While your pup may be interested in anything you’re preparing in the kitchen, it’s good to be cautious about which “people” foods also make good (occasional) dog treats. Fruits and vegetables are increasingly recognized as smart supplements to our dogs’ regular diets, but that doesn’t mean all produce is equal or even safe for dogs.
Fortunately, in this case the answer is yes: apples are a safe, healthy, and delicious addition to your dog’s diet. Next time you visit the grocery store (or an orchard!) pick up a few apples to set aside and slice up for your pup. While not all dogs will dig the flavor or texture of this sweet treat, many dogs adore them.
Health Benefits Of Apples
Apples are a great low-calorie source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, phosphorus, and calcium! They also contain the flavonoid (a natural substance) called quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties1. If your dog will eat it, apple skin in particular contains much of those vitamins. It’s also perfectly safe to eat, just stick to organic apples.
Remember to cut off and discard brown or rotten spots, just as you would for yourself.
Can I Feed My Dog A Whole Apple?
There is one drawback to feeding your dog apples—seeds are not safe for dogs to eat, as they contain tiny traces of the toxic substance cyanide. While accidentally swallowing a seed or two is unlikely to hurt your dog, over time, the consumption of apple seeds could lead to poisoning.
The best way to get your dog eating apples is to cut a raw apple into slices or small chunks, keeping the apple peel on. Be sure to toss the stem and apple core, too, since they can become a choking hazard.
What If My Dog Eats Too Many Apples?
Just like humans, dogs get upset stomachs or even diarrhea when fed too many apples, especially tart ones. An apple a day will probably not keep the veterinarian away. Instead, use apple slices or small pieces as occasional healthy treats.
Also keep in mind that raw apples are very different from apples that have been processed. Canned or jarred apples are often preserved in high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, thus rendering them an unhealthy no-no for any dog. Avoid the extra sweeteners and stick to whole fresh apples (cored and sliced) or pre-sliced apples only. Likewise, most applesauce also contains sweeteners like honey, added sugar, or corn syrup. If you are looking to feed your dog applesauce, be sure to choose an unsweetened applesauce to steer clear of any additives that take away from the healthy treat.
Can I Feed My Dog Apple-Based Treats?
Feeling creative? If you’re in the mood to bake, fresh raw apples can be repurposed into homemade apple-based dog treats. This recipe for apple carrot dog biscuits calls for apples and carrots (of course), plus oats, eggs, and a few other ingredients. Or try these simple pumpkin apple dog treats, which combine two ingredients that most dogs love.
No time for making a mess in your own kitchen? Or maybe your pup’s not a fan of raw apples? A monthly BarkBox includes 2 full-size bags of treats that might be more palatable to a non-fruit loving dog. From crunchy biscuits to freeze-dried, jerky-style, or soft baked treats, every bag contains all-natural ingredients and no corn, wheat, or soy.
1 Li, Y., Yao, J., Han, C., Yang, J., Chaudhry, M. T., Wang, S., Liu, H., & Yin, Y. (2016, March 15). Quercetin, inflammation and immunity. Nutrients. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/