Yes, dogs can eat sweet, juicy and nutritious apples in moderation when served properly!
As with any new food you want to introduce into your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian first to make sure it’s a safe addition to the menu. Apples have natural sugar, to which some dogs (such as those with diabetes, rapidly growing puppies or obese canines) may have a sensitivity.
Once you have the go ahead, here’s how to serve them up and some answers to your most frequently asked questions according to Jerry Klein, DVM, emergency department head, emeritus at MedVet Chicago and chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club.
How to Feed Apples to Dogs
- Always wash apples well before serving. If available, organic apples grown without synthetic chemicals are a better choice.
- Remove stems, seeds, and cores, and cut apples into bite-sized slices. The core of the apple shouldn’t be consumed as it is a choking hazard and also has seeds that contain trace amounts of a poisonous substance called cyanide.
- Start by offering your dog a small piece of a single apple slice.
- Watch for signs of any negative side effects on digestive system such as upset stomach, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea, or other signs of gastrointestinal distress include vomiting, loose stool, bloating or straining to defecate. If you see any of the side effect listed above stop feeding and give your vet a call immediately.
- If your dog tolerates apples well, you can add more slices, but do not exceed the recommended total serving per day amount.
- How much to serve? A quarter of an apple for a 10-pound dog is the equivalent of an adult person eating several apples. So don’t go overboard and limit your dog’s consumption to just a few pieces.
- Chop and seed then add to your dog’s regular food.
- Feed one-by-one as a special treat.
- Use as an excellent training treat for dogs who love them.
- Make a homemade applesauce by simmering peeled and chopped apples to a saucepan with a little water until tender. Cool before serving. Serving size is about 1 tablespoon per day.
- Stuff into a Kong toy as a tasty puzzle-solver.
Benefits of Apples for Dogs
Sure, dogs can eat apples in moderation but are apples good for dogs? Yes, in fact, apples are an excellent source of nutrients for dogs.
- Low-calorie and an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium and phosphorus
- High in fiber that acts as a prebiotic that can help support a dog’s gastrointestinal health.
- About 86 percent water, apples are a great source of hydration—as a treat—for your four-legged friend.
- Can help freshen your pup’s breath, too, by helping to keep your dog’s teeth free of odor-causing plaque and tartar (though this is no sub for daily brushing!)
- Apple skin in particular is rich in antioxidant polyphenols which support the immune system and may help with warding off cancer and reducing the symptoms of joint disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs eat apple seeds?
A:No, apples seeds, which contain trace amounts of a poisonous substance called cyanide, are not safe for dogs to consume and should be removed before serving.
Q:Can dogs eat apple pie?
A:No, apple pie is off the menu for your dog. Apples are fine in lots of ways, but everything else that makes this fall fave yummy (sugar, buttery crust, nutmeg) is a pet no-go.
Q:Can dogs eat applesauce?
A:Before you consider feeding your dog an apple-based product like applesauce, check the label for added sugar. Many “sugar free” apple sauces contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Best bet? Make you own (see above).
Q:Can dogs eat green apples?
A:Yes, dogs can eat green apples, and they’re actually a slightly healthier choice than the red varietals. “Compared to red apples, green apples are a little lower in carbohydrates and sugar and contain a little more vitamin A—an important nutrient for your dog,” says Dr. Klein.
Q:Can dogs eat dried apples?
A:Not the best choice as packaged ones can contain a lot of sugar and may have artificial preservatives—neither of which are good for your pup. They can also be a choking hazard. Stick to fresh.
Top Dog Treats/Foods With Apples
Before serving any new foods, even healthy ones such as fresh apples to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)