Tangerines are sweet citrus fruits that make wonderful snacks during the warmer months. You may wonder if sharing a slice or two with your canine friend is okay. So can dogs eat tangerines? The answer is yes, dogs can eat tangerines. In fact, they make healthy snacks for dogs and humans, but they should only be given in moderation. Read on to learn more about tangerines for dogs and how you can safely feed them to your dog as a treat.
What Are the Health Benefits of Tangerines for Dogs?
Tangerines are a type of fruit that is considered to be safe for dogs to eat. Not only are they safe, but they also hold some nutritional values that can benefit your dog’s health. Like oranges, tangerines are high in certain nutrients that are good for your dog. Some of the vitamins that can be found in tangerines include:
Antioxidants help reduce the amount of harmful free radicals within your dog’s body. They can also help reduce inflammation within the body and help keep your dog healthier as it ages. Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in many fruits which contains important nutrients for both humans and dogs. Vitamin C supports your dog’s immune system while providing lots of energy for him to run around and play. Some studies show Vitamin C might offer some relief for dogs suffering from inflammatory illnesses.
Folate is another vital nutrient that your dog can receive from eating tangerines. This water-soluble vitamin B is naturally found in certain foods like tangerines. Folate has a few different roles within the body, including helping to form blood cells within the bone marrow, helping to produce nucleic acids like DNA, and building new proteins. Folate plays a crucial role in keeping the immune system functioning properly, aiding cell division, and maintaining normal blood formation.
Another nutrient that can be found in tangerines is potassium. Usually, when people think of good sources of potassium, bananas come to mind. While bananas are one of the best potassium sources, they can also be found in tangerines. It is an electrolyte crucial to the health of both people and dogs. Potassium helps the nerves, muscles, and heart function properly by allowing the electrical charges required to work as they should.
Beta-carotene is a pigment that gives some fruits and vegetables (like carrots) their color and is found in tangerines. Its a precursor of vitamin A, which helps maintain or improve vision. This is one of the reasons why beta-carotene is an essential nutrient for keeping your dog healthy. Beta-carotene-rich foods like tangerines can help improve your dog’s eyesight—especially in low-light settings. Not only is it beneficial to vision, but it is also an antioxidant, which can help keep the immune system healthy and prevent diseases and infections. It can also help keep your dog’s coat shiny, nourishing its skin and supporting strong bones.
How Are Tangerines and Oranges Different?
Oranges and tangerines share a lot of similar features because they are both members of the same family. Although they share this commonality, they are separate species and have different origins. Palatka, Florida, is the location where the first tangerines were grown. Then, in the 1800s, they were imported to Tangier, a city in Morocco. This is where they received their name. Both tangerines and oranges are members of the same family (citrus). However, tangerines are from the species C. tangerina.
On the other hand, oranges were initially found in Asia. They are from the species Citrus x sinensis and are the hybrid fruit of mandarins and pomelos. One of the most notable differences between oranges and tangerines is their size. Generally, oranges are larger than tangerines. They are also shaped differently, with tangerines slightly flattened, while oranges are large and round.
When tangerines are ripe, they feel softer to the touch than when oranges are ripe. When an orange is ripe, it typically still feels firm. And as far as color goes, tangerines are typically more reddish-orange, while oranges are more yellow-orange. One exception to this would be the blood orange, which has a darker, reddish color.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Tangerines
If you’re considering giving your dog tangerines as a treat, there are a few things you should consider first to ensure that you are doing so safely. First, ensure that you wash the outside of the tangerine before you begin peeling it to remove any dirt or pesticides that might be on the outside of the peel.
When peeling the tangerine, remove as much white pith as possible. The pith contains certain compounds like essential oils, which can be toxic to your dog if consumed in large amounts. Being sure you remove most of the pith will reduce the chances of your dog developing an upset stomach.
Tangerines are a seedless fruit, so you should not worry about checking the slices for seeds before giving them to your dog. You can give your dog a few pieces at a time, but as with anything, moderation is key.
Tangerines are a delicious, sweet fruit, which means that they do contain sugar. If consumed in excess over time, they can lead to weight gain or other health issues in your dog. A few slices at a time should be enough for your dog so that it does not consume excess sugar from the fruit. They should be served as treats to help supplement your dog’s healthy dog food, which should provide it with its daily requirement of nutrients.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all dogs are the same, and therefore some may enjoy having tangerines as a treat, while others may seem to have an adverse reaction to them. Although tangerines are safe for dogs to eat, some dogs may have sensitive digestive systems and not respond well to them. This is why when giving your dog tangerines for the first time, you should always give just a tiny amount and monitor its reaction.
If your dog is sensitive to tangerines, it may experience vomiting or diarrhea. In that case, you should stop giving your dog tangerines and monitor its health. If your pup has no reaction after feeding it a small slice of tangerine for the first time, you can feel free to give it a few more as a treat on occasion.
If your dog has a health condition such as diabetes, avoid giving it tangerines. The sugar content could interfere with its blood sugar or lead to further weight gain. In these situations, it is best to consider a different type of treat for your dog—one that is lower in calories and sugar.
Even if your dog does not suffer from those conditions, it is best to stick to a certain amount of calories daily, including treats like tangerines. For example, a dog’s diet should consist of no more than around 10% of its daily caloric needs. All the rest of your dog’s daily calories should come from its regular dog food—which should be high in protein and other vital nutrients.
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- Pet MD, Available here: https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_can_carrots_improve_dog_eyesight
- Purina, Available here: https://www.purina.com/articles/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-tangerines
- Healthline, Available here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tangerine-vs-orange#family