Can I Give My Dog Mangoes?
In the fall, all of our orange foods are flavored with pumpkin. In the summertime, however, that bright, sweet, festive orange color in our smoothies, candies, and seasonal sandwich cookies comes from the delicious, nutritious mango. There is no doubt that we love this flavorful, easy-to-transport fruit when the weather gets hot. For many, sliced mango is a highly portable, healthy snack that will satiate the sweet tooth on the go.
But during summer outings and beach trips, many of us bring our furry friends along, and suddenly, we find ourselves facing a dilemma: our hungry, possibly drooly dog is breathing down the back of our neck and whining with desire, but we’re not sure if sharing is the responsible thing to do. We know that our juicy slices of tropical goodness boast plenty of health benefits for us, but what about our pets? Can dogs have mangoes?
Yes, dogs can eat mangoes! Even better, most dogs love them, so you will not wind up with a bunch of slobbery, half-eaten mango chunks all over your back seat. While our pets do not require large quantities of fruit to maintain optimal health the way that humans do, there may be some health benefits to treating your dog to the occasional fruity snack. It is important to keep in mind, however, that fruit should be given to dogs only in moderation. Give your dog a small slice of mango and wait to see how they respond. If they love it (and, face it, why wouldn’t they?), feel free to use it as a semi-regular treat. Just be sure to always remove the pit before giving it to them!
Nutritional Info & Health Benefits
Perhaps the most noticeable health benefit of mangoes is their high antioxidant concentration. There are countless studies proving the benefits of antioxidants to human health, but in recent years, we have discovered that some of these benefits also apply to our furry friends. The antioxidant compounds found in mangoes, such as gallic acid, quercetin, and astragalin, fend off the harmful free radicals that cause the cell damage which leads to cancer, inflammation, and age-related illness.
One study in particular, which was published in 2012, studied the effects of “antioxidants and mitochondrial co-factors” on aging dogs. They found that dogs who consumed food supplemented with antioxidants experienced improved cognition and overall functionality, which means that including antioxidant-enriched mangoes in your dog’s diet may help prevent senility and age-related decline as they grow older.
A juicy mango also contains high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, and beta carotene, which all support health and vitality in dogs. Mangoes, and most orange foods, are particularly good for eye health, because their Vitamin A content reduces the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration, which are the leading causes of blindness.
Mangoes are a high-fiber, high-water food, which makes them great for dogs who may suffer from mild constipation. If your dog seems to have some (short-term) troubles with a sluggish digestive system, a little bit of mango may help get things moving. Of course, if your pet has an ongoing issue, contact a veterinarian.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you plan on feeding mango to your dog, refrain from giving them the entire fruit. While mango flesh and skin is perfectly safe for dogs, the pit can be hazardous for a couple reasons. The first: mango pits contain cyanide, which is toxic. The second: mango pits are rather large, and can easily become lodged in your dog’s throat or their intestines. Both choking and intestinal blockages are life-threatening. If you see your dog swallow a mango pit, take them to the veterinarian immediately.
While choking is obvious, intestinal blockages may go unnoticed for a short period of time. If you suspect that your dog has swallowed a mango seed, but you are not sure, keep an eye out for these symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, drooling, excessive belching, and stomach bloat.
All of this can be prevented by removing the pit and slicing the mango into small, bite-sized pieces before feeding it to your pet.
Another important thing to consider when adding mangoes into your dog’s diet is to start small. As with most foods, moderation is the key to success. If for some reason you find yourself saddled with dozens of mangoes, resist the impulse to pass them all off on your dog! The short-term results of a fruit-heavy diet are harmless, but in the long term, too much fruit can cause weight gain or even malnutrition. This is because, while fruit makes a lovely supplement, it does not contain the nutrients necessary to make up the foundation of a dog’s diet. Expecting a dog to live on mangoes is like expecting a person to live on wheatgrass juice.
Though they should not be a dietary staple, mangoes can make a great addition to any dog’s diet. They contain high levels of cancer-fighting chemicals, age-defying antioxidants, and compounds that support eye health. Just remember to remove the pit and keep your dog’s serving sizes small, because too much fruit can cause diarrhea.