The saying goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but does an apple a day keep the vet away? It probably won’t. But that doesn’t mean apples can’t be beneficial to your dog’s health, especially if you give it in moderation.
Apples are refreshing fruits that contain a wide variety of nutrients that are fantastic for people. It’s no wonder the saying was coined in the first place. But dog owners that want to share this delicious snack may be wondering if dogs can actually eat apples.
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Apples!
According to veterinarians, dogs can eat apples when given in moderation. They will benefit from all the wonderful nutrients that make them such healthy snacks. In fact, apples are packed with loads of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Magnesium and dietary fiber.
In addition, apples can be used to help clean your dog’s teeth while also acting as an all-natural breath freshener. Simply put, apples are a healthy alternative to your typical dog treat providing nutrition without all the protein, fat and calories.
4 Health Benefits of Dogs Eating Apples
Keep in mind: there are no scientific research that proves dogs absorb the essential nutrients of apples after consumption. However, most veterinarians believe dogs are able to benefit from the vitamins and minerals, though not likely to the full extent that humans do.
This theory can apply to all fruits and dogs but doesn’t mean that it’s useless to give your dog apples. Dr. Oscar E. Chavez DVM has recommended the occasional apple because the antioxidants help to fight joint disease an other degenerative conditions.
In one medium-sized apple (182 grams):
- Fiber – 4.4 grams (17% Daily Value)
- Sugar – 19 grams
- Vitamin C – 14% DV
- B6 Vitamin – 5% DV
- Potassium – 195 mg (5% DV)
- Calories – 95
1. Apples can promote a healthy heart in dogs
Potassium is a nutrient that does a little bit of everything for our body. The electrolyte mineral is notably most responsible for providing healthy heart functioning. In fact, scientists believe low potassium levels with having irregular heartbeats (at least in humans).
A little bit of Potassium in a dog’s diet can go a long way, especially if they’re on the aging side. Cut up a few slices and feed them to your active dog breed who’s heart feels like its always racing.
Now, did you know that apples and bananas aren’t the only way your dog can get their Potassium? Other fruits and vegetables that provide a great source of Potassium include: avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges and broccoli.
In addition, the high soluble fiber found in apples can help lower cholesterol and slow the buildup of plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound in apple skin will prevent cholesterol to build up artery walls, thus reducing blood flow to their heart.
With blood flowing freely to your dog’s heart, they will have a healthier heart.
2. Vitamin C helps fight diseases in dogs
One of the best nutrients of Apples is Vitamin C. But there has been debate about whether Vitamin C can actually benefit your dog. For humans, we need to take Vitamin C for a healthy lifestyle because we don’t naturally produce the vitamin.
However, this is not the case for dogs. Dogs can naturally produce their Vitamin C. The thing is, dogs can become less efficient and effective at producing Vitamin C as they age. And because this vitamin is so essential in battling dog illnesses and diseases, they still need it.
In fact, C vitamin has been known to fight several types of cancers too. This means that apples can still benefit an elder dog. Other fruits and vegetables known to have a good amount of Vitamin C include: oranges, mangoes, cantaloupes, tomatoes and pineapples.
3. Apples can help with weight loss in dogs
These delicious fruits can also be a replacement treat for an overweight dog. Apples are low calorie fruits, containing just 95 calories per apple. They are also considered to be low on the Glycemic Index, which is another reason why they make great diet foods.
Because dog treats are generally packed full of protein, the occasional apple substitution can slowly help them lose some weight. I know some owners that choose to use small apple slices for dog training since it won’t put on too much weight.
However, this is not the best idea because apples still contain a high amount of sugar. And again, you want to feed apples in moderation. So, don’t always use apples as “training treats.” Rather, I suggest looking into cucumbers as an alternative treat for training.
4. Apples can help with canine oral hygiene
Apples can also be used as a supplement to help with your dog’s oral hygiene. Believe it or not, slices of apples can actually help clean off the residue on your dog’s teeth. This not only slows down the decay of their teeth, but also keeps your dog’s breath fresh.
