It's said that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," thanks to this tasty fruit's many health benefits. But what about the vet? Can dogs eat apples and enjoy the same healthy perks? The short answer is yes. However, before you serve up a side of apple kabobs to your pooch, there are some important things you need to know.
Are Apples Good for Dogs?
Apples make quite a tasty and nutritious snack for your pup. Apples are loaded with vitamins A, K, and C, plus they are a great source of fiber. Additionally, this power fruit is low in fat, and a good source of calcium and phosphorous, making it an all-around awesome snack.
Your pup can nosh on raw apple slices or even frozen apples for an icy treat. Just make sure you serve the apple in sizes suitable for your pup; you don't want them to become a choking hazard.
It's also important to remove ALL stems, leaves, and seeds from the apples before serving, as these parts are toxic (more on this below). Plus, don't let your dog get a hold of the apple core. The core could have seeds in it, and it also poses a choking threat.
Apples are also low in protein, making them an ideal snack choice for senior dogs and dogs with certain illnesses that cannot digest protein effectively. Antioxidants, which play a valuable role in decreasing the risk of cancer and joint disease, are another added benefit of this fruit.
An added bonus of apples is they make affordable training treats since you can cut them up into small bits. Your pup is sure to follow commands when such a tasty reward is on the line, and you can even nibble on some too. And if these aren't enough reasons to toss some apples to your dog, consider this: apples can also help improve your pup's breath. That's a win for both of you!
How Much Apple Can a Dog Eat?
Your pup's treats, no matter what they are, should only make up about 10% of her daily calories. Therefore, a good serving size is one or two slices, depending on your pup's size and typical food intake. For example, a small puppy should only have a few bits of apple as part of her daily food intake.
Even foods that are considered healthy can cause issues like weight gain and upset tummy if your dog eats too much of them. Therefore, as with all treats, moderation is best.
What Parts of Apples Are Bad for Dogs?
If you are going to give apples to your dog, make sure you remove all of the extra parts. These parts include the apple seeds, stem, and leaves. Although the fruit of the apple is safe for dogs, these extra parts present several risks for your pet.
Apple seeds contain cyanide, and although your dog would likely have to eat quite a few for them to cause her significant harm, it's not worth the risk. It's also believed that the stem might contain some toxic elements, so it's best to remove all of these items from the apple before serving it to your pup.
When it comes to the apple core, if your dog accidentally swallows it she can either choke or it can cause an intestinal blockage which can become a major issue. If your dog eats apple seeds or any other dangerous parts of the apple, watch her closely and call the Pet Poison Helpline. Call your vet immediately if your pooch seems lethargic, is vomiting or has diarrhea, or if you have any concerns.
Apples Are High in Sugar
Even though apples are a healthy food, they also have a high sugar content which can be particularly rough for dogs with diabetes. Weight gain and stomach upset are also potential problems, which is why moderation is key.
Can Dogs Eat Apple Products?
While apples are a safe, healthy choice for your pup, the same cannot be said for apple-flavored products. Quite often these products contain artificial flavors, chemicals, and lots of added sugar. None of these additional ingredients do your dog any favors and can actually pose extra risks for your pup.
For example, in artificially-sweetened products, the sugar substitute xylitol is highly poisonous for dogs. If you do opt to give your dog an apple-flavored product, make sure you read the ingredient list closely first, and it's always best to check with your vet before giving your dog any kind of human foods.
Tips for Feeding Your Dog Apples
In addition to removing all of the extra parts from the apple, it's also important to wash the apple thoroughly before you give it to your dog. Many times apples can contain pesticides or other products, so washing them first is a good practice not only for your dog but for you as well.
It's also wise to talk to your vet before giving your pooch apples. Especially if your dog has any unique conditions or issues that might be aggravated by eating apples.
When you give your pup apples (or any food) for the first time, monitor her closely to make sure she does not have any allergic reaction. If you notice your pup has difficulty breathing, is coughing, or not acting like herself after she eats the fruit, contact your vet immediately.
Apple Recipes for Dogs
There's no better way to show your pup how much you love her than making her some DIY dog treats. Whether your dog eats apple cookies straight from the oven or enjoys them in any other form, she's sure to wag her tail appreciatively when you add a little apple to her dog bowl.
Here is a tasty recipe to get you started!
Peanut Butter & Applesauce Cookies for Dogs
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups quick oats
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl to create a dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. You can add some of the oil if the dough is too crumbly.
Roll the dough onto a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into fun shapes, and place them about a 1/2 inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for about 25 minutes, then cool before serving. You can store the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for about one week.
Recipe adapted from everydaydogmom.com
If you’re not in the mood to cook up these cookies, give your pup a similarly tasty treat by putting some peanut butter mixed with a few apple pieces into her Rolly Cannoli. She’ll love the challenge and the taste! For more useful tips and resources about how to pamper your pets and take the best care of them, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find lots of helpful tidbits and valuable resources to help make you the ultimate pet parent!