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Mandarins are an amazing tropical fruit that proves to be great on a hot summer day. Many people enjoy the tanginess of these fruits and prefer them over oranges and lime because of their sweetness. They are great to consume on days you may feel dehydrated since they have high water content. You may want to feed these fruits to your dogs but are worried if it may cause your dog some harm. Dogs and humans are two different species and have different nutritional requirements. There are certain food items that humans eat but are toxic to dogs. Read on below to find out the effect mandarins have on dogs ad whether they are safe for your furry friends.
What are Mandarins?
A mandarin (Citrus reticulata) or mandarine is a sweet citrus fruit. It thought to be one of the first citrus fruits and other citruses are just hybrids of this. It is similar to an orange but it is much sweeter and less acidic than an orange. The peel of the mandarin is thinner and looser which make it easier to peel than the standard orange.
The Biology of the Mandarin
A mandarin tree is usually 25 ft (7.6 metres) in height. The tree has thorns and the leaves are usually quite small. One of the differences between a mandarin fruit and an orange fruit is the shape. A mandarin is usually oblong unlike the spherical shape of an orange. They are also smaller, between 40 – 80 millimetres. The skin of the mandarin fruit is also much easier to peel which is why it is used to hybridize many citrus fruits. Just like other citrus, the inner flesh (endocarp) of the fruit can be broken up into segments.
Different types of Mandarins
There are many different types of varieties of mandarins. Satsuma mandarins are one of the most popular since they are seedless. These are mostly found in Japan but also grow in Southern states of America, particularly the Gulf Coast region.
Another popular type of mandarin is the Ponkan or Blanco mandarins. It grows abundantly in tropical areas like the Philippines, Brazil, China, etc.
There are many other types of citrus that have been hybridised from mandarins. It is believed that there are around 200 varieties of mandarins around the world. A popular mandarin hybrid is a Clementine. They are one of the smallest varieties of mandarins and have a much deeper orange color. Another popular hybrid of Mandarin is a Tangerine which has a more reddish-orange color.
Mandarins are very nutritious fruits. They contain a lot of antioxidants which are good for your body. One mandarin contains 26% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C. It also has magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. Mandarins also contain a good amount of fiber (2 grams in a medium-sized fruit). They are all in all a good fruit to boost your immunity and improve your gut health.
Are Mandarins safe for dogs?
While eating mandarins have a truckload of benefits for humans, it cannot be sure that they are good for dogs. While mandarins are not exactly poisonous for your dog, they may cause some discomfort. Mandarins have a very high sugar content which is not always good for dogs. While this sugar is natural and not processed, it may lead to an increase in your dog’s blood sugar levels. This can be dangerous if your dog suffers from diabetes. It should also be noted that mandarins are very high in calories. Feeding them to your dogs regularly may cause unnecessary weight gain. Giving your dog too much sugar can also lead to weight gain which can lead to other health problems.
Mandarins are also quite acidic in nature. This acid may cause some disturbance in your dog’s digestion and gastrointestinal system. While this may not be very toxic, it may cause diarrhea and vomiting in your dog. If your dog suffers from gastrointestinal problems or has sensitive stomachs then better refrain from giving them mandarins.
The high level of fibers is also not very good for dogs. Mandarins are quite high in fibers. There is also the problem of the seeds and peels. Dogs are primarily carnivorous and cannot break down vegetable fibers as well as herbivores. Feeding your dog with a large amount of fiber can lead to obstruction and blockages in their stomachs. This will lead to bloating and cause unnecessary discomfort to your pets.
The seeds of mandarins like other stone fruits contain a small amount of cyanide. While the amount of cyanide present is not enough to cause toxicity, it may cause some irritation.
So feeding your dog mandarins will definitely not kill them especially if given in small amounts. They are safe for dogs to eat but make sure you peel the mandarin and remove the seeds. A few slices here and there are safe for your dog.
If you are wondering whether all citrus fruits have the same effect on dogs then your answer is yes. Mandarins and their cousin oranges and lime also have the same effect on dogs. Their nutritional constituents are almost the same. This means that giving your dog these fruits will cause a similar reaction.
Can eating Mandarins benefit dogs?
You have read all the nutritional benefits of a mandarin. While these benefits are more directed to humans that does not mean they cannot benefit dogs either. Mandarins like other fruits will serve some health benefits to your dogs if given properly and in moderation.
