Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?


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Dogs are more likely to show an interest in the taste, color, and aroma of human food when it is present around. However, before you give in to the temptation to spoil your pet, do some research on the food first. The same goes for the fruits.

Fruits are healthy for your furry friend when served in moderate quantities. Some of them, such as cherries, tomatoes, and grapes, are known to be toxic to dogs. However, like bananas, apples, kiwis, and strawberries, many of them are perfectly fine for canine consumption. When it comes to fruits, how about including citrus fruit, particularly grapefruit, in your dog’s diet? Grapefruit is a popular fruit among humans, but can you feed your dog grapefruit?

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

Grapefruit is appealing to the eyes due to its dark pink to orange-red color and provides a lot of health benefits. However, while dog owners can enjoy these benefits, dogs are not the same. Grapefruit causes several harms and can be toxic to dogs. Moreover, it does not have all the nutrients and doesn’t provide a balanced diet.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit Flesh?

The citric acid in this acidic fruit has been blamed for bloating and stomach upsets in dogs, but a recent study seems to say the other way around. The acid is important for producing ATP (the chief energy currency of the cells). Many pet food manufacturers use it as a stabilizer in ready-made foods, and dogs have not been detected with any side effects. So eating grapefruit flesh in small quantities is perfectly fine for dogs. However, many dogs don’t like the sour taste of the fruit; in that case, don’t force your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit Peels?

The peel or rind of grapefruit is toxic for the dog. It contains chemicals called psoralens which pose toxicity hazards to both cats and dogs. These chemicals that cause gastrointestinal distress are also known to have a phototoxic effect on the dog’s skin. It means if a dog eats grapefruit or grapefruit peel and is exposed to sunlight, the ingested psoralens lead to severe skin irritation and dermatitis. Moreover, the peel is rich in essential oils which are not digested in the dog’s digestive system. These can cause indigestion, diarrhea, and vomiting. If ingested in large amounts, it can be fatal.

Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit Seeds?

Grapefruit seeds are toxic to dogs because of the same reasons as above: psoralens and essential oil. Essential oils have high potency to upset a dog’s stomach. When metabolized within the liver, these can lead to severe toxicity and even liver failure. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is inappropriate for canine consumption due to the same reasons. Although it is associated with a number of health benefits in humans, it should never be given to the dog. Some people often use essential oils containing citrus oil to massage a dog’s body or simply apply them to their fur. This practice should also be avoided as the dog may lick his fur and ends up developing different health issues.

Can Dogs Have Grapefruit Juice?

Grapefruit is not safe for dogs, so the pet parents wonder if their dogs can have juice made out of grapefruit flesh. No, juices are not safe for dogs as they have added sugars. Anything high in sugar can make the dog susceptible to diabetes, dental problems, and weight gain, and we all know it won’t end here. Instead, obesity will bring numerous hazards with it.

Health Benefits of Grapefruit Flesh

The flesh of this citrus fruit can provide several benefits to the dog’s body. If a dog eats some of the flesh with the seeds removed, rest assured as the dog will experience the following benefits:

Vitamin C

Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C supplementation is necessary for sick dogs and those engaged in some physical exercises. However, healthy dogs can make it on their own.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress by removing the harmful oxygen radicals from the body. It also plays a role in producing collagen that helps prevent arthritis by restoring the cartilage in affected areas.

Boost Immune System

Grapefruit has loads of vitamin A in it. This vitamin is essential in empowering the immune system. It has anti-inflammation properties and regulates cellular immune responses as well. Besides this, a nutrient is important for good vision and the developmental processes of the body.

Improves Cardiac Health

Grapefruit lowers the blood pressure and the cholesterol level of the body. In addition, it protects the canine friends from the risk of heart diseases. It is due to the adequate amounts of potassium and fibers present in the fruit. Grapefruit also has naringin. This compound is responsible for the bitter taste of the fruit as well as hydrolyzes the fats converting them into small fatty acids. In this way, it also reduces the risk of hypertension.

