Can Dogs Eat Grapefruit?

If you think letting your dog eat grapefruit is a good idea, think again! Citrus fruits like grapefruit are toxic to dogs! Containing a compound called psoralen, large amounts of grapefruit can sometimes cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. 

If your dog has eaten this delicious fruit (including the flesh, seeds or peel), detoxification is the key. If you get the toxin out of your dog's system, they should be fine. I recommend contacting your vet immediately. 

Symptoms of grapefruit poisoning:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Photosensitivity
can dogs eat grapefruit citrus poisonous

When you visit your vet, they will likely ask questions about what happened before your dog displayed these symptoms. They will also perform a physical exam. 

If your dog vomits or has diarrhoea, your vet will also test it. It rules out any other possible causes, i.e. internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth. If it's depression, no test can determine the cause of it.   

If your dog is having some sort of skin reaction or photosensitivity, your vet might take a skin scraping sample. It will rule out other causes of irritation. 

To check your dog's organs and internal system, the vet may decide on a complete blood count (CBC) or chemistry panel. These will tell you how your dog's organs are managing with the toxin. 

Urine tests will evaluate kidney function. A packed cell volume test (PCV) will check any concerns about dehydration.

Top Tips:

  • Even in small amounts, grapefruit is bad for dogs. You may think because citrus fruits have health benefits for humans, it's the same for our four-legged friends - it's not.
  • It's definitely worth going to your vet if you're in any doubt. The photosensitive properties of grapefruit have serious side effects. Even mild symptoms can develop into something problematic if you don't treat it.
dogs grapefruit poisonous psoralens

Treatment Plan

First, see your vet as they can pick the most appropriate treatment depending on how bad your dog's symptoms are. Treatments can include:

Emesis - If you suspect your dog ate a grapefruit, then your vet will induce vomiting. Doing so will empty the stomach and stop any remaining pieces absorbing into the body. 

If there's a long time delay between eating the grapefruit and vomiting, activated charcoal is your next go-to solution. It neutralises the toxins and prevents them from being absorbed into your dog's body. 

Some dogs might react a bit too well. If your dog is continuously vomiting from the grapefruit's toxicity, your vet can give an antiemetic to relieve it. 

Intravenous Fluids - After throwing up, dehydration can be a problem. IV fluids will help stop your dog from dehydrating further and will flush the toxins from their body quicker. 

Skin treatment - A medicinal ointment or cream might calm the skin irritation and itching. It also speeds up the healing process.

Avoid the sun - It's only relevant if your dog has become photosensitive (sensitive to light). If you're concerned, keep them out of the sun until the toxin leaves their system.