Can dogs eat tangerines? The Labrador Site team takes a closer look at tangerine for dogs.
Tangerines are small citrus fruits, related to oranges. They are not toxic to dogs. And they contain important nutrients like vitamin C.
It is safe for dogs to eat tangerine in small quantities. But the sugar in tangerines is bad for dogs, so it’s important to be aware of how much you can give, the risks and benefits, and the alternatives.
Can Dogs Eat Tangerines?
Interestingly, tangerines get their name from being exported through the Moroccan port of Tangier. And they’re a subset of mandarins oranges.
Both tangerines and oranges consist of high-water content, mostly carbs, and not fat.
But tangerines have thinner skin than oranges that peel off easier.
So can dogs have tangerines? Or is it best to save this snack for yourself? And can dogs have tangerine peels?
Generally speaking, dogs are okay to eat tangerines as an occasional treat if the peel and seeds are removed.
And tangerines aren’t toxic to dogs. However, they contain sugar and calories that should be fed to your dog in moderation.
Tangerines and Dogs
Tangerines, like oranges, are a good source of vitamins A and C, and minerals, including thiamin, folate, and potassium. The main benefit of tangerine for dogs would be the vitamin C content, which has many physiological benefits.
However, dogs are one of a surprising number of animals that can actually synthesize vitamin C in their body. Yes, they make it themselves.
Now, there is some evidence that extra vitamin C in a dog’s diet is somewhat beneficial to them. And research suggests that more may even help sick or older dogs. However, more research is needed.
If you think your dog needs more vitamin C in its diet, it is always best to consult your vet to determine if and how to increase vitamin C for your dog.
So is there any actual harm in feeding your dog tangerine?
No, tangerine for dogs isn’t an immediate safety concern if you peel and deseed it for your dog. But their sugar and caloric content is a bit problematic.
When are Tangerines Bad for Dogs?
Although eating a tangerine is unlikely to cause immediate harm to your dog, it’s not ideal for them. The high sugar content may upset their stomach in the short term. And it can potentially do worse in the long term.
Large amounts of extra sugar over time can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity. And obese dogs live shorter, less enjoyable lives.
Diabetes has also become more and more prevalent in dogs. So, by giving added amounts of sugar to your dog’s diet, you could increase the chances of your dog developing diabetes.
So if your dog already has health concerns like obesity or diabetes, then you should avoid giving them these extra sugars and calories.
Another main issue with tangerines is fiber. These fruits contain a large amount of fiber that is really helpful for the long digestive tracts of a lot of animals like herbivores, but not dogs.
Dogs are in essence carnivores. They have a relatively short digestive tract. If food moves too quickly due to excessive fiber, vital nutrients may not be extracted.
It’s true that dogs fed a relatively low fat dry food may need a small amount of dietary fiber, but this is included in any reputable dry dog food.
Lastly, you need to make sure you remove the skin and seeds from tangerines before giving them to your dog. We’ll talk more about this in a bit.
Are Tangerines Good for Dogs?
Again, Tangerines can be an occasional treat for your dog. But they’re not necessarily good for them because of their high sugar content.
Your dog should be getting all of their dietary needs met in their main diet. Tangerines shouldn’t be the main staple for them or to boost their vitamin C intake.
Can Dogs Eat Tangerine Peels?
No, you shouldn’t be feeding your dog tangerine peels. While they’re not toxic, they can easily cause an obstruction either as a choking hazard or in your dog’s digestive tract.
They are much harder to digest than the actual fruit of a tangerine.
Many places sell candied tangerine peel. But, you should never give this to your dog.
Not only can this cause the same problem – internal blockages – but sugar can upset your dog’s stomach and lead to obesity.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Tangerine Peels?
You should monitor your dog if they do eat tangerine peels or even seeds. They could cause blockage or other gastrointestinal issues.
Be sure to consult your vet if they show any signs of loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other stomach or digestive concerns.
Should I Give My Dog Tangerines
Tangerines are generally a safe treat. But it’s always a good idea to only give a small portion of food if you don’t know how your dog will react.
The natural sugar in tangerines, as well as the citric acid, can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. So it can be a good idea to offer your dog small pieces of tangerine and see how they react.
Generally, a few slices of tangerine properly prepared is okay to give your dog once in a while if they aren’t overweight or diabetic.
How to Prepare Tangerines for Dogs
You should peel the skin and remove the seeds of tangerines before feeding it to your dog. Additionally, you should break it up into small segments.
This all helps reduce the hazard of your dog choking and makes it easier to digest. Remember, the peels and seeds can cause gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea.
Alternatives to Tangerines for Dogs
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Tangerines?
So can dogs have tangerines?
A few segments of tangerine once in a while won’t hurt your dog. As with most human food, moderation is key. Treats should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
Tangerines are full of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. However, your dog’s diet should be nutritionally balanced, to begin with, and should not need any supplements from other foods like tangerines.
If your dog wants a little treat, you can feed your dog a small amount of tangerine fruit. But it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. And be sure to prepare it properly for your dog by removing the skin and seeds.
References and Further Reading
- K, Berkheiser, “Tangerines vs. Oranges: How Are They Different?” Healthline.
- Delmore, D., “Is It Okay to Give My Dog Oranges, Grapes, Tangerines, and Clementines?” Banfield Pet Hospital.
- Gordon, D.S., et. al., “Vitamin C in Health and Disease: A Companion Animal Focus,” (2020).
- Hesta, M. “The Effect of Vitamin C Supplementation in Healthy Dogs on Antioxidative Capacity and Immune Parameters.” Laboratory of Animal Nutrition,” (2009).
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website