Can Dogs Eat Mandarins? How To Safely Feed Them To Your Dog

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can dogs eat mandarins

Mandarins provide a wealth of benefits to humans. For the most part, mandarins aren’t harmful to dogs but they do contain certain elements that could potentially be harmful to them. So can dogs eat mandarins?

Below, we’re going to deep-dive on the nutritious content of mandarins, including the ones that may be dangerous.  

Nutritious Content of Mandarins 

To explain how mandarins may hurt dogs, we have to break down their nutritious content. 

Mandarins are orange-like citrus fruits that tend to be sweeter and less acidic than oranges. A mandarin typically contains the following elements: 

Vitamin C

Because of its acidic attributes, most people believe that vitamin C is the reason mandarins may pose a danger to dogs. But that’s not the case at all. 

The truth is, vitamin C is no more toxic to dogs than it is to humans. In fact, it can be beneficial when it’s consumed in regulated quantities. 

Vitamin C offers the following benefits to dogs[1]: 

  • Helping fight infections 
  • Boosting antibody levels

Potassium 

Potassium is a key component in a dog’s body because it ensures muscles, nerves and other organs function properly. If your dog is constantly tired, it could be a sign of low potassium levels.

Fiber

Another beneficial element is fiber. Fiber promotes a healthy bowel movement and prevents constipation in dogs.

A medium-sized mandarin contains about 1.6g of fiber, which is a healthy amount for dogs to be ingesting.

Iron 

Dogs need a generous amount of Iron to ensure oxygen circulates to all parts of the body. An iron-deficient dog will most likely experience weakness and lightening of gum color.

What’s more, a dog’s bladder health highly depends on the presence of vitamin B6. 

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is an all-rounder element in a dog’s system: it aids in several body functions, including reproduction and growth. 

Calcium

A mandarin weighing around 88g is filled with 36.2g of Calcium, which is a generous amount.

Calcium isn’t just vital for humans, dogs also need a healthy amount of Calcium in their diet. Calcium is crucial for healthy bone and teeth maintenance, as well as muscle growth.

Can Dogs Eat Mandarins Safely?Potentially Harmful Elements 

There are lesser-known components of mandarins that may pose a danger to dogs; limonene[2] and Linalool. They are essential oils mostly found in the outer skin of citrus fruits like Mandarins. 

That said, they’re more likely to hurt your dog if he eats unpeeled mandarins or the peel alone.

What’s more, Limonene and Linalool are also present in the mandarin’s pith; the white stringy substance inside the mandarin. So even if your dog doesn’t eat the peel, chances are he probably ingests the pith along with the mandarin.

Whatever the case may be, consuming large amounts of mandarins can result in an accumulation of essential oils. 

Side effects of Limonene and Linalool

The side effects of Limonene and Linalool can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the quantity they consume. 

Limonene and Linalool cause Lime poisoning: a condition that attacks all parts of a dog’s internal system. Symptoms include the following: 

  • Skin irritation 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Cold limbs 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression 
  • Weakness 
  • Liver failure 
  • Vomiting 
  • Sensitivity to light 

Although symptoms of lime poisoning generally range from mild to severe, it’s worth noting that in certain cases lime poisoning may be fatal. 

Other Ways Mandarins Can be Harmful 

Peels and piths aren’t the only non-edible parts of mandarins. Seeds can cause just as much damage.

On the chemical side, the seeds contain small amounts of Cyanide. Large amounts of Cyanide lead to poisoning[3] in the digestive system.

Additionally, seeds are choking hazards for dogs and they may trigger constipation. 

Are Canned Mandarins Safe?

canned mandarins

Canned mandarins provide more convenience because they’re peeled and they’re seedless. All you have to do is simply open the can and pour the content into your dog’s bowl.

In addition, canned mandarins generally have longer shelf lives than their natural counterparts. However, all these added benefits come with a price;

Canned mandarins can be potentially toxic because they’re packed with added sugar[4] and other artificial sweeteners. How would dogs react to these ingredients?

They’d most likely develop high blood sugar.

Like humans, dogs can accumulate a series of health complications as a result of high blood sugar. Here are tell-tale signs of higher than average levels of blood sugar in your dog’s system:

  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Infections are harder to treat
  • Swollen liver 
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
  • Depression 
  • Kidney infection 

Most people expect canned mandarins to be fresher and more nutritious than natural mandarins, and to some extent it’s true.

However, canned mandarins go through a lengthy process to ensure they keep their “freshness’’ for a longer period of time. Counter-intuitively, that process also fills the mandarins with possibly toxic additives. 

Here are things to look out for when buying canned mandarins:

  • Always go for mandarins packed in their own natural juices, because they usually have fewer additives and sweeteners.
  • Be mindful of the expiration date. Ideally, try not to purchase a can that’s expiring within the next 3 months. 
  • Avoid buying cans that appear to be somewhat damaged on the outside. Those cans may have a hole in them, allowing air to penetrate the can, which can turn the fruit poisonous.

Tips to Safely Feed your Dog Mandarins

  • Limit the number of times you feed your dog mandarins to 3 times a week.
  • Always remove the peel, the pith and seeds beforehand. 
  • One mandarin per serving is more than enough. 
  • Watch out for any immediate side effects.

The Bottom Line 

Mandarins aren’t inherently harmful to dogs, if anything, they’re a great source of important nutrients.

When it comes to dogs, consuming mandarins is always a matter of balance. As long as they ingest an appropriate amount of the fruit, they will be fine.

It’s also worth remembering that peels, seeds, and piths are a big no-no for dogs. In addition, you should be meticulous when opting for canned mandarins.

If you want to find out more about dogs and other types of citrus, read our articles about tangerines and clementines.

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Author
Larissa Musangu

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