Apples, whether they’re raw, cooked, or sauced are a safe and nutritious snack for your pup to enjoy—but like most treats, moderation is key.
We’ll break down the health benefits and concerns to keep in mind if you plan on splitting a Granny Smith with your Great Dane or a Fuji with your French Bulldog.
Let’s take a bite, shall we?
What are the health benefits of feeding your dog apples?
We already knew that apples were super healthy for humans, but you might be surprised to learn that dogs can actually benefit from many of the same good stuff from apples as their human parents. Just keep in mind that these benefits apply to the flesh and skin of the apple, not the seeds or the core—you’re better off tossing those in the trash or compost bin (more on that later).
- Dietary fiber. Apples are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps support hydration and sugar absorption, while insoluble fiber will help keep your dog’s digestion moving along.
- Vitamin C. Supports a pup’s healthy immune system.
- Vitamin K. Supports your dog’s blood health.
- Vitamin A. Supports vision and bone growth.
- Malic acid. Aids in converting your dog’s food into energy, as well as supporting heart and muscle health as well as your dog’s tooth and oral health.
Apples are also loaded with antioxidants.
Antioxidants reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and protect your furry friend from free radicals.
But what does that mean, exactly? Free radicals are uncharged molecules lurking in the air, as well as in your dog’s water and food, that can prevent their cells from reproducing the way that they should.
When your dog is exposed to too many free radicals, they’re more likely to develop health issues like heart disease and cancer. BTW, the same is true for humans. Woof.
What are the health risks of feeding your dogs apples?
All-in-all, apples are a delicious, nutritious, low-calorie snack for your pup, but keep in mind that some parts of the apple are potentially dangerous to your pup. Snack with caution.
Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, which is poisonous and deadly to people and dogs (not to mention, they taste… bad). Don’t panic, a medium-sized dog would have to eat around 1,000 apple seeds to get to a deadly dose, so your dog isn’t in immediate danger of cyanide poisoning if they gobble up a few seeds.
While your dog might not land at the emergency vet if they consume small amounts of cyanide, overtime it could cause necrosis, or organ cell death. If you have an apple tree in your backyard, for example, keep your very hungry Labrador from vacuuming up all the fallen fruit.
Apple cores are firm and fibrous, and difficult for most pups to chew, making them a choking hazard, or a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract. If you suspect your dog swallowed an apple core and starts vomiting, has diarrhea, or otherwise doesn’t seem like themselves, take them to the vet ASAP.
Can dogs eat apples with skin?
Sure! Much of an apple’s nutritional value is found in its skin, and should be fine for your dog to eat apple skin in moderation. Just be sure to give the apple a thorough wash before you serve it up to your pup to remove any harmful bacteria.
How many apples can your dog eat?
When it comes to your pup’s diet, apples should be thought of as a treat, and shouldn’t compose more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Depending on the size of your dog, a few slices of a cored apple is a perfectly healthy snack for your pooch.
Whenever you give your dog a new food, start small and monitor their behavior and poop to make sure they don’t get an upset stomach. (Here’s more light reading on what your dog’s poop might be saying about their health.)
Are apples used in dog food?
They sure are.
According to our favorite vet, Dr. Liff, an ideal dog diet breaks down in the following way:
- 20-25% protein.
- 14% fat.
- 61-66% carbohydrates.
Apples are a nutrient-dense, low-calorie, delicious carbohydrate to incorporate in a dog’s diet, which is no surprise why dog food companies (and the scientists and vets who work there) include apples in their formulas.
Some dog foods and treats that include apples include:
- Farmina prime boar and apple
- Acana lamb and apple recipe
- Purina Beneful healthy weight
- Rachel Ray Nutrish
- Solid Gold beef, potatoes, and apples puppy food
- Hills grain-free chicken and apples treats
If you fancy yourself a doggy pastry chef, you could also whip up these homemade apple dog treats, which these two huskies can’t seem to get enough of.
What other fruits can my dog eat?
Besides apples, there are lots of other fruits and “people foods” that are safe and healthy for dogs to eat.
For example, you’re welcome to split a banana, apple, kiwi, pineapple, or handful of strawberries or blueberries with your pup! But be sure to never feed your dog cherries, grapes, or raisins, as they are poisonous to canines. Read up on more toxic foods for dogs to keep your pooch out of harm’s way.
If your dog eats something they shouldn’t it might be a good idea to apply for Lemonade dog insurance, to help take the bite out of vet bills.