It’s essentially a natural breath freshener for canines. However, you’ll never want to rely on this method as a complete replacement for brushing your dog’s teeth. It is still necessary to clean their teeth as often as you can (preferably every day).
Note: If you’re familiar with the wildly popular dental chews called Greenies, they essentially do similar things as what apples are supposed to do. A Greenie is a dental chew with a texture that helps clean the residue off a dog’s teeth while freshening their breath.
The problem is that Greenies are relatively very expensive when compared to apples. Not to mention, the ingredients in those dental chews are nowhere as good as the nutrients food in apples.
Other dog-safe fruits and vegetables that can clean their teeth include celery and carrots. In addition, the phytochemical contained in cucumbers are known to freshen your dog’s breath by eliminating odor producing bacteria.
4 Potential Side Effects of Apples
Despite all the benefits of feeding apples to your dog, there are potential side effects among other things to consider. Like with all fruits, apples should be given to your dog in moderation to help avoid any side effects that might arise.
1. High fiber apples can cause stomach pains in dogs
Failure to feed apples in moderation can result in stomach pains and/or constipation for your dog. Along with bananas, strawberries and oranges, apples contain the highest amount of fiber (per gram) among all fruits.
Even a medium sized apple (182 grams) contains roughly 4.4 grams of fiber! Fiber is good, but too much fiber causes problems.
Fruits like apples aren’t really intended for dogs, so there may be a chance that your dog doesn’t digest even small slices of apples properly. After your first few times feeding them, make sure to monitor their behavior to see if there is any pain, such as stomach pain.
2. Constipation and diarrhea can happen in dogs
Because fiber will soak up the water in your system, if you don’t get enough water your stool may dry up, thus causing constipation. This is also true for your dog, who probably won’t know to drink more water to balance out the large amount of fiber in apples.
The opposite can happen and your dog gets diarrhea from the high amounts of fiber in apples. This is probably a more common side effect for both human and dog. Regardless of which way your dog may react to high fiber, it’s important to examine their stools after apple consumption.
3. Apples contain a high amount of sugar
A medium apple contains 19 grams of sugar, which is pretty significant. This is why we always stress moderation with fruits like apples. But what will the sugar do to your do?
Yes, it’s true that apples can clean the junk off your dog’s teeth and freshen their breath. But it should not be a replacement for oral hygiene care, like brushing teeth.
Over the long run, too much sugar being consumed by your dog can speed up the decay of their teeth. This is especially true if you don’t brush your dog’s teeth on a consistent basis.
A few slices of apples every now and then is okay, despite the high amount of sugar. But there are other fruits with high sugar that’ll provide your dog with even more health benefits. For example, the dog superfood mango would be my recommendation.
4. Dogs can potentially be allergic to apples
Dogs aren’t usually allergic to apples, but there can always be exceptions. Make sure to monitor any unusual behavior after consumption, such as excessive scratching, change in energy levels, sneezing or even vomiting.
If anything seems off with your dog after apple consumption, consult with your local veterinarian as soon as possible. There is still a chance of an allergic reaction, albeit a small chance.
How to Prepare Apples for Dogs
If you plan to feed apples to your dog, make sure to always slice them into smaller pieces to allow for easier digestion. Some dogs tend to not chew as much and could potentially swallow a big enough piece to block their passage way in the intestine.
If this occurs, it may cause serious constipation and in some cases even more harm.
Before preparing this fruit for your dog, always remove the core of the apple first. You do not want your dog to eat any apple seeds, if possible. It’s not a secret that apple seeds contain a significant amount of cyanide (which can be terrible for dogs).
This is also true with seeds of other popular fruits, such as mangoes, cantaloupes, cherries and avocados.
If you dog accidentally eats a few seeds, it won’t likely do much harm to them. However, if you constantly feed them apples with the seeds intact, they could build up cyanide in the dog’s system over the long term. This will almost certainly lead to more health problems down the line.