One main benefit of giving mandarins to your dogs is the antioxidants. The vitamin C present in mandarins can be very beneficial to your dog. Vitamin C is known as an immunity booster and this applies to dogs as well. if your dog has a strong immunity they can fight off diseases better which means they will be much healthier. Vitamin C is prescribed by vets all the time. It is especially given to dogs that suffer from kennel cough, cancer, joint diseases, bacterial infections, etc.
The other minerals present in mandarins can also be a good source of mineral supplements for your dog. Though the mineral requirements for a dog are not exactly known, they are definitely needed. The potassium, magnesium, copper and iron present in the mandarin will have some health benefits for your dog. These minerals are needed by the cells in the body to perform several tasks. Giving your dog mandarins will help to improve your dog’s health and make them fit.
Another thing that might benefit your dog is the water present in the mandarin. A mandarin, like other citrus fruits, contains approximately 85% water. This water can be beneficial for your dog, especially in hot climates. If your dog suffers from constipation, giving them mandarins might help to loosen their stool. Keep in mind not to give them the peel or seeds because this might have an opposite effect on their bodies.
While giving your dog mandarins has a few health benefits, there are much better snacks out there that you can feed them.
Serving Ideas – How do I feed my Dog Mandarins?
Dogs can survive on a diet primarily on protein and fats. They get all the nutritional requirements from a meat diet. So giving Mandarins to your dog is not necessary. However, if you want to feed your dog mandarins, you can do so in moderation.
Unlike oranges and limes, mandarins are relatively quite sweet. Your dog will most probably enjoy the taste of the mandarin. If you want to feed your dog mandarins, you can just give it to them directly and need not mix it with any other food.
It is not recommended that you give your dog an entire mandarin. This will not be good for their blood sugar. However, you can give them a few slices maybe around 25% of the whole fruit. Also, it is not recommended giving them mandarins every day. When you do feed your dog mandarins, make sure you control their calorie intake throughout the day.
When feeding your dog mandarins, make sure you peel the fruit well. Try to get as many of those fibers out as you can. Never feed your dog the peel since this might cause them to constipate.
Also, make sure you remove all the seeds. After you have removed the peel and seeds, you can cut up the fruit to small slices and feed it to your dogs. If a few seeds are present, it may be okay but for safety’s sake, it is best to remove all of them.
The acid content in the mandarin can be quite harsh on your dog’s stomach. It is not recommended to feed them mandarins first thing in the morning. The best will be to give it to them at night after dinner. This will reduce the excess acidity in their stomachs caused by the mandarin.
If you notice any unusual behavior in your dog then you should stop feeding them mandarins. If your dog starts vomiting, gets diarrhea or has an upset stomach then also you should stop feeding them mandarins. You may notice that your dog becomes more hyperactive but this will normally happen because of the sugar content in the mandarin.
The dangers of Mandarin for dogs.
Mandarins are not toxic to dogs and eating mandarins will not kill your dog. There are many other fruits out there that pose more danger to your dog like grapes, avocados, etc. However, there are certain dangers to giving your dogs an excess amount of mandarins.
× The high sugar content in mandarins pose a risk of increasing your dog’s blood sugar levels. A sudden spike in blood sugar levels is never a good thing and may cause some unwanted health issues in your dog.
× The high fiber content in the fruit may lead to a blockage in your dog’s intestines since dogs cannot process vegetable fibers well.
× If your dog has a sensitive stomach, feeding them mandarins may cause some irritation and may upset their stomachs.
× The high acidity levels in mandarins are not good for dogs. Though the citric acid level is fine for humans, it might cause some irritation in your dog’s intestines.
× Giving mandarins to a dog that is overweight or had diabetes can cause multiple problems. The high levels of sugar level may also cause problems in their teeth.
× Giving your dog fruits with high water content can make their stool loose. Loose stool is bad for dogs since they cannot control their need when they have to excrete. Your dog may have accidents in and around the house even if they are potty trained.
× Giving your dog mandarins will make them hyperactive which make it difficult to control your dog.
× Giving your dog mandarins every day can cause their diet to become unbalanced since the calorie content in mandarins is quite high.
If you are someone who enjoys tangy fruits like mandarins and has been feeding them to your dogs, it is okay. Your dog will probably not have any reactions to the fruit. In fact, they will most probably enjoy the sweet treat they are getting. Giving your dog two-three slices of mandarins now and then will be fine and will not cause any serious health problems. Like everything else, good things come in moderation. It is the same with your dog. Whether it is with mandarins, oranges or limes, everything has to be done in a controlled manner. The only thing that matters is that your dog is happy and healthy.