It is common for dogs to eat anything they can get inside their mouths, whether it is good or not for them. On that note, dogs surprisingly love fruits from time to time, their top favorites being strawberries, bananas, and apples. These are crunchy, delicious, and packed with nutrients. But what about orange-colored fruits, then? Can dogs eat mandarins? Are oranges generally toxic or safe for dogs?
The short answer to this topic question: YES! Mandarins are absolutely safe for dogs to eat!
They provide tasty snacks as a palate cleanser from all the meat and veggies they eat. As with anything, moderation is the key to sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Treating Fido to small quantities of mandarin oranges is completely safe and healthy for them. As long as you stay within the acceptable percentage for snacks in their diet (10%), then there is no reason not to give your hound a segment or two!
Keep on reading as we discuss the many wonderful benefits of mandarin oranges to dogs. In this blog post, we also share how you can give an appropriate and safely digestible amount of mandarins that will not overwhelm canine bellies.
Healthful Benefits of Mandarin Oranges to Fido
Every mandarin orange is composed of a carpel (juice sac/segment), an epicarp (rind/peel), an exocarp (pith/albedo), and an endocarp (pulp). As we know, mandarins are excellent sources of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, thiamine, folate, and even calcium. They are small, sweet, zesty, and easy to peel, making them a perfect citric snack for your furry pal.
Mandarins not only taste amazing but also boast nutritional benefits for humans and animals. To answer your question of “can dogs eat mandarins?”, let us discuss its healthful benefits for canines.
The dietary fiber in mandarins works to normalize bowel movements. They can also aid in lowering a dog’s cholesterol levels, thereby promoting long-term health when consumed in moderate amounts.
You would think that collagen is only preserved for humans, but dogs actually need collagen, too! Aside from improving the appearance and condition of skin, hair, and nails, collagen improves skin elasticity in dogs. This results in less itching and shedding and gives them shinier and softer coats.
Fruits have the natural effect of boosting the immune system against germs, bacteria, and viruses. In the case of dogs, it helps to pay extra attention to their diets, given their inclination towards adventurous bouts. Dogs are always in the mood to get down and dirty. Thus, it is better to give them extra protection with the food you serve them than leave their good health to chance.
Of course, we cannot talk about oranges without discussing their vitamin C goodness. For dogs, consuming mandarins in moderate quantities can potentially lower their stress hormone levels and blood pressure. This is particularly beneficial for anxious dogs who find mundane tasks or events stressful.
Improved Liver Function
The extra nutrients provided by mandarins can also help dogs with liver problems tenfold. Senior dogs can be given aid as well.
So what is the correlation between oranges and the liver?
We know that the liver processes blood from the stomach and intestine and distributes nutrients to the body. When the organ is incapable of functioning normally, nutrients from the foods we eat are essential. In this case, mandarin oranges will be helpful for dogs!
Potassium is another benefit dogs can get from mandarins. It is responsible for the electric charges in the nerves, heart, and muscles.
Hypokalemia or potassium deficiency results in lethargy, loss of appetite, and a decrease in muscle mass. The key solution is feeding canines with fruits and vegetables packed with potassium, including mandarin oranges. Understandably, dogs can be finicky. Fortunately, there are fun ways to incorporate potassium into their diet.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
Speaking of muscles and energy, mandarins are a great source of vitamin B1 or thiamine, which is critical for energy metabolism. Thiamine deficiency can lead to organ failure. It is noteworthy to know that dogs (and even cats) cannot synthesize thiamine, so this makes it even more vital to include mandarin in their food intake.
Vitamin B9 or Folate
Another vitamin worth mentioning in this article is Vitamin B9. This is more commonly known as Folate or Folacin. It is a water-soluble B vitamin that is essential in the following functions: forms blood cells, promotes rapid cell growth in pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence, and utilizes amino acids in producing proteins, among many. Excellent folate sources include dark leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, and select fruits like a mandarin.
Calcium would seem impossible to imagine in mandarins but they do exist! It is general knowledge that they keep bones, muscles, organs, and joints intact for your dog’s general health and extra strength for playtime.
Mandarins may not be the number one source of calcium, but if your dog can still benefit from the small amount they can get, why not let them indulge, right?
While we are on the topic of oranges, let us set another concern straight. Are other types of oranges safe for dogs, too?
“Mandarin orange” is actually an umbrella term for a wide array of oranges. Aside from mandarins, other types of oranges such as satsumas, clementines, and tangerines are also safe for dogs to consume. Citric flavors may not be highly favored by canine palates, but dogs who can appreciate this unique flavor are more than welcome to give other citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and grapefruits a try!
When is it NOT Safe to Give Them Mandarins?
As a general consensus, every food has its good and bad effects. In the case of mandarin oranges, there are circumstances that hinder canines from enjoying this citric fruit. Let us take a look at some reasons why mandarins may not be good for dogs.
Dogs with High Acid Levels
We know that mandarin oranges are high in acid levels. Anything below a pH level of 7 is considered acidic. Oranges have a pH level of 3.3 to 4.2. With that said, dogs with pre-determined stomach issues should stir clear from mandarins and other fruits of citric nature to not aggravate their condition.
Another case is the sensitive gastrointestinal (GI) system. Canines with GI should not have any oranges of any type by any means. The acid level in this fruit can worsen the inflammation in the gastrointestinal organ and induce diarrhea or vomiting. When prolonged, this could lead to dehydration. GI has a variety of sources like infection, foreign bodies, and toxins from cleaning products or food. Feel free to read more information on gastroenteritis in dogs here.
