With all the pet-food recalls that have taken place in recent years, a lot of people are trying to be more careful about what they feed to their canine friends. Upon realizing that dogs can eat more than meat, a lot of people feel the need to experiment. However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs. In this article, we will be looking at one fruit in particular: The mango. Can dogs eat mango? Read further, and you will see.
- Are Dogs Carnivores or Omnivores?
- Is Mango Good for Dogs – What Are the Benefits?
- When Are Mangos Bad for Dogs?
- Can Dogs Eat Mango Pits?
- My Dog Ate Mango Pit: What Should I Do?
- Can Dogs Eat Dried Mango Slices?
- Can Dogs Eat Mango Skin?
- Summary: Can Dogs Have Mango?
Are Dogs Carnivores or Omnivores?
Most people tend to think of their dogs as carnivores. The natural hunting behavior of all wild dogs would seem to confirm this idea, but it isn’t that simple. Although dogs are undeniably hunters, their bodies are designed to process both meat and plant matter. This article does an excellent job of summing up the available evidence.
It is important to realize that dogs are mostly carnivores. They can process plant material, but they cannot do so with the same efficiency that we see from a herbivore. Most herbivores will actually hold plant material in their stomachs, where it ferments. This helps them to break down the plants more easily. Dogs cannot ferment plant matter in this way. This would seem to suggest that their bodies are suited for eating meat.
The length of the intestines is important, as herbivores are known to have longer digestive tracts. Vegan dog owners will sometimes point to the long intestinal tract of a dog as proof of their omnivorous nature. They point out that the intestines of a dog are much longer than those of a cat, and cats are definitely carnivores. However, these people are failing to consider the difference in body size between most cats and most dogs.
The bottom line is this: The canine is an omnivore, but they are not a 50/50 omnivore. That is to say; their digestive system is obviously not meant to handle a diet that is high in plant material. It would be more accurate to describe the dog as a 75/25 carnivore, with the majority of their diet consisting of meat.
Feeding your dog a meat-free diet is not a good idea. Regardless of your ethical concerns, your dog’s digestive system is meant to process meat as its primary fuel source, and there is nothing you can do about that. For some evidence, let’s take a look at this study. Researchers investigated the safety and nutritional adequacy of vegan diets for dogs. The study found that such diets can produce a healthy dog, but only if they are carefully balanced to ensure that the dog gets all the nutrients that they require.
Even advocates of vegan dog food will admit that the diet must be carefully balanced to avoid malnutrition. They also admit that you need to use a variety of supplements to make this diet work. Just think: Does that sound natural to you? Now think about the eating habits of your dog. Are they careful about what they eat? No, of course not. Therefore, we can see that the dog is not meant to be a vegan. They are omnivores who lean heavily toward a meat-based diet.
Is Mango Good for Dogs – What Are the Benefits?
Mango can make a good treat for dogs, as it is extremely high in vitamins and other nutrients. According to most sources, mango offers quite a bit of nutrition in a small package. A shortlist of these nutrients would include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin K
When Are Mangos Bad for Dogs?
Mangos can be bad for dogs. The pits are toxic to dogs and most other creatures, and a dog doesn’t always have enough sense to avoid such things. If a dog has already grown fond of the taste of mango, they will be more inclined to chew on a mango seed. We will talk more about the toxicity of mango pits later on.
You may not know this, but mango is in the same family of plants like poison ivy. As such, mango skin contains a chemical compound called urushiol. Urushiol is the ingredient that makes poison ivy so irritating. Mango doesn’t contain anywhere near as much urushiol as the poison ivy plant or its close cousins (the poison oak and poison sumac), but it’s still enough to cause serious problems for an allergic pup.
Mangos can be very bad for dogs if an allergic reaction occurs. In the mildest cases, the dog will simply feel sick until they vomit up the offending piece of fruit. In the worst cases, the dog can go into anaphylactic shock and die. To prevent this, you should follow a three-step process when giving a dog mango for the first time:
- 1. Rub a little of the fruit on their skin to see if a rash develops
- 2. If no rash develops, cut the mango and drip a little juice into the dog’s mouth. Observe for 24 hours.
- If no ill effects are observed, give the dog a small piece of the fruit. Observe for 24 hours.
Always complete these steps in order. Stop giving mango immediately if you see a rash, hives, skin irritation, vomiting, listlessness, excessive whimpering, or any other abnormal signs.
