Why Can’t Dogs Eat Apples?
Dogs have been hunting with us since the dawn of time and in this large period of cohabitation they’ve naturally developed a taste for things that we like. You can’t blame them, really, as best friends tend to pick up each other’s habits. Let’s say that this is the case with your dog when it comes to apples.
Why can’t dogs eat apples? Is that a ‘hard and fast’ rule or are there any loopholes?
The good news is that your dog CAN eat apples but you are going to need to make sure that it is done right. You can’t just munch as much of the apple as you like and then toss the rest to your dog because that treat can be very toxic.
Let’s talk about why apples are bad for your dog without a little preparation and give you some facts about apples and your dog so that you can make an informed decision on the subject. We’ll start with the bad news and then we can go from there.
Table of Contents
The literal ‘core’ of the issue
It’s not so much the ‘flesh’ of the apple that is the problem, though with puppies or adult dogs who have never had an apple before they can certainly be a little rough on the digestion. The biggest problem is actually the core of the apple and what it contains.
Apple seeds, to be specific.
You may have heard that apple seeds contain cyanide and this is not an urban myth. Those seeds are indeed toxic and can make your dog very, very sick. The core and stem aren’t good for them either, posing a choking hazard for dogs of all ages and sizes.
Apple slices, however, are a whole other ball game. Apple slices freshen your dog’s breath naturally, so for some of us that seals the deal and a few of you may have even stopped reading at this point to run straight to the store. For those of you still, here we have a nutritional breakdown on apple slices for your dog.
As you probably know your dog has a sweet tooth, just like you do. Apple slices are a great way to satisfy this while keeping them away from processed sugars or that especially toxic chocolate (which you should never give your dog).
It’s got calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin C, and fiber, and that fibrous portion actually rubs up against your dog’s teeth while they are chewing, cleaning them a little in the process. Not enough to replace real dental care, of course, but it is safe to say that apple slices are helpful. You are also looking at about 10 calories per apple slice and that sure doesn’t hurt.
Are specific apples more or less bad for dogs?
Sweet or tart, all apples are safe for your dogs as long as you are taking the core and the seeds completely out of the equation. This means that whether your dog likes ‘Red Delicious’ or prefers a sour ol’ ‘Granny Smith’ there is no need to worry.
No cores, no seeds, no problem… in moderation, of course, which we’ll outline for you shortly.
What about applesauce?
Unsweetened applesauce is just fine for dogs and excellent for doggy-breath, but keep it in moderation. Two tablespoons is an optimal serving. Speaking of serving sizes, moderation is going to be the next most important factor when it comes to adding apples to your dog’s diet.
While they are okay in small amounts, without a few ground rules apples can upset your dog’s stomach and nobody wants that. A few ground rules are going to be a very good idea.
Safety rules for those dogs who really love apples
If apples are going to be part of your dog’s diet then we’ve got a few rules that can help to make sure that you are doing this as safely as possible. Some things that you should do are as follows:
- Wash your apple thoroughly before starting
- Cut far away from the core so that no seeds are in the slices
- 1 or 2 slices a day is fine but more can mean a bellyache
Some final advice on apples and your dog
With the rules that we have outlined your dog can indeed have apples but we do have one last piece of advice. If your dog has a taste for apples then there is always a danger that they will see you disposing of the core and try to get at it.
Avoid this by putting the core somewhere that it cannot be reached if your dog has a naughty tendency to get into the trash sometimes. A high counter where it can dry out or even a brief storage in some Tupperware until you are taking the trash out is a good idea.
While we don’t recommend feeding apples to dogs, you now have the facts at your disposal to do it safely if your dog just has to have them. Just help your dog to practice moderation and everything should be just fine.
For more information on what foods your dogs can and can’t eat please see our guide here.