Allergies on mandarins are a rare case but it is possible. Even when mandarins are naturally safe for canines to consume, showing an allergic reaction is enough reason not to give your furry pal a segment of mandarin, even if they beg with pleading eyes.
Diabetes and Obesity
Diabetes in dogs is another absolute reason why you should refrain from letting Fido eat mandarins. There are two types of diabetes applicable to canines.
The first is insulin-deficiency diabetes, where there is not enough insulin in the body. This is the more common type of diabetes among dogs. Dogs with diagnosed insulin-deficiency diabetes need insulin replacement as the best solution.
Meanwhile, insulin-resistance diabetes is more prone on senior dogs and obese dogs. This occurs when the body produces insulin but fails to utilize it.
So what has the fruit got to do with this?
The fructose (fruit sugar) in the orange can spike a canine’s blood sugar level, so it is best to avoid mandarins and similarly sweet fruits and foods. In effect, overweight or obese dogs should refrain from this citric fruit as well to maintain their blood sugar at a manageable level.
Fruit peels may look harmless, but in the case of canines eating fruits, mandarin peels should never be served. Unpeeled mandarins with seeds can lead to intestinal obstruction. Moreover, the oils in the peel can cause an upset stomach that could lead to diarrhea and vomiting, as discussed earlier.
How Many Mandarins Can Dogs Eat?
They say “too much of anything is bad for the health.” This applies to mandarin oranges as well. No matter how zesty and succulent they are, the size of the dog matters in this aspect.
Logically speaking, smaller dogs should have small servings of food while larger dogs can eat larger servings. With mandarin oranges, a segment or two per day is enough to get the nutrients going. Taking all the information we laid out, too many mandarins can cause an upset stomach or a spike in acid levels, and worsen diabetes in dogs.
Remember to give mandarins as a snack and not as frequent treats. While they are generally safe for dogs, it is not entirely a necessity. There is no reason to feel guilty if your dog skips eating a mandarin!
Easy Dog Recipes with Mandarin Oranges
You do not have to give your furkids mandarins as is. Once in a while, get creative and prepare something special for your furry friends, I’m sure they will appreciate that! Here are 2 recipes you can try.
1. Orange Pupsicles
This easy recipe is great for warm days when iced treats sound extra appetizing! To make the pupsicles, gather all your dog’s favorite fruits and dice them up. Remember to remove the seeds and peel from the mandarin oranges and slice the fleshy segments into small cubes.
Get your popsicle mold and place the cubed fruits into equal proportions. You may add a dog-friendly broth instead of water to make the pupsicles savory and sweet at the same time. Freeze the pupsicle for a couple of hours or overnight and offer it to your dog when they need to cool down on a hot day.
Since the mandarin segments are cut into slices and mixed in with other fruits, offering a cube of pupsicle equals giving your hound a segment or only half of it. This is completely safe. Just limit giving the pupsicles to only one cube per day and all will be well!
We love these Silicone Popsicle Molds from JBYAMUS. One set contains 7 popsicle molds in different colors that provide easy recognition. These are made with 100% BPA-free material to give your pups safe, hygienic, and quality-made food containers. They are also soft, resistant to food sticking, and easy to pop out for any occasion.
It provides a mess-free process of preparing pupsicles for Fido and only takes 4 to 5 hours to freeze! It has a pretty compact design that makes it easy to store in the freezer without taking up too much space. The color varieties are not only fun – but they also give you one popsicle mold a day for an entire week so your pet can enjoy these cold treats for days!
With tiny molds to fill, Fido gets to benefit from the fruity flavors of the pupsicles with just the right number of mandarins in their bellies!
2. Canine Cookies with Mandarin
If there is anyone who can appreciate cookies more than us humans, it is our furry besties – our own dogs! Making canine cookies is not only fun but it also gives your dog a pack of extra nutrients from your selected fruits. You can make canine cookies a bit more flavorful and zesty by choosing mandarin oranges as your main fruit.
For this recipe, you will need a sweet potato, carrots, apple, and of course mandarin orange. Ground ginger and cinnamon are optional for seasoning. For the baking part, all you will need is one large egg. Start by mashing the sweet potato and dicing the fruits. Mix all together in a bowl.
Add the ground ginger, cinnamon, and egg. Mix until you get a thick consistency. Mold the cookies on parchment paper and leave a hole in the center to place a cube of a mandarin segment. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheat over (350ºF) and let cool on a rack once done. Serve one cookie a day to give your dog a nutritional treat!
Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Mandarins?
Absolutely! Mandarin oranges are in fact safe and non-toxic for dogs of any breed. These are packed with vitamins and minerals that impacts their everyday life to boost their immune system, improve their overall health, and give them good guts and bowel movement.
Mandarin oranges are richer in flavor than other fruits, so a segment or two is enough for Fido to enjoy the zesty taste in their mouth. Besides this, reasons like predetermined gastrointestinal issues, high acid levels, diabetes, and obesity, among others, are the only factors why you would not let your dog indulge in the succulent fruits that are mandarin oranges.
Now that you know the answer to “Can dogs eat mandarins?”, what are you still waiting for? Time to cut some mandarins to feed your precious furkid and make them happy!