Mandarins are a favorite fruit of many people, especially since they are packed with important nutrients like vitamin C. Many individuals enjoy them particularly during the winter when they might not have as many opportunities to get vitamin C from other fresh foods.
But can dogs eat mandarins? Can you put your canine friend’s health at a risk if you give them mandarins? Find out the answers to these questions and more below!
Should you give your dog mandarins?
While this fruit isn’t toxic to dogs per se, its high acidity might result in a variety of digestive problems. Dogs can experience bloating, vomiting, gas, or diarrhea, along with significant abdominal pain, especially if they have a large amount of this citrus fruit.
The same rule applies to other similar fruits, whether that be oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pomelo, or any other citrus you may ever want to give your dog.
Even though it’s true that mandarins contain a quite high amount of vitamin C, this nutrient can be found in safer foods, including vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. It’s also found in slightly safer fruit types such as kiwis.
Risks of giving your dog mandarins
Pesticides and other chemicals
Even though the number of such substances used in agriculture may have decreased to some extent over the past few years, pesticides and weed killers are still utilized on a large scale.
The trouble with all citrus fruit types is that they tend to retain these chemicals in their peels. Sometimes, if the peel is thin enough, they can pierce through it and reach the first layers of the fruit itself.
That means that even if you do a good job of never giving your dog unpeeled mandarins, they might still be exposed to a low quantity of these substances. Many of them are carcinogenic, so unless you want your dog to get cancer in their senior years, steering clear of such fruits altogether might be a good idea.
There is the option of you getting only organic mandarins if your canine companion is a huge aficionado of these snacks. In any case, never give them the peel.
Dangerous for obese and diabetic dogs
Most fruits are a little inappropriate for dogs in the sense that they can lead to significant spikes in their blood sugar. If your pet is a senior and they have a pancreatic health issue, they are overweight or obese, or they are diabetic, they shouldn’t be given fruit in general, and mandarins in particular.
As you probably know if you’ve ever eaten mandarins before, they tend to be quite sweet compared to other citrus fruits, such as grapefruit and sometimes even oranges.
They might not seem that dangerous, but mandarin seeds actually have traces of cyanide, which is a poison. And even if your dog may not develop a severe case of poisoning after eating a few seeds, they clearly are not healthy for them in general.
Can mandarins be good for dogs?
This type of fruit does contain a variety of nutrients that can naturally positively impact a dog’s health. However, the risks are more important in this case, so we suggest doing your dog’s blood work each time you go to the vet clinic for a check-up to see whether they have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Your veterinarian can recommend specific supplements depending on what your dog is deficient in and needless to say, those products are species-appropriate (unlike mandarins).
These citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. So, in theory, mandarins are healthy, but they just aren’t that good for dogs.
How many mandarins should my dog have?
Ideally, none. But if your dog truly loves citrus fruits and mandarins, you may give them a slice every 3-4 days without them experiencing any negative symptoms. Do keep in mind that every dog is different in terms of dietary requirements based on their health and that dogs also tend to vary a lot in terms of size depending on their breed.
So, a slice per week would be a good recommendation for most medium-sized dogs, but small and toy breeds should receive even smaller pieces. That is deseeded, cleaned, and peeled slices we’re referring to.
Any foods containing processed mandarins, such as jam, juice, muffins, or anything else you might bake with them are a no-go usually because they contain added sugar and other ingredients that dogs should not have.
Better mandarin alternatives
Your dog is allowed to eat a very broad range of fruits and vegetables that are all in all better than mandarins in terms of nutrition and risks. Seeded apples, blueberries, and cantaloupe are a few examples.
You can also give your dog veggies such as celery, carrots, or cucumbers, especially since they are so low in calories and many dogs might like the crunchy consistency. Small amounts of pineapple are also allowed since it is also very rich in vitamin C and contains other nutrients like vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
So, can dogs eat mandarins? Ideally, they shouldn’t, but this fruit is not toxic to them, so they can have very limited quantities. One slice per week is not going to hurt most dogs.
However, if your dog has irritable bowel syndrome or doesn’t process food as easily as other pets, you may want to avoid giving them mandarins altogether.