Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Nutrition October 26, 2023
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Can Dogs Eat Apples?

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It’s normal to want to spoil your dog by giving him table scraps or your preferred human snack in place of a dog treat. It’s important to know which fruits and vegetables dogs can eat because many human foods, while generally safe for dogs, can be very unhealthy or even deadly.

Dogs digest food differently than humans do, so giving them the wrong things to eat can result in serious health issues down the road, and, in the worst-case scenario, even death. Dogs are omnivores, so they don’t really need fruits or vegetables in their diet, but they can occasionally have them as treats. 

Additionally, meals made with fresh vegetables are portioned into dog foods. Continue reading to learn more about giving your pup apples and what the benefits may or may not be.

Are Apples Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Apples are low-calorie, tasty treats that are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins C, A, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, which are vital minerals for your dog’s health.

Apples should only be fed to your dog in moderation, though, as with any food. Overindulging could result in diarrhea, an upset stomach, or worse for your beloved pup.

The short answer is that apples are a great snack for your dog if you serve them in moderation. 

Do Dogs Like Apples?

Dogs are omnivores, which means they enjoy eating meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Apples can be the ideal snack for seniors and a healthy addition to their diet. Some dogs may enjoy apples, while others may not. 

While some dogs might prefer eating apples raw, those with a sweet tooth also enjoy various apple-made treats.

Nutritional Benefits of Apples for Dogs

Similar to humans, dogs require a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support their immune systems, promote healthy cell growth and development, and maintain optimal organ function.

By eating apples, your dog will benefit from the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C – Free radicals that damage or alter cells are eliminated by vitamin C, a potent antioxidant. It strengthens your dog’s immune system and aids in the reduction of inflammation. There are even studies showing vitamin C can help slow cognitive aging.
  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps the immune system, cells, and growth. Vitamin A, which is present in carrots, is also good for the eyes and vision.
  • Vitamin K – The ability of the blood to clot is supported by this vitamin. 
  • Calcium – This super mineral not only helps to maintain strong bones and teeth but also helps muscles contract. It supports your pup’s muscles as he runs and plays and aids the heart in pumping blood throughout the body. Additionally, calcium supports healthy blood clotting and nerve function.
  • Phosphorus – The mineral phosphorus is essential to DNA’s structural integrity. It helps to strengthen and shape your dog’s bones when combined with calcium.
  • Potassium – Potassium is a macro-mineral that supports the functioning of the kidneys and helps the heart, muscles, and digestive system all work efficiently.
  • Pectin – a soluble fiber found in apples, absorbs water and aids in the efficient transit of food through your dog’s digestive system. In addition to supporting gut health and blood sugar regulation, this aids in diarrhea and constipation. Additionally beneficial to your dog’s dental health is apple fiber. 
  • Protein and Fats – Apples are low in protein and fats. The protein they contain is plant-based, lacking the fatty acids needed for a carnivore’s diet, but can be beneficial for dogs that are overweight or have kidney issues.
  • Carbohydrates – A significant source of energy is carbohydrates. However, they convert to sugars in the digestive tract, so too much could be harmful if your dog has diabetes or is obese.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants stop free radicals from harming significant cells in your dog’s body.

Are Apples Bad for a Dog’s Teeth?

Some people might wonder if the apple sugar causes a dog’s teeth to rot, but this is unlikely.

Apples are generally safe for teeth because they contain enough water to help wash away the sugar from the mouth. The apple skins are a bonus, as they act like a toothbrush. 

How to Feed Your Dog Apples

  1. Always thoroughly wash apples before serving. If possible, choose organic apples that are grown without synthetic chemicals.
  2. Slice apples into bite-sized pieces after trimming off the stems, seeds, and cores. The apple core should not be eaten because it contains seeds that may suffocate you and that may also contain traces of the poison cyanide.
  3. Give your dog a tiny piece of an apple slice to begin with.
  4. Keep an eye out for any digestive system side effects, such as upset stomach, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress include vomiting, loose stools, bloating, or difficulty passing gas. Stop feeding and call your veterinarian right away if you experience any of the above-mentioned side effects.
  5. If your dog tolerates apples well, you can give them more slices, but don’t give them more than the suggested daily serving amount.

How Much Apple Can Dogs Have?

Apples, like dog treats, should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake, though. Also, keep in mind that apples have more sugar in them than the foods your dog usually eats.

Keep portion sizes small because consuming too much sugar can result in long-term diabetes and obesity, as well as short-term digestive upset.

What About Applesauce, Apple Juice, and Apple Chips?

Among the less nutrient-dense foods made from apples are apple juice, chips, and applesauce.

Store-bought apple chips, or dehydrated apple pieces, usually contain added sugar and have no fiber. While store-bought apple juice and applesauce may have a good water content, they may also contain added sugar and no fiber.

Combining these factors can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Homemade versions of these, or store-bought versions without added sugar, are fine for dogs in moderation.

Ways to Serve Apple Treats

You can make apple-themed treats for your pet if you want to mix it up from feeding your dog regular slices of apples. Here are some dog-friendly recipes using apples or applesauce:

Homemade Apple Dog Treat: This recipe is made with fresh apples, yogurt, cinnamon, and ginger. Find it here. 

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Bites: Delicious cinnamon apple cookies made with this recipe from Rover.com

Frozen Apple: Keep things simple and offer your dog some apple slices that have been frozen as a tasty summer treat. You can also freeze applesauce in ice cube trays.

Should Dogs Eat Apple Seeds?

If your dog eats some apple seeds, he will most likely be fine.

While it’s true that apple seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as people, your dog would have to eat an awful lot of apple seeds to get cyanide poisoning.

A medium-sized dog would need to chew up and swallow about 85 grams of seeds, or the seeds from about 200 apples. For a small dog, it would take about 100 apples, and for a large dog, about 300.

For context, cyanide is a substance that can result in hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen reaching the body. Some symptoms of cyanide poisoning include:

  • Mucus membranes that are brick-red
  • Dilated pupils
  • Panting
  • Breathing issues
  • Shock

Final Thoughts

To sum up, apples are safe for dogs to eat. For your dog, apples are a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and both. They are the ideal snack for senior dogs because they are low in protein and fat. Just make sure to first remove the core and seeds. 

For a cold snack in the summer, try freezing them. You can also find apple ingredients in apple-flavored dog treats or try making your own.

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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