Can Dogs Eat Apples?
Apples are the most popular fruit in America. We pick them off trees and eat them, skin and all. We bake them into pies and desserts, we slice them up for kids' lunches, and we enjoy the hissing bite as our teeth dig into the outside and the satisfying crunch as we get through each mouthful. But can dogs eat apples? What if they eat an apple core or the skin?
Are Apples Good or Bad for Dogs?
Ultimately, apples are a pretty safe for dogs to eat—red, yellow, and green apples alike. The hard, juicy fruits are an excellent source of fiber, which dogs need, just like us. They have carbohydrates, but less than some other sugar-packed fruits like bananas.
How to Feed Apple to Your Dog Safely
It might sound obvious, but if you give a whole apple to your pup—even to large dogs—they may be prone to wolf it down and choke. It's usually best to feed your dog apple pieces in moderation. Be sure to remove the core, the seeds, and the stem before you feed your dog apple.
As with any new fruit, vegetable, or food, introduce apples slowly to your dog. Some dogs enjoy the fruit, but others may be allergic or extra-sensitive to apples. To avoid upsetting a dog's stomach, remove the apple skin as well.
Risks of Feeding Your Dog Apples
According to Tina Wismer, DVM, MS, DABVT, DABT, a veterinarian and senior director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which answers calls for pet owners and animal health professionals on potential poisonings, apples do contain a very small amount of cyanide in the seeds, so don't make a habit of feeding whole apples. (Don't panic, though: Only large grazing animals, like horses, goats, and cows, might eat enough seeds to poison themselves, she says.)
If your dog is overweight, you may want to steer clear of sugar-filled snacks like apples. Check with your veterinarian to see if a low-sugar vegetable like broccoli might make a better treat. Keep calories and extra fat in mind when considering baked goods like apple pie that include apples as well; they often have generous loads of added sugar and fat that can upset a dog's stomach or add to weight gain.
"Giving your pets foods that are safe for them to ingest is okay in small quantities," Wismer says. "Treats should only make up 10 percent of a pet's daily calories."
Other Fruits Dogs Can Eat Besides Apples
If you don't have any apples on-hand at home but still want to share a healthy snack with your pup, one of these nutritious fruits that dogs can eat could be a good option.
Just be sure to read up on how to prepare the fruit safely for your dog to eat and generally avoid the peel, stems, leaves, and pits. Also steer clear of grapes and raisins! Those are dangerously toxic to dogs. And we should mention, these are only generally safe for healthy dogs who don't have any underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Always consult your dog's veterinarian before giving your pup any people food.
Now that you're an expert, test your knowledge on what human foods dogs can and can't eat.