Keeps Body Hydrated

91% water content of the fruit makes grapefruit good for dogs. It can help prevent dehydration. Dehydration can be fatal in dogs. Dogs are constantly losing water during urination, panting, and evaporation via sweat glands. Reduced fluid in the body disturbs the electrolyte concentration and hinders the delivery of nutrients to different organs. Dog skin is normally elastic, but it becomes slightly stiff when a dog is experiencing dehydration. Other symptoms of dehydration in a dog include dryness of gums, thick saliva, and loss of appetite. Extreme conditions can cause them to collapse.

Improves Brain Health

Grapefruit is rich in flavonoids. These compounds protect the nerve cells against damage. They also promote memory and the learning power of the dogs. They not only prevent but also change the direction of action of neurotoxicants. It also gives rise to new nerve cells in the hippocampus (a brain part).

Downsides of Grapefruit

Though humans go for a grapefruit diet and experience amazing results of weight loss, it can’t be followed to reduce obesity in dogs. The flesh can be fed occasionally if the dogs enjoy it, but too many grapefruits can disturb the dog’s system putting the dog at the peril of the following health issues:

Digestive Issues

Eating grapefruit in large quantities or consuming peels, seeds, or pith can lead to digestive issues in the dog. Suppose your dog vomits, exhibits severe abdominal pain, or shows any signs of diarrhea after eating grapefruit. In that case, it is a clear sign that grapefruit has not been digested in his body, or he may have engulfed the peels along with the flesh. The peels can’t be broken down in the stomach and may cause blockage of the gastrointestinal system. If your dog is showing any of the above symptoms, consult a local veterinarian to avoid dehydration. He will apply intravenous fluid therapies to compensate for the loss of water due to vomiting or diarrhea.

Grapefruit Toxicity

A severe form of grapefruit toxicity in dogs is grapefruit poisoning. The dogs will show the symptoms that are mentioned before but will be more severe. In order to treat grapefruit poisoning in dogs, detoxification is the key. Visit a veterinarian immediately because if it is not treated in a timely manner, the prognosis declines. He will induce vomiting or will administer activated charcoal to neutralize the effect of toxins. Further diagnostics may include a physical exam of the dog’s organs by a veterinarian or lab work, including a complete blood count to know how his organs are handling the toxins.


Another hazard of consuming grapefruits is photosensitization, mainly due to psoralens, the chemicals associated with the grapefruit plant. Psoralens are rich in grapefruit, its seeds, and flesh. Most dogs will exhibit dermatitis when they contact the UV rays of sunlight after they eat grapefruit parts containing these chemicals. These can be toxic enough to cause anaphylaxis in the dog. In such cases, you have to visit the vet immediately and ensure that he removes all the toxins before the dog’s body absorbs them. The dog should be kept under a consistent check to ensure a full recovery. The best practice is to keep the foods containing psoralens off limits the reach of your dog.

Healthy Alternatives

If you really want to serve a fruit bowl to your dog, find some healthy alternatives instead. Although dogs need proteins as a major part of their diet, some fresh and healthy fruits also make a great option when fed along with meat and other dog foods. For example, if you are eating grapefruit yourself and your pet is sitting beside you, you can serve him another citrus fruit like orange. You can feed your dog healthy fruits like apples, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, cranberries, and pumpkins. All of them are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for your furry friend’s health. But keep in mind these fruits are high in sugars; therefore, they should be served in moderate amounts. Beware of the fruits that are toxic for him, like raisins, grapes, and tomatoes.


A dog can eat grapefruit, but only its fleshy part. Therefore, the flesh of this fruit should also be fed in only small quantities. Although flesh has some benefits for your pooch as well,  large amounts can cause stomach upset. Seeds, pith, and the rind are what make a grapefruit bad for him. These contain different toxic chemicals which can lead to grapefruit poisoning and photosensitization in the dog. In addition, the juice of this fruit is high in sugars and should be avoided, especially if your dog is diabetic. If you want to feed fruit to your pup, find a healthy alternative to citrus fruit.

I hope you found this article helpful.

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