September 9, 2020

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Risks, Benefits & Serving Size

Veterinarian Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

There are so many fancy dog foods out there nowadays that claim to be "gourmet" for your dog. We think of these animals as carnivores, former wolves who came to be domesticated for human companionship, work, and safety.

So, when we see these modern dog foods integrating foods like pumpkin, apple, and blueberry, we start to wonder, can dogs really eat fruits? What about the fruits we so often like to eat ourselves – such as apples?

Actually, dogs are omnivores, but should they still be eating fruit? And if so, what are the health benefits? How do the natural sugars in the fruit affect them, for better or for worse?

This article will help you answer all this and much more about whether or not dogs can eat apples.

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Yes, dogs can eat apples if the seeds have been removed. They are a delicious and healthy snack and promote your dog’s dental health. Still, although apples contain many nutrients, they are high-sugar fruit, and you need to follow recommendations with the serving size to prevent health problems like stomach upsets.

"Apples are a great treat choice for your fur-friend, high in fiber with no additives.", veterinarian surgeon Dr. Edele Grey confirms. They are also a great source of Vitamin C, and they offer phosphorus, and calcium. Apples are a great way to help your dog satisfy their need for a sweet treat, especially when compared with high-sugar dog treats or ice cream.

Great for Dogs on Diets: Apples are a low-calorie snack, so if your dog is overweight but still needs a little treat, you can offer them some without breaking their diet.

Hear That Crunch: Most dogs actually LOVE the taste of apples, which is surprising given this species' carnivorous nature. It's not only the taste that keeps a dog coming back for more, but it's also the satisfying crunch of the apple.

Dental Health: Even better, a dog's teeth can benefit from eating apples as it helps clean them. (You should still take your dog to the vet for regular dental care, however).

But you shouldn't offer your dog apples without caution!

The main thing to remember is that the seeds have to be removed because they contain cyanide. You should also follow recommendations with the serving size, as too much of the fruit could lead your pet to experience stomachache or even diarrhea.

Health Benefits: Are Apples Good for Dogs?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away if you are a human. But what about dogs? Can apples benefit our canine companions?

Apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as beta-carotene, folate, magnesium, and calcium.

Yes, they can. Here are a few of the health benefits associated with the consumption of apples.

  • Good Nutrition Facts

A medium apple has just 100 calories, which most dogs burn up by simply playing as they usually do in the yard or dog park. Compared to the number of calories, apples contain plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals that help keep your pooch healthy.

It's a nutritious treat that your pooch can regularly enjoy with little risk of obesity or diabetes. Cold apples from the fridge cut up and given to your dog make for a great summer treat, too.

apples on wooden table
  • Fiber

Got a dog that's always hungry? Got a dog that needs to go on a diet, but you don't want them to cry about being hungry? Apples are a nice treat that helps keep you full when you eat them thanks to the fiber involved. "And remember to keep the peel in order to provide most of the fiber.", Dr. Edele Grey points out.

It gives your overweight dog a satisfying treat and crunch that they can enjoy a treat. They can still get down to a healthy weight without sacrificing a fun snack.

  • Antioxidants

Cancer is a real danger for dogs, and apples may help to prevent cancer, thanks to the many antioxidants found in the fruit. Antioxidants are very healthy. Not only do they help fight the free radicals that cause cancer, but they also help prevent damage caused to cells by toxins and other nasties.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a classic immune system booster, and some vets even believe it may help with conditions such as joint disease. It can also help reduce inflammation in the dog's body and slow down cognitive aging.

All animals need vitamin C, and although dogs can synthesize this vitamin in their livers, a little extra won't hurt.

  • Weight Loss Support

Apples are good for dogs that are always looking for a snack. They are loaded with fiber, and this helps slow digestion down. This is good news for owners that may have a rescue dog who is overweight or a dog that got chubby over the years and needs to lose a few pounds.

Apples are satisfying and good for dogs. They can help your pet manage their appetite and are much healthier than some commercial dog treats.

Health Risks: Are Apples Bad for Dogs?

Yes, and no. Apples of ALL kinds, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Red Delicious- you name it, your dog can eat it.

However, apples are NOT a staple food for dogs. They should be given high-quality dry and wet foods plus unlimited freshwater as their primary diet.

