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Apples are completely safe for dogs to eat in moderation, and many pet treats contain apples because of the health benefits they offer dogs. Apples are great snacks for dogs of all ages because they have essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.1 While dogs can eat apples, don’t start feeding them this fruit right away. It's important to know how to properly feed your dog apples so they can enjoy them as a snack without getting sick or gaining weight.
Fortunately, this article will discuss the benefits of feeding your dog apples and how to do it properly and safely. Let’s get started.
- Feeding Your Dog Apples
- Benefits of Giving Your Dog Apples
- How to Feed a Dog Apples
- When Not to Give Dogs Apples
- Can Dogs Eat Apples: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
Feeding Your Dog Apples
Like their human companions, dogs can have apples in moderation no matter their age. Apples are filled with essential vitamins and minerals dogs need; they can also help puppies grow up to be strong and healthy. Plus, apples can provide senior dogs with vitamins they may not be getting from their diet.
We’ll cover how to feed your dog apples later on, but it’s important to note that you should always remove the seeds and apple core before sharing this delicious snack with your dog. Apple seeds and cores contain trace amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard.1
The key to giving your dog apples is feeding this fruit to them in moderation. Eating too many apples can lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as dog diarrhea or vomiting after eating. Instead, only feed your dog a few slices at a time. If you have a small dog, you may only be able to give them a small half every day. Additionally, always consider your dog’s diet. Apples have calories, so you should monitor their calorie intake for a proper weight management plan.
Benefits of Giving Your Dog Apples
So, are apples good for dogs? While some foods are toxic to dogs, apples are safe when given in moderation. Moreover, apples are a delicious, nutrient-filled snack or treat for dogs. Here are a few of the benefits of apples for dogs.
Source of essential nutrients
Apples contain various essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that can help your dog stay healthy:
- Vitamin C: Apples are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can boost your dog’s immune system.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A can support your dog’s eye health to help prevent sight problems. Vitamin A can also promote healthy growth and development while increasing cellular function and your dog’s natural defenses.
- Calcium: Apples contain calcium, an essential mineral for bone health, which can help puppies grow up strong and healthy.
- Potassium: Potassium is another essential mineral that can aid in muscle growth and function while increasing motor skills and blood flow.
High in fiber
Apples are high in fiber, which helps the digestive system break down foods and reduce harmful gut bacteria. Healthy fiber intake can also treat digestive problems, like constipation and diarrhea.2
Additionally, fiber should be part of your dog’s weight management program since it can make them feel full without eating too many calories.1
Apples are a low-calorie snack for dogs, which can help them lose or maintain their weight while providing them with other essential nutrients.1
Apples contain a compound called malic acid, which can keep your dog’s teeth clean and freshen their breath. Additionally, apples scrape your dog’s teeth gently to remove plaque, which is then swallowed. The bacteria is later destroyed in your dog’s gut. If you’re feeding your dog apples with the skin on, check to ensure they don’t have apple skin stuck between their teeth that can rot and cause stinky breath.1
While feeding your dog apples has many benefits, they are filled with sugar. On average, apples have 19 grams of sugar and giving your dog too much sugar can cause weight gain.1
Apples can be beneficial for dogs when they’re given in moderation and prepared correctly, but many other fruits are toxic to dogs. For example, grapes are bad for dogs, and you should never give your dog foods containing xylitol.
How to Feed a Dog Apples
Now that you understand how beneficial apples can be in a dog’s diet, you must learn how to feed your dog apples properly. Feeding your dog apples incorrectly can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Here are the instructions for how to feed dogs apples.
1. Thoroughly wash the apple
Always wash any fruit or vegetables you share with your dog to remove bacteria and germs. Most apples you buy are treated with pesticides, so it’s important to rinse them off before feeding your dog an apple, whether or not you’re feeding them the skin.1
2. Core the apple
You should remove the core before feeding your dog apples because it can quickly become a choking hazard if your dog swallows it. The seeds in apples also contain trace amounts of cyanide and can cause health complications in large doses.1
3. Cut the apple
Cutting the apple makes it easier for your dog to eat it without choking. As you know, dogs sometimes like to swallow food whole without chewing it, so it’s essential to cut the apple up to a size they can easily eat if they’re not going to chew it.
You can also decide whether or not you want to feed your dog the apple with the skin on. Eating apples with the skin can provide even more health benefits for dogs because it contains additional fiber. However, apple skins can get caught in your dog’s teeth, so it’s up to you to decide if the nutritional benefits are worth it. Food getting stuck in your dog's teeth can cause bacteria to grow in their mouth if you don’t brush their teeth.
