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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Chinese New Year Post: Mandarin Oranges

If someone told you that Chinese New Year is over just because Chap Goh Mei has passed, then I think it’s ironic..How can the new year be over so fast?  By right it has just begun isn’t it? Impossible the new year is over in 2 weeks. (Wow..that’s a short year).  LOL..ok fine.. Not messing with words. I got the context there.

Speaking about what’s right and wrong, this year’s CNY made me to do some homework. To make long story short; I was a guest at this CNY open house of some VIP, and there I was sitting among people whom I don’t know. I was killing time, until this group of ladies with toy breed dogs sat at the next table. Soon, this Silky Terrier was gobbling the Mandarin oranges one after another as the owner ( lets name her Miss D) kept peeling the fruit and feeding them as treats. The twist came when one of her friends who just arrived, saw what was going on and asked Miss D if dogs can eat oranges. Miss Friend told Miss D that oranges are poisonous to dogs. Miss D was somewhat offended and became very defensive. She said her dog never had a problem after eating oranges, adding that even her cats at home love oranges. To top that, she said they (her cats and dogs) can finish two boxes of oranges during CNY. Miss D also explained that the ONLY fruit dogs and cats can’t eat are grapes. Miss Friend insisted that oranges are toxic to some extent. Miss D argued strongly that oranges are safe.

*Suddenly the CNY open house became very interesting as I watched the drama*

Drama continuous……..

After exchanging some arguments, Miss D took out her iPad with an annoyed face and said "Let's Google it.."  and she Googled..( suspense background music) .. Miss D effortlessly  found the websites she needed and proudly brought down Miss Friend. I couldn’t see what website she was showing, and I don’t need to. Simply because Miss D was reading out loud the contents and comments, so that others at the table who were passively involved in the argument get the message too. She read out the points and so called facts which apparently say that oranges are not toxic to dogs and cats. Miss Friend was clearly embarrassed.
 I swear Miss Friend looked like this when reading the Google search results 

I must say I was surprised too and I didn’t like the way Miss Friend (whom I don't even know) got embarrassed in a gathering like that..The manner of which Miss D pointed out that she was right was rather offensive and rude.  Maybe I felt that way because mentally, I had the same opinion as Miss Friend. Nevertheless, Google search sealed the argument. Google is the modern era's "High Court of Who's Right". I was quietly dumbfounded from a distance.

I was thinking about it as I drove home. I knew very well that oranges can be harmful to pets to some extent, especially the seeds and the amount of intake. I reached home and I Googled. I found the websites that Miss D cited.  And let me tell you something..Not everything that you find in Google is true. The art of looking for something in the internet involves common sense. You don’t take everything from the internet as the gospel truth.

.....because according to the Fur God of the internet.....

Oranges CAN BE toxic to pets like dogs can cats. Oranges contain toxic element in the form of essential oils and Psoralens. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and photosensitivity.

Grapefruit, lemons, lime, oranges contain Psoralen (ficusin) - Toxin naturally occurring in some plants.

When feeding oranges, your pet eats the seeds as well. This was definitely the case for Miss D. Research suggests that most fruit seeds in general contain the toxin cyanide that can harm your dogs and cats. Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma and skin irritation.

Here's an extra info from a couple of vets I purposely interviewed for clarification: They said oranges are also acidic. It can acidify the urine to form crystals and cause bladder stones.

I remember word for word, the “facts” which Miss D read out from the websites… After browsing the net sourcing from where she took the advice, I actually found them. The truth is, those “facts” were opinions given by people and she only read and showed the part she wanted to. Here look at this. Some of the pages and the comments she used to defend her argument.

Another website she referred

This input was from a Veterinarian. Here she says that citrus fruits are perfectly safe. The other things she labelled as toxic are spot on. ( Credit where it's due). However, info such as this you find in Google can easily confuse and influence your practice. When a VET says citrus fruits are beneficial, people get encouraged and feed them in abundance without ambiguity.  They think, the more vitamin C, the better.

Well you may have a cat or dog that probably ate oranges before and is doing fine. Now that challenges this fact right?  Yes that’s how subjective this matter has become. When people say poisonous or toxic, it doesn’t mean your pets will instantly fall motionless to the floor and foam at the mouth. No it’s not like that.

For example, my dogs had mistakenly ate chocolates fed by my neighbour’s children. I had friends who unknowingly fed grapes to their cats and dogs. Although it wasn’t fatal, grapes and raisin are known to cause irreversible damage to the kidneys. Now this is what meant as poisonous and toxic. While your pets may look O.K from the outside, you won’t know the effects of all these toxic inside their bodies, in the long run.

Next, it is vital to take anything in moderation, regardless it is safe or not. Even something supposedly safe like protein for example. If you feed your pet with extremely high protein food, they’ll have diarrhea and kidney issues. If it goes untreated, it can be fatal. That was protein, something that's supposed to nourish the body. The same scenario can be worse if the food is classified as toxic. Like garlic for instance. It may not harm your pets if they eat one clove of garlic. However it can be dangerous if the whole bulb is consumed. Too much of anything is not good. Too much of anything toxic is DEFINITELY NOT GOOD. Always consume with moderation.

So the conclusion is, just because you picked up something from Google search, it’s not always right. Yes, the internet is a sea of information. However, it requires you to judge without bias and not only pick up what you want to see and hear.You have to carefully screen through what you were looking for and evaluate with common sense. More so when it involves the health of your loved ones. A lot of these Question & Answer thingy in Google are so dumb. Sometimes you even get trolled. Look at this..

The answer is epic WTF..*stab die me*

And sometimes you key in and search for a particular thing, and you'll get something close but totally different. For example, here's a person looking for..................

See? How misleading..LOL

Coming back to the crux of the matter, mandarin oranges are definitely a no-no food for dogs and cats. At least for me. Even if after this someone shows me an article saying they're safe, I will still refrain from feeding it, because it's so subjective. Why take the risk when it's easier not to take it?

If you ask: "So what am I going to do with all these leftover oranges in my house? They'll go to waste".  Number one, your pets are not there to compensate your guilt for food wasting. Number two, you can go to the nearest 5-foot way and give them to the homeless.You can pass them to your neighbours. If you're an animal lover, feed the birds, the squirrels, the elephants, the Godzillas, whatever. At least you'll exchanges the oranges for kindness and not for vet bills later in life.

And last but not least, pet health issues are proven to be rather perplexing. Even with the help of Google. So I suggest, why not you pick up something like PETSTER magazine to enrich your knowledge about pets, as they do all the hard work, homework and research for you. And don't think I'm selling a product at the end of a blog entry here. WHY SHOULD I SELL, when the magazine is given out FREE ? Subscribe to get it delivered to your doorstep. Get free education, and save money on your vet bills. Happy Skinny Chinese New Year everyone.
(I wanted to say Happy Fur-ry CNY, but too bad it's the year of snake...aisehhh doink...)


  1. you can make anything simple become so funny. Died laughing reading your blog. LMAO. NICE!!!

  2. This is pretty hilarious! Keep up the good funny work! I'll be looking forward for this year's post for chinese new year.
    My best Chinese new year greetings to you.
    Gong Xi Fa Cai

    Liezel xxxxx

  3. BenzodinBartholimeu9 March 2014 at 19:07

    So are you suggesting that these foods that are bad for a little dog are perfectly safe for birds, squirrels, and elephants? My dog loves Chinese food. He'll eat a cat but then he's hungry again after 20 minutes.