Jack Russell puppy sniffing a mandarin.

Can Dogs Eat Mandarin? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 8th January 2024

Who doesn’t love a juicy mandarin? Sweet and acidic, mandarins are a favourite in Australian households. But can your dog eat mandarins? Before giving into the pleading eyes, check out what the experts have to say about it.


Can Dogs Eat Mandarins?

As we’ve mentioned in other articles, dogs can eat oranges. So, can your pup eat mandarins as well?

The short answer is yes, mandarins are a safe fruit for dogs.

Related: What Fruit Can Dogs Eat?

Mandarins are sweet and rich in vitamin C. They also lack compounds that could be fatal for dogs. However, you shouldn’t rush to give a bunch of mandarins to your pup!


Mandarins For Dogs: What NOT To Do

Even if mandarins aren’t toxic for dogs, it doesn’t mean your dog can eat them however and whenever. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Never give whole mandarins to dogs: The ball-like shape could make mandarins appealing to dogs. However, whole mandarins aren’t safe. Depending on the dog’s size, they could bite a big chunk and it could get lodged in their throat!
  • Rinds are a no-go: Mandarin rinds are tough and fibrous, which makes them hard to digest. If eaten, they could cause dangerous intestinal blockages for your dog. Intestinal blockages are a veterinarian emergency and will cost a lot of money to treat. Mandarin rinds are also bitter, meaning they are more likely to irritate your pup’s stomach lining.
  • Seeds can be dangerous: For similar reasons to rinds, seeds can cause intestinal trouble in your dog. While on their own they will generally don’t cause blockages, their composition is more likely to irritate your dog’s stomach.
  • Careful with the acidity: Dogs tend to be prone to acid reflux after eating acidic foods. If your pup has a history of stomach sensitivity, avoid giving them mandarins.
  • Don’t give mandarin juice: Although mandarin juice is non-toxic to dogs, you shouldn’t give it to your pup. Juice is too high in sugar to be healthy, and it is more acidic than plain fruit. Giving juice to your dog will likely cause indigestion.

Are All Citrus Fruits Safe For Dogs?

Considering that dogs can generally eat a small number of mandarin, you might be wondering if dogs can eat other citrus.

Technically, the flesh of citrus fruits is not toxic to dogs. However, most citrus is very acidic, and dogs don’t like that taste.

While dogs can eat mandarins and oranges, we don’t recommend any fruit that is more acidic than those. This means no lemons, lime, yuzu or grapefruits. The acid in these fruits will attack your dog’s stomach lining causing vomiting and indigestion.


Should Dogs Eat Mandarins? Possible Benefits

Mandarins can be a healthy treat if given in moderation to a healthy dog. Although there doesn’t exist veterinary consensus and studies are rare, there might be some benefits to an occasional mandarin snack for dogs:

  • Help with constipation: Like other fruits, mandarins are relatively high in fibre. If your dog is chronically constipated, some extra fibre in their diet will likely help with the issue.

PRO TIP: If you want to bump up your dog’s fibre intake, add boiled pumpkin to their diet. Pumpkin is rich in insoluble fibre and can greatly speed up your dog’s bowel movements. Most dogs love pumpkin as a bowl topper!

  • Antioxidant-rich: Because of their high vitamin C content, as well as other compounds, mandarins are rich in antioxidants. When part of a balanced diet, antioxidant compounds can help protect your dog against chronic conditions, cancer and promotes a healthy immune system (2)

How Often Can Dogs Eat Mandarins?

As with any other sweet treat, only let your dog eat mandarins once or twice a week. Try to limit their intake to one or two segments. Giving them more (even if they ask for it!) could be too acidic for their stomach and cause vomiting later on.

How to give mandarins to dogs

Step 1. Make sure they want to

As we said, mandarins aren’t necessary for a dog’s diet and the acidity might cause digestive troubles in some dogs. So if your dog isn’t interested in mandarins, don’t force them! The possible health benefits are minimal, particularly if they already have a balanced diet.

Step 2. Select the right mandarin

Not all mandarins are created equal! Although mandarins tend to be on the sweet side, some are slightly more acidic or sour. Dogs are sensitive to acidic foods, and if given in excess can cause vomiting and even stomach ulcers. Because of this, only share mandarins that are very sweet and have low acidity.

Step 3. Cut and clean the mandarin

Mandarin seeds and rinds can get stuck in your dog’s GI tract, so properly preparing your mandarin is a must. Make sure to peel the mandarin and take all the seeds out of the mandarin wedges.

Step 4. Start slow

Even if your dog has been asking for mandarins for years, it doesn’t mean they will suit their stomach. To prevent unnecessary gastrointestinal issues, start by giving a small mandarin segment to your dog. If after 24 hours they have not had any adverse reactions (diarrhoea, vomiting, gas, or loose stools), they can likely tolerate mandarins.

Step 5. Moderation is key

If your dog likes mandarins and can digest them, great! You can give them out once or twice a week at most. Mandarin oranges should be considered a treat and not part of your dog’s daily plate. Only give up to 2 slices at a time.

And if you ever see gastric irritation appear, stop giving mandarins immediately. Some dogs are more sensitive to others, particularly when it comes to acidic foods.

Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:

FAQ

Can dogs eat lemons?

While there are no specific compounds in lemons that are toxic to dogs, we don’t recommend letting your dog eat citrus fruits other than maybe oranges and mandarin. Lemons are too acidic for your dog’s stomach and eating them will likely cause indigestion.

Fortunately, most dogs won’t be attracted to lemons because of their sour taste.

Can dogs eat mandarin essential oil?

Not at all. Essential oils ARE NOT made for consumption. Because of their concentrated nature, most essential oils are toxic to dogs. This includes mandarin oil (3).

Never let your dog eat mandarin oil, and if they have ingested it, call your vet immediately.

References

  1. Volpe et al. Orange fibre effects on nutrient digestibility, fermentation products in faeces and digesta mean retention time in dogs. https://europepmc.org/article/med/34148447
  2. PetMD. Can dogs eat oranges? https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-oranges
  3. VCA Hospitals. Essential oil and liquid potpourri poisoning in dogs. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/essential-oil-and-liquid-potpourri-poisoning-in-dogs#:~:text=Many%2520liquid%2520potpourri%2520products%2520and,skin%2520exposure%2520can%2520be%2520toxic.

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}