An apple a day keeps a doctor away. And also oranges, too!
We are all familiar with what orange is — a circular fruit full of juicy nutrients, often used as a color noun but occasionally paired as one of the lucky fruits during New Year.
Oranges have different varieties, such as Ponkan, Satsuma, Valencia, Tangerine, and not the least: Mandarin oranges.
Mandarin oranges originate from China. This fruit may have a physical likelihood with tangerine, but the former is small, and the latter is more significant and sweeter.
Mandarins have a tart flavor but are not as sharp as grapefruit or lemon. Being said, can this food be your dog’s ticket to Chinatown?
Can you safely offer Mandarin oranges to your dog?
In this article, we will help you find the correct answers. We will guide you on the nature of Mandarin, its family food and identify possible health concerns and ways to feed this food to your dogs safely!
What are Mandarins?
Mandarins or mandarin oranges are a type of citrus fruit that is usually peeled and eaten fresh. This fruit is described as sweet and tangy in flavor, very juicy.
They are known for their sweet taste, commonly used in desserts like tarts or cakes.
Some people even use these fruits as an alternative to oranges since they have the same shape and color with just a slight variation on their peelings.
Like other citrus fruits, mandarins are known to be rich in Vitamin C and fiber.
This particular fruit has a long history, dating back to the Tang Dynasty during China’s Song dynasty.
It was often used as a present for aristocrats or royalty at that time because of its rarity.
According to studies done by researchers, it is believed that this breed of fruit originated from the mountains of North East India.
It was then introduced to Europe by traders who came to China during the late 1800s.
Mandarins are also commonly referred to as satsumas, clementines, tangerines, or honey oranges, depending on their breed and characteristics.
Mandarins are rich in Vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
Food family of Mandarins
Mandarins belong to the food group of citrus fruits.
Citrus fruit has many health benefits, including improving the circulatory system, preventing scurvy, and even having anti-inflammatory properties.
Other citrus fruits that are included in the Citrus family are grapefruit, lemons, and oranges.
Because of its high Vitamin C content, these particular types of fruit should be a staple to our everyday diet.
According to studies done by researchers, citrus fruits contain an active ingredient called “furanocoumarins” that exhibit antiviral properties.
Plus, since these fruits are rich in Vitamin C, they can also help keep the body’s immune system healthy by preventing illnesses.
Mandarins can have specific side effects if taken excessively due to increased acidity, commonly found in citrus fruits.
About this fact, can we still feed mandarins to our dogs?
Can dogs eat Mandarins?
YES, dogs can eat mandarins just like humans.
However, it is essential to note that excess of anything is bad for our health. This includes fruits as well since they also have their side effects if taken excessively.
According to the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), mandarin oranges are safe but should only be given in moderation.
For example, a dog weighing 40 pounds should only have around 500-600 grams of mandarin oranges.
It is also important to note that even though these fruits are safe for dogs, they may cause some side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting if taken excessively in small amounts.
In addition to this fact, too much intake of Vitamin C for dogs may cause gout and kidney stones.
So, if you don’t have any idea on how to feed your dogs with mandarins best, we formulated particular ways for you:
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Mandarins
Add Mandarins with yogurts or other fruits.
Many people are unaware that oranges can be combined with other ingredients to make special treats for their dogs.
For example, you may take fresh mandarin oranges and combine them with your dog’s favorite food — yogurt or cottage cheese.
This will serve as a healthy treat since the mixture of both yogurts or cheeses has calcium and other essential nutrients.
Peel and grate the fruit’s skin
Another way to feed your dog mandarins is by grating the fruit (with skin on) and serving it with some honey or margarine.
If you do not like fruits inside their food, then mix them before serving. It will also be good to add flavors, such as vanilla, to make things more interesting.
Add mandarins to their meals.
If you are busy or do not have the time, then this way is for you. Cut fresh oranges into small pieces and mix them with your dog’s regular food.
Since they both come from the same family, it will be fine if dogs eat Mandarins as long as they are given small amounts.
Make dog treats out of them.
Mix the mandarins in your dogs’ regular diet by simply baking them as you would do to any other food item.
This way, they are still able to taste its sweetness without affecting their health adversely. You can also add dried cranberries or raisins to make it even more enjoyable.
Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Mandarins
As we move forward, let’s try to understand why dogs can eat mandarins:
Mandarins are easy to prepare and serve
One of the reasons why dogs can eat mandarins is because it is easy to prepare and serve. You do not even need special skills or knowledge on how to cook for them, especially if you opt for the first three methods mentioned above.
All that’s required is just cutting its skin into small pieces before mixing it with its food.
Mandarins provide essential nutrients to your dog’s body.
Mandarins are packed with fibers and antioxidants that help regulate metabolism, leading to a healthier digestive system for dogs.
In addition, these fruits have Vitamin A, which is essential for good vision, while antioxidant-rich mandarins also fight against free radicals.
They even have Vitamin C, which is beneficial to the immune system.
Mandarins are low in calories.
Another reason dogs can eat mandarins is their nutritional profile, or better yet, lack thereof when it comes to fats and cholesterol.
This means they have just the right amount of nutrients without adding extra pounds to your dog’s body.
It also means that dogs can eat mandarins with no fear of putting on weight.
They are not expensive and in abundant supply throughout the year.
There’s a reason why many people love feeding their pets with oranges — they do not cost much!
This makes them readily available for all pet owners, regardless of how big or small their income is.
On top of that, there’s no need to worry about the time and place where you’ll be able to get them.
Mandarins can be found in supermarkets or grocery stores, which makes them readily available all year round.
Possible Concerns When Eating Mandarins
Mandarins are cheap and in abundant supply throughout the year. However, when too much feeding this food to your dog may cause possible health concerns which require expensive vet medications.
As a dog owner, you have to watch out for the following issues below:
Mandarins are packed with citric acid, which can make your dog prone to forming kidney stones.
This is why you need to monitor their water intake and ensure that they drink enough of it — at least two liters per day.
Otherwise, the kidneys will not function properly, which may cause these crystals to form even faster than they usually do.
Citrus Acid Eaters Or Hypoglycemia
Overeating of oranges or mandarins may also cause the dog to suffer from hypoglycemia. This is because these fruits are rich in citric acid, which means that it has high amounts of sugars, thus causing insulin levels to rise rapidly.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid feeding dogs with citric acid eaters.
Severe Allergic Reaction
Finally, the last concern of why dogs can’t eat mandarins is because it may cause a severe allergic reaction.
This happens when your dog’s immune system overreaches to their body against specific allergens like proteins in fruits like oranges which can cause itching, hives, and even swelling.
Signs your dog is sick from eating Mandarins
Before the above mentioned possible health concerns starts to get worse, here are short-term sickness may manifest first:
Excessive Drooling And Thirsty
One of the early symptoms is that your dog will start to drool and drink more water than usual.
This means that their body has started to dehydrate, which puts them at risk for kidney stones.
So not only watching out if they eat too many oranges but also monitoring their drinking habits. They might even throw up or have diarrhea too.
Vomiting After Eating
If they have already vomited after having oranges, this means that their body is trying to get rid of the citric acid in it.
And if you notice any changes in your dog’s stool color or appearance, there might be more serious health concerns like jaundice.
Therefore, it is best to bring them to the vet immediately to perform tests and examinations.
Lethargy And Weakness
Weak limbs and lethargic movements mean that their body has started shutting down because of hypoglycemia.
This happens when there’s a drastic drop in insulin levels in the blood, which makes them weak and lazy because of low sugar intake.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating Mandarins?
Make sure you have to be calm and composed whenever your dog is sick from eating oranges.
If you’re panicking, your dog will feel it, which can make them even more stressed and may worsen their sickness faster than before.
It is best to have a small bucket or container nearby to vomit into it whenever necessary.
Do not let the vomited fruit stay in the mouth for too long because it will only worsen the sickness.
Please bring them to the vet as soon as possible so they can conduct tests and examinations.
This is important because it can help detect what kind of illness your dog has right now, which may need different treatments or medications — like taking antihistamines if having an allergic reaction, giving insulin injections for hypoglycemia, or giving medicines for kidney stones.
Avoid similar foods from this family.
Lemons have strong acids and can cause your dog to suffer from gastroenteritis. The symptoms of such sickness include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy as well.
While grapefruits don’t have the same acidity levels as citrus fruits, they carry a unique compound called psoralens which makes them dangerous.
This chemical can cause skin allergies in dogs, which may lead to dermatitis.
The other issue with grapefruits is that they carry lots of seeds. If your dog accidentally ingests any of the seeds, it will not only get stuck inside their digestive tract but also puncture through and become infected.
Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding them grapefruit altogether.
How to Make Mandarins Safe To Eat
A great dog’s diet comes with an owner’s great responsibility. And it is, in our hands, to make the life of our dogs healthy, strong, and sustainable.
Hence, we offer you these tips and tricks to make Mandarins safe to eat:
Remove the seeds from their pulp.
All citrus fruits carry seeds, and it is best to remove them from your dog’s meal before feeding them.
In this way, you can allow flowing digestion and prevent the risk of suffocation.
Cut them into smaller pieces.
It is also essential to cut down Mandarins into smaller slices or cubes so that your dog can chew them properly.
This way, you are preventing any chances of accidental choking while giving them their treat. But be careful when cutting this fruit because of the sharp edges.
Wash the fruit with water thoroughly.
It would be great to wash the fruit first, especially if there are any pesticides or other harmful chemicals on its skin that can cause even more health issues for your dogs.
When you’re done washing it, make sure that you dry the fruit before serving them.
Do not give too much at once
Giving your dog a massive piece of citrus fruits is never a good idea. They may get an upset stomach from all this fiber and acidity in their body, so to avoid similar issues, always serve them smaller pieces instead.
This way, you can prevent them from having diarrhea and vomiting.
Keeping your vet away is wrong, but keeping your dog healthy is good. And it starts by feeding your dog with Mandarin!
Like an apple, you can feed your dogs with Mandarin oranges. You may add Mandarins with yogurts or other fruits, peel and grate the fruit’s skin, or add mandarins to their meals.
Here, Mandarins are safe but should only be given in moderation.
Additionally, this food comes with low-calorie content, fibers, antioxidants, regulating metabolism, and is abundant in Vitamin C, strengthening your dog’s immune system.
However, you have to be careful in feeding since your dog may acquire kidney stones, hypoglycemia, or severe allergic reaction causing your dogs to get sick.
So, as much as possible, you have to remove the seeds from their pulp, cut them into smaller pieces, and wash the fruit with water thoroughly.
Your dog may not get to China physically, but feeding this can give your dog a ticket to a memorable feeding!