Can an apple a day keep the veterinarian away? Maybe not, but apples can be a nutritious snack for dogs and puppies.
Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Gala, and Granny Smith—all varieties of apples that you’d commonly find at your neighborhood grocery store—are safe for dogs to eat.
However, there are a few things to watch out for when feeding apples to your dog. Here are the benefits and risks.
Are Apples Good for Dogs?
Yes, apples are good for dogs in moderation, but not as a full meal. You can feed your dog fresh apple slices, including the skin. Do not feed your dog apple cores, as they can become a choking hazard.
Apples provide an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary for proper immune function. They’re also loaded with carbohydrates, the ultimate energy source, and are high in fiber, which plays a role in digestion and blood sugar regulation.
Can Dog Eat Apple Seeds?
If your dog eats some apple seeds, they should be fine.
It’s true that apple seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs and people alike. However, your dog would have to eat an awful lot of apple seeds to cause cyanide poisoning.
A medium-sized dog would need to chew up and swallow about 85 grams of seeds, or the seeds from about 200 apples. For a small dog, it would take about 100 apples, and for a large dog, about 300.
For reference, cyanide is a chemical that can cause hypoxia, lack of oxygen delivery to the body. Some symptoms of cyanide poisoning include:
Are Apples Bad for a Dog’s Teeth?
Some people might ask if the sugars found in apples rot their dog's teeth, but this is unlikely.
The water content in an apple will help wash away the sugar from inside the mouth, making apples relatively safe for teeth. The apple skins are a bonus, as they act like a toothbrush.
Can Dogs Have Apple Juice, Applesauce, or Apple Chips?
Other foods made from apples, like apple chips, applesauce, and apple juice, are less nutritious forms of apples.
Store-bought apple chips, or dehydrated apple pieces, usually have added sugar, and they have no fiber. Store-bought apple juice and applesauce may have good water content, but they also may have added sugar and no fiber.
These combinations can lead to weight gain and diabetes. However, homemade versions of these, or store-bought versions that say no added sugar, are fine for dogs, in moderation.
Are Some Dogs Allergic to Apples?
Dogs are primarily allergic to proteins in food. Apples have negligible amounts of protein. Therefore, although it is possible, dogs do not typically have allergies to apples.
How Many Apples Can Dogs Eat?
Although apples are a safe and healthy snack for dogs, any treats your dog eats should only make up 10% of their overall diet, while the other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.
To help give you an idea of proper portion sizes, here are some general guidelines based on your dog’s weight and breed size.
If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian.
- Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 1-2 pieces (½-inch wide by ¼-inch thick)
- Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 2-3 pieces (1-inch wide by ¼-inch thick)
- Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 5-6 pieces (1-inch wide by ¼-inch thick)
- Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = small handful of pieces (1-inch wide by ¼-inch thick)
- Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = handful of pieces (1-inch wide by ¼-inch thick)
Although apples are not toxic to dogs, eating too many can cause an upset stomach because of their high sugar and high fiber content.
Keep an eye out for the typical symptoms of an upset stomach:
Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
Licking their lips
Gulping to combat reflux
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Apples
Apples can be a fun, easy, and yummy treat for your pup. Just be sure to thoroughly wash them, remove the core, stem, and any seeds, and cut them into small pieces before feeding them to your dog.
Of course, the easiest way to feed apples to your dog is by chopping them into pieces that are about 1 inch wide by ¼-inch thick and feeding them to your pup as a treat.
You can use apples as a food topper by chopping or blending them up and mixing them into your dog’s usual food.
Frozen into their KONG toy
Blend some apple pieces, stuff them into your dog’s KONG toy, and freeze it overnight for a refreshing, cold treat the next day.
Blend your apple pieces with some other dog-safe fruits like bananas, blueberries, and strawberries. Then put a little in a bowl as a treat, use it as a food topper, or freeze it in your dog’s KONG toy for later.
Blend some apple pieces with completely plain, sugar-free, and xylitol-free yogurt (remember, xylitol is toxic to dogs). You can serve it to your pup just like this or blend it with other dog-safe fruits.
Put your fruit and yogurt mixture (from above) into an ice cube or popsicle tray and freeze it overnight for some doggy popsicles your pup will love! You can even use a dog treat or bully stick as the popsicle stick.
Doggy ice cream
Freeze chunks of apple pieces overnight. Then blend them up with the plain yogurt to make a dog-safe apple ice cream. You can add some of the other dog-safe frozen fruits to this treat, too.
If you have a dehydrator at home, you can make dehydrated apple pieces. The sugar will be more concentrated per ounce, so feed them to your dog in small portions. And avoid any store-bought dehydrated fruits—they usually contain quite a bit of extra sugar and preservatives.
Featured Image: iStock.com/noonika
Help us make PetMD better
Was this article helpful?