Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

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Grapefruit is a tropical citrus fruit known for its somewhat controversial sweet and sour taste.

However, if you’re someone that enjoys your citrus fruits, you might be curious to know whether your furry friend can enjoy the taste of grapefruit as well.

In this article, I will cover whether dogs can eat grapefruit and why grapefruit can upset your dog’s stomach.

So, let’s get started. 

Table of Contents

Can dogs eat grapefruit? 

No, generally speaking, you shouldn’t feed your dog grapefruit. This comes down to the fact that while the flesh isn’t considered toxic to dogs, it can cause stomach irritations for dogs even if they don’t typically have a sensitive stomach.

In addition to this, the rind and seeds of grapefruit are toxic to dogs.

The majority of dogs won’t be tempted by grapefruit due to the bitter taste. Grapefruit is an acquired taste that you either love or hate, and dogs don’t tend to like bitter tastes.

Most dogs find this taste off-putting and usually avoid eating grapefruit and other citrus fruits. This is usually a fairly good indication that out of all of the fruits that you could feed your dog, grapefruit isn’t necessarily the best choice for your dog.

Can dogs eat peeled grapefruit?

Cute tiny dog sitting next to a grapefruit that is sliced in half.

A dog can eat grapefruit flesh, but it’s best to not encourage him to eat it if he doesn’t seem interested in it. Eating grapefruit may cause a variety of different problems for him, including loose stool, an upset stomach, and vomiting to name a few.

The citric acid in grapefruit is so high it can throw off your dog’s digestive system. It’s important to mention that there are many other fruits you can feed your dog that aren’t as acidic as grapefruit.

If you know that your dog has a sensitive stomach, then a different fruit is likely the better choice to offer to your pooch.

Why can it be bad for dogs to eat grapefruit?

Dogs can have an adverse reaction to grapefruit for a variety of different reasons. 

Namely, the flesh of grapefruit 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. In addition to this, the rind contains essential oils which are toxic to dogs.

This is 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.

Dangers of grapefruit 

The skin (rind) and seeds of the grapefruit plant itself are the main reason that you should avoid giving your dog grapefruit. These are the toxic parts of the fruit and can cause more severe tummy upsets and other issues, such as lethargy and skin problems.

In addition to the skin being toxic, it is also indigestible and should not be consumed by your pooch for this reason. If your dog accidentally eats a large volume of grapefruit skin, it could cause a blockage in their stomach or guts, which may require emergency surgery.

As a result, you should always call your vet immediately to ensure that your dog is okay.

While the flesh is not thought to be dangerous, it can cause tummy irritation to dogs if fed in high quantities.

You should try to keep any unprepared grapefruit out of reach from your canine companion. If he accidentally gets a hold of and ate a large quantity of this fruit, it could make him very unwell.

So, you will need to make sure that you keep your fruit bowl up high in a fruit bowl so that it is out of their reach.

Symptoms caused by grapefruit 

The toxic elements in grapefruit are said to be essential oils and the substance psoralen. 

While you should be aware of the dangers if your dog eats grapefruit, this is in much higher concentrations in the skin and fleshy rind of the grapefruit. 

That being said, if your dog has a small amount of grapefruit, the chances are that your dog will be okay. However, it’s important to know that they could show a variety of symptoms including:

Diarrhea – Due to the citric acid in grapefruit, this can upset your dog’s stomach and lead to loose stools and diarrhea. Your dog will likely have loose stools for a few days, and you will need to monitor their diet and their hydration levels much more closely during this time.

Vomiting – Depending on your dog’s size and the size of the grapefruit, a symptom your dog might show is vomiting. Vomiting can dehydrate your dog very quickly, so you will need to monitor how much water they are consuming throughout the day.

In addition to this, if your dog eats the rind of the grapefruit, they can begin to show much more sinister symptoms.

UV sensitivity – The psoralen is known to lead to photosensitive dermatitis when ingested. That being said, when your dog is exposed to UV light from the sun, this skin condition can be triggered.

Weakness – If your dog appears lethargic or weaker than usual when they’re standing, it could be a sign that they have ingested a large volume of grapefruit seeds or eaten the peel.

Excessive drooling – Another sign that your dog is experiencing grapefruit toxicity is excessive drooling. While it’s normal for your dog to drool occasionally, it could be a sign of a bigger issue that you need to diagnose.

If your dog has accidentally ingested an entire grapefruit, you will need to make sure that your dog is given veterinary care as soon as you can.

While grapefruit toxicity is rarely fatal, it can potentially cause your dog distressing adverse symptoms and side effects so it is better to be safe than sorry.

In summary 

Technically, the flesh of grapefruit given in small quantities is unlikely to cause any major concerns for your pup. 

However, it’s generally safer to avoid giving it to your pooch as you will still need to be wary of the peel and seeds of grapefruit that are toxic to dogs.