Is it safe to give apple slices, applesauce, or whole apples to dogs? Some fruits and veggies are toxic for dogs. Find whether apples are safe, and how much is okay to feed them.

By Brendan Howard
August 24, 2020
jack russell terrier with apple
Credit: alexei_tm / Getty

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, the popping juice in our mouth, and the satisfying crunch as we get through each mouthful.

But can dogs eat apples? What if they eat an apple core? What about green apples? What about the skin? Ultimately, apples are a pretty safe treat for dogs and 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 apple pieces in moderation. Be sure to remove the core, the seeds and the little nub of a stem before you feed your dog apple pieces.

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 inedible 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 might make a better treat. Keep calories and extra fat in mind when considering baked goods 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."