Like we said before, apples contain a great amount of fiber. But most of the fiber nutrition is in the skin. In other words, If your dog is extremely sensitive to fiber, they can still enjoy apples by cutting off the skin of the apple.
Can Puppies Eat Apples?
Puppies can eat apples too. However, it generally isn’t recommended that puppies eat apples due to their stomach being weaker than their adult counterparts. This may result in an increased chance in side effects such as stomach pains, diarrhea or constipation.
However, this is not to say that puppies cannot safely eat apples. Most of them can. You’ll want to be a bit more cautious in serving size and take some time to really observe them after consuming apples. If you feel the need to, consult with your veterinarian.
Can Dogs Eat Apple Cores?
You should never feed your dog the core of the apple because that is where all the apple seeds are. From what we’ve mentioned, apple seeds contain cyanide, which can be toxic and harmful to dogs if built up in their system.
This is one of the reasons why we recommend slicing up the apples to feed your dog instead of giving them a full apple to chew on.
Even if you take out the apple seeds before serving it to your dog, the apple core is still really hard and your dog could easily choke on it. If not, a hard chunk of the apple core could cause some damage and harm in their digestive tracts.
Apple cores creating a blockage in their intestines happen more often than you may think. Really, there is no good reason why your dog should be eating an apple core. Humans don’t eat it either. Just dispose of it before serving your dog apples.
Apple Cinnamon Dog Treat Recipe
Dogs love this amazing apple cinnamon dog treat. Bake this apple treat for your dog and he will be in love. The best part is, it has all the nutrition that comes with eating apples. And don’t worry, dogs can eat both apples and cinnamon. This recipe is courtesy of Instructables.
- 4 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
- ½ Cup of Cornmeal
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
- 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
- 1 Small Apple
- 1 ½ Cup of Water [/mks_one_half]
Step 1: Mix the cornmeal, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl
Step 2: Use a grater to grate the Apple into apple bits.
Step 3: Add the water, apple bits, vegetable oil and egg into a separate bowl.
Step 4: Pour the mix of dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir until the mix becomes a thick dough.
Step 5: Add flour onto countertop or table to prevent any stickiness. Create small dog treats in any shape you want. We recommend bone-shaped and roughly ¼ to ½ inch thick.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
Step 7: Put the dough on a greased cookie sheet and cook in the oven for roughly 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 8: Let the cookies cool for roughly 30 minutes before consumption. Enjoy!
The Smart Canine is an informational website and cannot be solely relied on for any professional advice. Although everything we publish has been thoroughly researched on dog consumption of apples, we will never replace professional advice from a veterinarian. Each dog is specific and unique in health needs. We cannot guarantee that your dog will receive a health benefit or side effect from eating apples.
Joe @ Apples
Wednesday 22nd of July 2020
Ever since I started giving my dog some apple slices, I've noticed that he has a shinier coat. Thanks for the recipe, I will give it a try this weekend!
Saturday 15th of October 2016
So first, you mentioned that apples contain a lot of sugar, which is true. But then apples are also a good way for cleaning residue off a dog's teeth? I'm torn at what i want to do. I mean, is this good for dogs teeth or not. Tough call, but i'll try it out.
Friday 13th of April 2018
Like with everything you give your dog, moderation is key. The crunchiness and fibrous texture of the meat of an apple rubs teeth (if the dog even chews which I have met several dogs who do not) and helps get rid of buildups. If you only give your dog a few very small pieces of sliced up apples on occasion, the sugars won’t build in your dog’s blood. However I would not suggest giving apple treats to a diabetic dog.
Tuesday 11th of October 2016
can dogs eat apples? OF COURSE THEY CAN. my dog loves apples, thanks for telling me all these health benefits of dogs eating apples, but how do you know dogs can benefit from apples?
Sunday 9th of October 2016
Dogs can definitely eat apples, my dog loves to eat apples! But i have a large lab and don't need to really slice the apples into much smaller pieces. Instead i cut the apple in half to remove the pit and feed away.