It is natural to think that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy for dogs because it is healthy for us. Dogs can indeed eat a lot of similar foods to humans. Most dogs, just like us, can tolerate a variety of plant and meat-based foods.
Many dogs will happily eat most human foods offered to them. In fact, certain fruits like papaya, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, and blueberries provide some great antioxidant support to their diet if combined with their dry food.
However, there are some things we eat that are dangerous for our canine friends, including some fruit. Mangoes are a delicious and nutritious snack for us, but are they safe for our canine companions, or are they toxic? Let’s jump in and find out!
Is Mango Safe for Dogs?
As with many fruits, mango is safe for dogs if certain precautions are taken. Mango is a soft fruit with a tough rind and a large pit in the center that should never be fed to a dog. The soft, fleshy part of the mango is a healthy snack for most dogs and is best fed in bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.
Additionally, mango should be ripe when fed to dogs. If it is too firm, it will be difficult to cut into small chunks and may be a choking hazard. To check a mango is ripe, give it a gentle squeeze; it should feel soft to touch, with a little give in the skin.
Please remember, dogs should always be fed a balanced and complete main food. A commercially produced, dog-specific food is best because this will give your pup the correct balance of nutrients. It is extremely difficult to achieve this balance yourself.
Your dog’s main food should make up 90% of their overall food intake, with other treats, like fruit, being 10% or less. Fruit is not suitable for dogs as the main source of food. If you need help choosing appropriate dog food, it is best to talk to your veterinarian.
Is Mango Healthy for Dogs?
Mango fruit is a good choice of treat for most dogs because it is low in fat and high in fiber. Dogs need some fiber in their diet because it feeds the good bacteria in their gut and helps maintain healthy digestion. Dogs will get some fiber from mango.
Mangoes also contain antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They also contain iron, calcium, and zinc. Dog’s need vitamin A in their diet; it helps maintain healthy skin and eyes and a glossy coat.
Please be aware that too much vitamin A can cause harm. Eating a little mango as a treat is an appropriate amount of vitamin A as part of an overall balanced diet. Please don’t feed your dog foods rich in vitamin A (like liver and fish oils) without consulting a veterinarian.
Vitamins C, B6, and E are important to dogs as they support a variety of functions around the body. Having a little extra of these vitamins from a treat like a mango, alongside their balanced main food, is not a bad thing.
Mango skin or rind is reported to have additional health benefits in humans, but it is not safe for canine consumption, so please don’t be tempted.
What Types of Mango Can a Dog Eat?
Dried mango can be very chewy, so it is tempting to think it will make a good, long-lasting treat. Sadly, dried mango contains far more calories and sugar than fresh mango. It would be easy to over-feed a dog with dried mango, which could lead to obesity.
Mango-flavored ice cream is not suitable for dogs. It is unlikely to be dangerous as a one-off if your pup sneaks an accidental lick, but it is not a healthy choice of snack. Ice cream contains dairy cream, which contains lactose. An adult dog’s stomach is not geared up to digest lactose, so dairy is best avoided.
There is no guarantee the mango flavoring in ice cream is even real, and artificial flavorings are not recommended for dogs.
Mango sorbet is free from dairy but is not an appropriate snack choice for dogs because of the high sugar content. It may also contain artificial flavorings and colors, which are not a good option for dogs. It is possible to buy frozen doggy ‘ice creams’ which are formulated to be tummy friendly for dogs to eat but always check the label.
Canned mango is not suitable for dogs as it is usually preserved in syrup or juice, which means it contains more sugar than fresh fruit.
Beware of other mango-flavored products designed for humans as these could well contain an ingredient called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. They may also contain excessive sugar.
Can it Harm My Dog?
The mango pit is large and is not easily chewed. A pit could cause a dog to choke, or get stuck in your pup’s gut and cause a blockage if swallowed. Both choking and blockages are potentially life-threatening. The pit contains amygdalin which forms a poison called cyanide when broken down. Cyanide poisoning is life-threatening.
The rind is tough and not easily chewed or digested. It could also be a choking hazard and could risk a blockage in your dog’s gut. It is very important to remove the pit and rind before feeding mango to your four-legged friend.
Which Dogs Should Not Eat Mangoes?
Dogs with sensitive tummies should stick to familiar foods. Always discuss your dog’s diet with your vet if your pup has a sensitive stomach and before introducing anything new. The sugar and fiber content can cause stomach upset in dogs with sensitivities.
Dogs that are overweight may be best to avoid fruit as it is sugary; vegetables may be better. Again, it is best to discuss this with your vet.
What about dogs with diabetes? Well, mango is sugary, so it may be unsuitable for dogs with diabetes, as peaks in blood sugar levels can put them at risk. However, naturally occurring sugars in fruit are often slower to release into the body than sugars in sweet biscuits and other, less natural, treats.
Dogs with diabetes need to be on a stable diet that doesn’t change from day to day, but if you think you’d like to include mango in this, it may be possible to do so. Speak with your veterinarian about feeding mango to a diabetic dog.
How Do I Feed Mango to My Dog Safely?
It is always best to check with your veterinarian when introducing new food to your dog’s diet as your individual dog may have a special reason why certain foods are unsafe.
If you are introducing mango for the first time, do so gradually. Any new food can cause an upset tummy. As a guide, you shouldn’t feed more than a teaspoon of new food to a dog the first time, then monitor for 48 hours to check for adverse effects.
Feed mango that is fresh and ripe. Always remove the rind and pit as they are dangerous for dogs to eat. Cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces appropriate for your individual dog. These pieces need to be small enough that they won’t make your dog choke if swallowed whole. A good guide is cutting chunks similar in size to their normal kibble.
Mango contains naturally occurring sugars, which can cause weight gain when eaten in excess. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to suffer from other health conditions like diabetes and joint disease.
To avoid unwanted weight gain when feeding mango, feed only a few small pieces, and not every day. Make sure treats are considered when calculating your dog’s overall intake of calories and be sure they make up no more than 10% of the total food.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is safe to feed this fruit to most healthy dogs if the pit and skin are removed and the flesh is cut into small pieces. Mango should only be fed as a treat, not as a main source of nutrition, and it should only be fed occasionally. It is sensible to speak with your veterinarian before introducing a new food or treat to your dog, especially if they have any health problems.