Sugars Are Also a Problem
Mango is a very nutritious fruit, and there is no doubt that these nutrients are beneficial for dogs.
Along with all those nutrients, mango contains a lot of sugar. In fact, it is easily one of the most sugary fruits of them all. To get some solid numbers on this subject, let’s look at the USDA’s food nutrient database. When we look up the mango, we can see that it has a whopping 46 grams of total sugar. Let’s compare that to some other common fruits. Cantaloupe has about 8 grams of sugar per 1/8 slice. Bananas have about 14 and a half grams each. Blueberries have about 7 grams each. Oranges have about 14 grams each. As you can see, mango is extremely high in sugar when compared to most other fruits.
Can Dogs Eat Mango Pits?
No, dogs should never be allowed anywhere near a mango pit. Mango seed contains a certain type of toxin which can cause serious problems up to and including death. Thus, a dog should never be given any part of the mango pit.
Why is this? Because mango seed will cause your dog’s body to produce a small amount of hydrogen cyanide.
The human body is able to process a certain amount of cyanide before it becomes toxic. Presumably, the same is true of a dog. However, since dogs generally weigh a lot less than humans, it is logical to assume that their lethal-dose threshold is going to be much lower.
How Does a Mango Cause a Dog’s Body to Produce Cyanide?
You see, mango pits contain a substance called amygdalin. Amygdalin, when processed by a mammal, produces a number of different substances. One of these is hydrogen cyanide. If you want to see some evidence, take a look at this. The study shows that amygdalin, when ingested, causes a significant amount of hydrogen cyanide to be released. Apparently, this process has something to do with the bacteria usually found in a mammalian gut. This bacteria breaks down the amygdalin, and hydrogen cyanide is produced.
But how much amygdalin do mango seeds (or pits, if you prefer) contain? After doing a little digging, we found some good data on the subject. This study compared the amygdalin levels of many fruit seeds, including those of mangos, apples, cassava melons, sorghum, watermelons, and several others.
Thankfully, mango seeds did not have a particularly high amygdalin content. Sorghum had the highest numbers by far, followed by the African star apple. The mango came in seventh place, with only the pawpaw and cucumber being less toxic. Although these numbers are not that high, you should play it safe and keep your dog away from mango seeds. Don’t throw the pit in the trash can, as your dog might be inclined to dig it out and chew. Discard your mango seeds somewhere that your dog cannot possibly reach.
Apart from these concerns, a mango pit also presents a serious choking hazard. Even the largest dogs will have trouble cracking such a large seed, making it more likely that they will swallow large pieces.
My Dog Ate Mango Pit: What Should I Do?
The first thing you need to do is determine if your dog is choking. Start by putting your hand up to their nose and mouth. You should be able to feel the air moving in and out as they breathe. They will probably make snorting or wheezing sounds as they attempt to breathe through a clogged airway. The movement of their belly can also tell you if they are breathing properly.
If your dog is choking, you don’t have time to call a professional. If all airflow is cut off, your dog will die in minutes. Thankfully, the Heimlich maneuver (which has proven very effective for humans) can also be performed on a dog. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process right now so that you’ll be ready if the situation arises.
If the dog is not choking, and you are sure that they have eaten the mango pit, you need to induce vomiting by any means necessary. You can do this with a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide and water.
Finally, you should call a poison control center, as well as your veterinarian. At this point, you should listen to what the professionals tell you and act according to their advice.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Mango Slices?
Yes. In fact, this is probably the best way to give mango to your dog. You can be absolutely sure that this mango contains no part of the pit, which is the dangerous part of the fruit. Dried mangos can be stored for a lot longer, and allow for convenient portion control.
Can Dogs Eat Mango Skin?
As long as your dog does not display any allergies to the fruit of the mango, the skin should be no problem. There is no amygdalin in the skin of a mango, nor in the fruit.
Summary: Can Dogs Have Mango?
Although some people will disagree with our assessment, we think it is better to stay on the safe side when it comes to anything as toxic as cyanide. As for the danger of allergic reaction, you can guard against this danger by giving your dog a tiny amount of mango. If they are allergic, they will simply vomit the mango and you will know to avoid it in the future.
It’s probably not a good idea to give your dog mango on a regular basis, due to its high level of sugar. Thus, our conclusion is that mango can be a good treat for dogs, but it should be prepared and used with a little bit of caution.