4. Satisfy your dog’s sweet tooth
There are many ways to feed the apple to your dog, including:
- Sharing a snack together
- Putting it in a puzzle feeder or treat-dispensing toy
- Toasting them to make dog treats
- Freezing them
If your dog doesn’t like chewing apples, they can also eat applesauce. However, applesauce may not have the same nutritional value as raw apples. Make sure to only give your dog unsweetened, plain apple sauce that doesn’t contain added sugar.
Can puppies eat apples?
Like adult dogs, puppies can also enjoy the many benefits of apples. If you’ve never given your puppy an apple before, start slowly with a tiny slice.1 Giving them a small amount at first can help you ensure your pet doesn’t have allergies and won’t experience any stomach problems, such as diarrhea or vomiting.1
While apples are safe for most dogs, some dogs can have food allergies that prevent them from enjoying apples. Knowing the common food allergy symptoms can help you understand what not to feed your dog in the future.
Symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:
- Itchy skin
- Ear infections
- Gas, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting
When Not to Give Dogs Apples
Apples are healthy for dogs and can be a great way to supplement their diet or reward them for good behavior. However, there are some circumstances in which you should never give your dogs apples, including:
Apple Pie: Never give your dog apple pie simply because it contains apples. Apple pie is filled with added sugar and crust that can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs. Additionally, apple pie may be filled with extra ingredients toxic to dogs, such as nutmeg.1
Diabetic Dogs: Apples contain high amounts of sugar that may not be ideal for dogs with diabetes. While apples can help your dog manage their weight, you should never add food to their diet without consulting a vet. By working with a vet, you can determine what types of foods you can safely feed your pet that won’t cause an increase in weight or complications due to medical illness.
Food Allergies: Like humans, dogs can be allergic to just about anything, including apples. If your dog has an apple allergy, they can develop unpleasant symptoms, such as ear infections, hot spots, skin irritation, and even vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog has a severe apple allergy, eating this fruit can be fatal.
You can determine if your dog has a food allergy by feeding them a small piece of apple and seeing how they react to it over the course of a few days. If you don’t notice any symptoms, your dog likely doesn’t have a food allergy. Still, it’s always best to check with your vet if you suspect your dog has an allergy to any type of food.
Can Dogs Eat Apples: Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs eat apples with skin?
Dogs can safely eat apples with the skin, but you should always ensure to wash and core the apple. Doing so ensures your dog doesn't eat the bacteria or pesticides on the skin. You should also remove all the seeds because they contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can be toxic in large doses.
Ultimately, whether you feed your dog an apple with the skin or not is a personal preference. Apple peels contain several nutrients that can improve your dog’s health and wellness. Unfortunately, the peel can get stuck in your dog’s teeth, leading to bacteria growth in their mouth, oral health problems, and stinky breath. If you are going to feed your dog an apple with the peel still on it, check their mouth afterward and brush their teeth to remove any peel that may have gotten stuck.
Keep in mind that the added fiber from the peel can provide your dog with too much fiber and cause an adverse reaction, such as diarrhea, gas, and other digestive issues.
Are all apples safe for my dog?
Apples are safe for dogs when prepared properly. All you have to do is remove the seeds and core. It’s also best to cut the apple into small pieces so that it doesn’t become a choking hazard for dogs who may get overly excited and forget to chew their food.
Can dogs eat apple cores?
No, apple cores are a choking hazard, and the seeds in the core contain trace amounts of cyanide. Luckily, one seed isn't enough to poison them. Still, you should always remove the core to ensure your dog won’t choke while enjoying their snack.
Apples can be a healthy snack for dogs when consumed in moderation and prepared correctly. Filled with many essential nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy, apples are a great choice for pet parents looking for ways to reward their dog without adding too many calories to their diet. Unfortunately, some dogs shouldn’t eat apples. If your dog has diabetes or food allergies, it’s best to consult a vet before feeding them any fruit.
Not sure if apples are safe for your pet? Talk to a Dutch-affiliated veterinarian. Dutch offers televet services for pet parents looking for a convenient option to help their pets get the care they need from the comfort of their own home. Whether your dog has food allergies or behavioral issues, a vet can help you determine how to properly feed your dog for optimal health.
Arford, Kaitlyn. “How to Safely Feed Apples to Your Dog.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 27 Aug. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-apples/.
“Can Dogs Eat Apples?” Michelson Found Animals Foundation, https://www.foundanimals.org/can-dogs-eat-apples/.