Let's explore some other reasons to exercise restraint when giving your dog apples.

  • Not Nutritionally Sound

Apples are not nutritionally sound food to give a dog for a healthy lifestyle. They are like candy for dogs. A little candy doesn't hurt anyone, but if eaten too often will cause more harm than good.

Dog owners should not substitute a quality dry or canned food with an apple. Dogs need six basic nutrients to live healthfully. These are vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, water, and carbs.

Apples provide only a few of these nutrients, such as water, vitamins, minerals, and carbs, but not in the volume that dogs need to live a full and happy life. Instead, use apples as a method of supplementing small portions of your dogs' regular foods.

Although apples contain many beneficial nutrients, they also lack many, which are essential for your dog's wellbeing. Think of apples as a treat, not something to offer often, and only feed in small quantities.

  • Remove the Seeds

Seeds of an apple contain cyanide, but even if your dog eats a few apple seeds, it's likely nothing bad will happen. Still, it's best not to take the risk. After all, eating apples over time can cause cyanide to build up in your dog's system, which is a hazard.

Apple seeds contain hydrogen cyanide in tiny amounts. While the occasional seed shouldn't cause problems, it's best to avoid them if you offer apples as a semi-regular treat to your pup.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Your best bet is to use an apple corer tool and discard the core. Then check the slices over before giving to your dog for any seeds that you may have missed. Discard these seeds and then allow your dog to enjoy!

  • Sugar

Apples are healthy, but they are rich in natural sugars. Too much sugar in your dog's diet can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other related problems, which is why you should keep apples as a treat and feed them in moderation.

  • Digestive Trouble

Moderation is the name of the game. Eating too many fruits can cause irritation of the intestines, bloating, or diarrhea in your pet. This is another good reason for this fruit to be kept to moderate amounts.

Serving Size and How to Feed?

Curious about the right amount of apple for your dog? Here is the scoop on how to serve an apple safely to your dog.

Dogs come in many shapes and sizes, and so do their nutritional needs. How much apple you can feed your dog depends on its size, but this is a good rule of thumb:

Because apples are a food that is generally not a part of your dog's primary nutritional needs, apples and other such food should be kept to about 10% of your dog's food intake. This 10% includes all treats and other "people food" you may want to treat your dog with.

  • Buy Organic

If possible, aim for an organic brand of apples. It minimizes the possibility of your dog consuming pesticides or other harmful chemicals when eating an apple. Even correct washing can leave behind residue.

  • Wash the Apple

Before you feed your dog the apple, make sure you thoroughly wash it. Make sure to remove any leaves and stems as well from the fruit.

  • Take out the seeds

You can cut an apple by hand or use a corer to remove the core. The skin doesn't have to be removed, but make sure the stem and seeds are for your pet's safety.

A large dog may want to eat a whole, small apple without the core, but you can portion out thin slices if you have a smaller dog that may not be able to eat a whole apple at once.

Nutrition Facts

One medium apple offers the following nutrition: 

  • 100 calories
  • 4.4g of fiber
  • 25g carbs
  • 0.3g fat
  • 18g sugar

Apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as beta-carotene, folate, magnesium, and calcium. They also offer potassium and Vitamin C.

Bottom line: Can Dogs Have Apples?

Apples are a snack your dog can enjoy, and you can feel good about giving it to them as a treat. After all, they won't know they are consuming something so good for their health – all they care about is the great taste and the satisfying crunch!

Not only do they get that enrichment of eating a new and exciting food, but they also get to eat something that keeps them full, satisfies their sweet tooth, and even cleans their teeth a little bit.

So, don't hesitate to treat your dog to an apple next time you get a chance.

Apples For Dogs - FAQ

Can dogs eat applesauce?

Yes, dogs can eat applesauce. There is nothing toxic in the fruit's flesh, although the seeds need to be removed because they contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. Plain applesauce can be a healthy treat, but when sweetened with sugar, it becomes unhealthy. Check our feeding guidelines to ensure you're not feeding too much applesauce to your dog.

Vet's Comment

Apples are a great treat for your furry friend! Crunchy and a little sweet with natural sugars, these high-fiber treats are excellent for soothing teething puppies when frozen. The key with all treats, apples included, is to feed them in moderation to prevent obesity and many diseases that go with this condition.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your dog's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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