Mangoes, with their sweet and juicy insides and tough, but edible skin on the outside, are delicious and good for humans. This amazing fruit is native to Asia and India, and there are nearly 500 varieties of the fruit in the world. Some mangoes can be small, just the size of your palm, but bigger mangoes can weigh up to five pounds. All mangoes are packed full of vitamins and minerals. But, can dogs eat mango, too?
The question, can dogs eat mango, might get you two entirely different answers. Overall, all experts agree that mango is safe for dogs to eat, but some experts might not recommend feeding it to dogs. Let’s find out more about mango for dogs below.
First off, definitely don’t feed your dog the pit of a mango — more on that below. The skin of a mango might be too tough for a dog to digest, too. The main, fruit part of a mango, however, is a great source of vitamin A, B6, C and E and it’s safe for dogs.
The Dogster article Can Dogs Eat Apples, Grapes and Strawberries? recommends this method for serving mangoes to your dog: “Peel the thick mango skin and remove the pit, and your dog may enjoy a bit of tender mango flesh,” author Melvin Peña advises.
Though mangos have a lot of nutritional benefits, should you feed them to your dog? Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California, doesn’t think so. “Mangoes are safe in that they’re not toxic but they do have a lot of sugar and I don’t encourage feeding much fruit to dogs for this reason,” he says.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) writes that a whole mango has 46 grams of sugar per fruit. While fruit-based sugar is fine in moderation, too much sugar in a dog’s diet could lead to health problems down the road, such as diabetes.
A mango consists of three parts: the out-skin, the juicy fruit inside and the seed/pit. While the skin and flesh of the fruit is safe, there is conflicting information about whether the pit is toxic to dogs or not. Some fruit pits and seeds do contain small amounts of cyanide. In the Dogster article, Can Dogs Eat Apples, Grapes and Strawberries?, “mango is one of those fruits with a pit large enough to cause digestive blockages and [has] toxic contents.”
A study from 2011 in the International Food Research Journal doesn’t list mango seed as containing anything toxic either. In fact, it found that there were a lot of nutritional benefits in the seed. As the researchers note, “The results of proximate analysis show that mango seed kernel is a nutritional promising seed because of its high levels of carbohydrate and oil. The results of mineral assayed showed that mango seed is very rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. The presence of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, E and A suggests that mango seed could be used as an alternative source of these vitamins.”
Of course, the caveat regarding the International Food Research Journal research is that it references mangoes for humans; not mangoes for dogs.
So, can and should your dog have mangoes? Definitely don’t let your dog have access to the pit. Not only does that keep your dog safe from any toxins a mango pit may or may not have, it also keeps your dog safe from the true danger surrounding the pit: The problems it could cause if your dog swallows it.
The mango pit is large, and if swallowed, your dog could easily choke on it. Even if he does swallow it and it ends up in his stomach or intestines, it might get stuck there since it could be too big to pass through naturally. If you suspect your dog has eaten a mango pit, check for signs of foreign obstruction. According to VCA Hospitals, those include:
If you do feed your dog some mango fruit, make sure it’s peeled and serve it to your dog in moderation, in addition to presenting it without the pit.
Thumbnail: Photography by fotyma/Thinkstock.
Tell us: What do you think of mango for dogs? Does your dog like mango?
Find more answers to your “Can dogs eat” questions on Dogster.com: