If your dog is anything like mine, then some bad parenting means that as soon as I start cutting up fruit or vegetables at the kitchen counter, I have a couple of four legged “sous chefs”.
My dogs know that I will in all likelihood throw them the odd bit of carrot or apple as I am chopping away.
Now some people have more exotic tastes and instead of apples they are chopping up mango.
And throw the mango seed to their dog.
But is this wise?
Let us find out…
My dog ate a mango seed: Three dangers
If you have just seen your dog swallow a mango seed down whole, you might have a terrible sinking feeling in your stomach.
So what should you do?
Hold your breath, close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and hum!
No, only joking.
There are three dangers if your dog ate a mango seed.
And none of these are the biggest misconception about mango seeds- that they are toxic to your dog.
Firstly if they swallow it whole then there is a chance that the seed will get stuck in their throat and make them choke.
This will happen almost immediately and if your dog’s attempt to throw it back up by coughing and retching aren’t successful, then you will need to contact your vet ASAP.
The exception to this might be for those of you who are confident at performing a Heimlich maneuver on their dog.
Secondly, it might get stuck further down within your dog’s digestive system and stop their ability to digest their food.
The key symptoms to look out for in this context are:
Vomiting out undigested food
A lack of appetite
And thirdly, there is a potential threat from a mango seed that has been chewed by a dog.
The seeds are rock hard and so when they are chewed by a dog, there is a chance that the seed will splinter into pieces and that these sharp splinters could cut the insides as they pass through the digestive system.
If this happens you might see blood in your dog’s drawl or in their stool.
If it doesn’t improve over the course of a couple of days, then please phone your vet.
Depending on the size of your dog, the great thing about a mango seed is that they are very slippery (has you ever tried to hold one?) and this will help lubricate its journey through your dog.
The great news is that if it reaches your dog’s stomach without incident, then it will be digested!
The seed should be mostly digested by the acid in a dog’s stomach.
A mango seed is very hard but because it is made from natural materials, it will be broken down.
After all, if a dog’s stomach can handle a bone it can certainly handle a mango seed.
Is a mango seed toxic for dogs?
No. And there seems to be lots of confusion about this.
Cherry pips are toxic to dogs because they contain such a large amount of cyanide.
Mango seeds do contain cyanide but it is nowhere near the levels found in cherry pits.
Why might dogs eat a mango seed?
I think that some dog owners out there give a mango seed to their dogs because they think that it will be nice for them to chew.
They are the sort of dog owners that look at a mango stone with its thin covering of sticky flesh and look all bone like and think that it will be a nice and harmless treat for their dog.
Possibly their dog is next to them and looking expectantly with those sad, puppy eyes.
Forgetting how hard the stone is and expecting it to be chewed, not swallowed whole.
Can dogs eat mango flesh?
So far we have found a lot out about the pit in a mango but what about the rest of a mango?
Let’s start with the flesh.
Is it safe for a dog to eat and what health benefits do they offer dogs?
There should be no surprise that raw mangos are 83.5 % water, 15% sugar, 1.5% fiber and contain large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
All of which is great for your dog, apart from the sugar.
And the trouble with mango flesh is that it is very, very sticky and sweet and if a dog has some mango that flesh could be sticking to your dog’s teeth for a few hours.
So just make sure that a mango becomes an occasional dog treat and after try and get your dog to drink some water to wash some of those tiny pieces of flesh away!
Two reasons to keep your dog away from the skin
And what about the skin?
Most people don’t eat the skin of a mango and so it might seem strange to discuss why a dog would.
Well you can bet that lots of that fibre content is “hidden” in the skin and so that could be a factor in deciding whether you want to chop it up for your dog?
How strong is their stomach? Is it worth the risk of a bout of diarrhea?
Another interesting fact about mango skin is that some people are allergic to it.
Yes, it contains a chemical called urushiol (which is also found in poison ivy) and can bring allergic people out in hives and rashes.
Perhaps you should just peel the mango and put the skin straight in the bin.
Is it worse if a puppy eats a mango seed?
Yes, it is worse if a puppy (or any small dog) swallows a mango seed particularly if they swallow it whole.
It is stating the obvious but puppies have smaller bodies and organs and there is much more chance of a mango pip getting stuck somewhere.
Puppies should not be encouraged to chew a mango pip either because they haven’t got their adult set of teeth yet.
Their puppy or milk teeth are softer and might well break because the stone is so hard.
How should I prepare the mango so that my dog can eat it?
I find mango very fiddly to prepare partly because as soon as you cut into them that sticky juice gets everywhere and then you have to cut around the seed and peel the skin off.
It is a wonder that more of us don’t just consume a mango like we would an apple, peach or pear?!
But then, I stumbled across the hedgehog method, which makes it much easier task- quicker, with less mess.
You can watch a demonstration of the hedgehog in the video below:
Other fruits with dangerous pits or seeds
As I said earlier, there is some confusion around whether a mango seed is toxic for dogs.
The reason for this is that the stones in many fruits have cyanide in them- mango included.
Well this isn’t strictly true.
These fruit stones contain amygdalin which when metabolised converts into cyanide.
But the amount of cyanide in a mango stone is too small to make it toxic or lethal for your dog.
But, seeds in other fruits are toxic and could potentially kill your dog because they have much greater levels of cyanide.
These include cherries, plums and peaches.
And to prove that there is such a thing as cyanide poisoning from eating fruit stones, read this story about someone who had a lucky escape!
And so steer well clear of the seeds in those fruits.