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Can dogs eat tangerines?

Two tangerines

If there’s any pet that requires constant attention, it’s a dog. And what your dog eats requires your utmost attention. 

Most dogs are happy to chow down on anything and everything they can get their paws on—and it's not always good for them. Of course, sometimes it's also a well-meaning pup parent who unintentionally feeds a not-so-good food. The result can be a tummy upset, or worse.

The good news is that there are lots of human foods that dogs can eat that harbor nutritional benefits. One food group that often confuses dog owners is citrus. We all know that fruit is good for humans, and some citrus is okay for canines—if it's prepared properly. 

Tangerines, for example, are a type of orange-colored citrus fruit that’s technically a hybrid of mandarin and orange. They are a delicious treat and contain several health benefits. But can dogs eat tangerines?

Are tangerines good for dogs to eat?

Yes, dogs can eat tangerines; however, these juicy fruits aren’t very beneficial for dogs, so they should be limited.  

Tangerines aren’t toxic to dogs in any way, but they do contain high amounts of sugar—probably more than your dog needs.

Tangerine are similar to oranges and sometimes referred to as mandarin oranges. They belong to the same genus as limes, lemons, and other citrus fruits. Tangerines have been specifically bred for their sweetness. 

The benefits of giving your dog tangerines

  • Tangerines are a source of vitamin C. Yes, tangerines are a good source of vitamin C which is highly beneficial for both humans and dogs. Although dogs can actually make vitamin C in their own bodies, an additional dose can have some benefits. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that scavenges potentially harmful free radicals in the body and prevents them from damaging cells. Vitamin C also helps to reduce inflammation in the body and can slow the effects of aging. It’s helpful in the making of collagen, which your dog requires for healthy bones and fur.
  • Tangerines can be a naturally sweet treat (in small amounts). Like humans, dogs love anything sweet—which is why many commercial dog treats contain high amounts of added sugars. While no amount of sugar is good for dogs, natural fruit sugar is still better than refined sugars used in these treats. The only thing to remember is that it must be limited!

Can tangerines be bad for dogs?

Unfortunately, the high sugar content of tangerines means that large amounts are likely to do more harm than good. The sugars in tangerines are known as fructose and natural sucrose. Even natural fruit sugars are a major source of calories, which can lead to weight gain.

A high-sugar diet can lead to serious chronic inflammation in dogs, just as it can in humans. Dogs with any health problems related to their blood sugar, such as diabetes, should definitely not have tangerines. The simple sugars in high-glycemic foods can raise your dog's blood sugar level, which will, in turn, lead to further complications 

It’s also worth noting that dogs with sensitive digestive systems may not tolerate the high amounts of sugar in tangerines. Too much sugar can lead to an upset tummy, diarrhea, or vomiting. Citrus can also be a little acidic for a dog’s gut.  

Another potential issue with tangerines is the fiber content. Tangerines are made up of rind, pith, and seeds, which can be quite a fibrous for a dog’s digestive system. Although fiber is useful in moving waste through the gut, too much fiber can cause irritation or upset. Dogs have a  relatively short digestive tract, and excessive fiber may cause food to move too quickly. Thsi means they won’t be able to absorb any of the nutrients within the food.  

How to prepare tangerines for dogs

As mentioned, tangerines aren’t toxic to dogs, but also not the best choice of fruit for them. If you really want to see if your dog likes them, serve only a few small segments at a time. Be sure to remove the peel and any visible seeds, as these may prove difficult for your dog to digest. 

Of course, there are plenty of other tasty fruits and vegetables that your dog can enjoy without the potential risks. Some great choices include blueberries, strawberries, peas, broccoli, and even carrots. Each of these foods provides a great range of antioxidants and nutrients that are not only beneficial for your dog, but safe too! 

Remember, it’s important to limit treats. Think about your dog’s daily diet and the total number of calories he needs for good health. Only 10 percent of these calories should be treats—and that includes sweet fruits!

Some other fruit options you can consider for your dog include:

The article was written by Katie Stone on December 15, 2020.

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