Can Dogs Have Grapefruit?

Health experts and know-it-alls like to expound upon the importance of getting enough vitamin C. They tell you how important it is to eat plenty of citrus fruits for natural ways to get the right amount of this immune-boosting vitamin. Before you start upping your dog’s vitamin C with a tart grapefruit, there are a few things you should know first.

Is Grapefruit Toxic for Dogs?

Grapefruit is toxic to dogs (and cats and horses, too). There’s a compound found in the fruit called psoralen, and it can kill dogs if the toxicity isn’t treated promptly.

What Parts of the Grapefruit Are Toxic?

The entire fruit should be considered off limits to your pooch, but there are certain parts that contain more psoralen than the actual flesh of the fruit. The peel, seeds, and pith are actually the most toxic parts of the fruit because they have the highest concentration of psoralen.

Symptoms of Grapefruit Toxicity

When your dog has ingested grapefruit, then they’ll start out with a series of GI symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. As the toxicity progresses, dogs become sensitive to light (photosensitive), exhibit excessive drooling, and be unable to walk or stand. Toxicity can be fatal, so if you suspect your dog has eaten grapefruit, get them to the vet immediately for treatment.

Treatment of Grapefruit Toxicity

If you and your vet are able to narrow down your dog’s symptoms to grapefruit ingestion, treatment will be started right away. Your dog will be given IV fluids and supportive care to treat any other symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. Bloodwork will be run to monitor their liver and kidney functions and ensure they aren’t getting dehydrated.

Depending on how long ago your dog ate the fruit, it’s possible your vet can induce vomiting and rid their stomach of the contents. In these cases, your vet induces vomiting (if it’s been less than 90 minutes since ingestion), and then they administer activated charcoal to soak up any residual toxins. Depending how much they ate and how they present, your dog might need to stay for IV fluids or they get a bolus of fluids underneath their skin and then go home for monitoring.

It’s not uncommon for people to think grapefruit is safe for dogs, but many citrus fruits are unsafe for your pup. If you live in an area where you or your neighbors have citrus trees, try to keep the yard free from fallen fruit to avoid any citrus ingestion.

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