorders in humans but can induce gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, and phototoxic dermatitis in dogs.

    The rind of grapefruit can also become a choking hazard if ingested and may cause gastrointestinal distress, and blockage as it is largely indigestible.

  • Citric essential oils – can overpower a dog’s senses and interrupt signals to the brain as up to 40% of a dog’s brain is dedicated to analyzing aromas. Citric essential oils can also accumulate in the liver eventually causing liver failure and death.

  • Citric acid – the high acid levels in grapefruit combined with a high sugar content can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating in the stomach.
    The high sugar content may also lead to the destruction of healthy gut bacteria which can lower immunity.

How Does Grapefruit Poisoning Occur In Dogs

Grapefruit poisoning occurs in dogs as a result of an overpowering accumulation of psoralen, citric acid, citric essential oils, high sugar levels, and a compromised immune system from eating too much grapefruit.

Signs of grapefruit poisoning may differ slightly from dog to dog but a dog experiencing grapefruit poisoning will be depressed and in a weakened state from vomiting, diarrhea, gut pain, bloating, photosensitivity and skin irritation.

The dog may also be dehydrated from the loss of bodily fluids from the vomiting and diarrhea and could have an internal blockage.

It is vital that a dog showing signs of grapefruit poisoning is taken to a veterinarian immediately as there is a risk to life.

Summary of -Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

Dogs can eat grapefruit flesh but no other part of the fruit. Grapefruit flesh is not completely risk-free and any feeding of the flesh must be strictly limited and irregular.

Grapefruit can be enjoyed by your dog but the benefits are tiny compared to the risks involved so it would be better to avoid this fruit altogether and feed your dog a lower-risk fruit.


For a list of fruits safe for dogs to eat please read:-
What Kind Of Fruit Can Dogs Eat? Safe & Unsafe Updated 2022

You may also like:-
Can A Dog Eat Vegetables? – Safe And Unsafe (Updated 2022)

If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something they shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian, local veterinary emergency clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Disclaimer:
Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. The only clear option for ensuring your dog’s health is to feed a diet checked and prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian. Feeding human foods of any sort can be dangerous to dogs and carries some degree of risk that is not under this website’s control.

A proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast, Mark has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.

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