Although most dogs don't care for the taste of citrus, those who do can safely consume citrus fruits like tangerines in small amounts.
Beneficial Nutrients in Tangerines
Tangerines contain beneficial nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium. Tangerines also contain vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin. These offer several benefits:
- Vitamin B6: Provides the immune system with a boost
- Folate and thiamin: Additional types of B vitamins that aid in metabolism
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C contains antioxidants that can benefit your dog's immune system. However, if your dog consumes too much vitamin C, it could lead to cell damage rather than an immune boost.
- Beta-carotene: An antioxidant that aids in vision health and slows aging
- Potassium: Aids in muscle growth and strength
Tangerines are high in fiber, which helps with the movement of digested food through the intestines. This is beneficial for humans, but dogs' digestive tracts are significantly shorter. Food passes through their digestive tract three times faster than it does in humans. Vital nutrients may not be absorbed effectively if food travels too quickly through the gastrointestinal tract. That's why you should provide tangerines only in moderation. There is a fine line between something being beneficial and harmful.
What to Avoid
Dogs with diabetes should avoid tangerines. Due to their sugar content, they could cause a spike in insulin. Dogs who are overweight or obese also shouldn't have tangerines. Excess sugar could lead to added weight gain.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs should also not have citrus. If your dog eats a tangerine and has a sensitive stomach, you may notice vomiting or diarrhea as a side effect. The diarrhea they cause in puppies can be so severe it results in dehydration, so only allow adult dogs to consume tangerines. The essential oils in the tangerine can also irritate your dog's mouth and tongue.
This is because, unlike humans, dogs make their own vitamin C. If dogs have too much vitamin C in their diet, it can result in kidney stones.
How Much Can Dogs Have?
Share just a few sections of tangerine (two to three) with your dog occasionally. Although tangerines don't appear to be as sweet to humans as oranges, their sugar content is still significant. Providing too much can result in excess sugar intake.
How to Prepare Tangerines for Your Dog
To avoid bacteria or pesticides from contacting the flesh of the tangerine, rinse them before peeling. Once it's rinsed, the peel and white pith of the tangerine should be removed. Tangerines are naturally seedless, so you don't have to worry about removing any seeds before providing a slice or two.
Weigh the Benefits with the Risks
Tangerines provide some health benefits, such as B vitamins and antioxidants, but they also contain some potentially harmful ingredients. They are high in calories and sugar. Sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, dental issues, diarrhea, vomiting, and diabetes. Feeding one or two segments likely won't be harmful, but it may be a better idea to find a treat lower in sugar.