By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
For humans, apples are extremely beneficial. But when it comes to pets and other animals, it’s not exactly common knowledge whether they are healthy or safe. Here’s the good news: Yes, you can share apples with your dogs as treats — though there are some important things to remember.
Are Apples Safe for Dogs?
Yes, apples are safe for dogs, provided that you remove the seeds and the core. This is especially important to remember, as the seeds contain amygdalin, which is part of the plant’s defense system. While this compound is harmless if the seeds remain intact, it can degrade into cyanide when damaged. Cyanide is an extremely poisonous component that may cause serious health repercussions, and may even result in death when consumed in large amounts.
So if you’re planning on giving your dog apples, remember to remove the core and the seeds to keep them healthy and safe from harm.
It’s also important that you select only organic apples from your nearest food store or farmers market, as conventionally grown apples are typically treated with pesticides to protect them from insects and fungi. In fact, apples ranked fourth in the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list this 2018, noting that 98 percent of samples contained pesticide residues.
Are Apples Good for Dogs?
Apple slices are a good choice for a healthy pet treat. Because of the nutrient density of apples, your dogs can get the following benefits:
- May help keep your dog’s teeth clean and breath fresh — Because of its malic acid, eating apples may help polish your dog’s teeth.1
- Promotes gastrointestinal health — Apples are rich in fiber, which is an essential component in promoting better digestion and metabolism in both humans and pets.
- May aid in the prevention of degenerative conditions — Apples are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that may help provide your dog’s body with the protection it needs. They are rich in vitamins A, C and K, which are necessary for numerous important body processes.2,3
Another good thing about apples is that they’re ubiquitous — it’s almost impossible to walk into a grocery store and not see a single apple in the fruits and vegetables section. With an annual consumption of 84.63 million tons worldwide, apples are one of the most popular and widely available fruits today. While apples cannot be grown in all parts of the world, the top producers — namely China, the U.S., Turkey and Poland — produce enough for worldwide distribution.4
Can Dogs Drink Apple Juice?
If you’re planning on letting your dog benefit from apples, it would be best that you feed them apple slices instead of giving them the juice.5 While it might seem like a good idea to let your dog drink apple juice because of its supposed nutrient content, you have to remember that clean, filtered water is still your best bet in keeping your dogs hydrated.
Note that most of the apple juice available in the market are loaded with added sugars and possible preservatives, which may cause a handful of health problems in the long run.
Can Cats Eat Apples?
Apples can provide cats a healthy option for snacks and treats. While the ASPCA categorizes apples as toxic, this is mainly due to the toxin in its leaves, stems and seeds.6 The flesh of the fruit itself is safe for your cats to eat, as long as you remove the core. You can either sprinkle some apple cubes on top of their meals or you can give them some bite-sized pieces to snack on. Make sure you give your cats smaller pieces to make it easier for them. This will also decrease the choking hazard.7
Make These Healthy Apple Treats for Your Pets
If you’re looking for creative ways that you can give apples to your pets to make them more appetizing, you can try this recipe from PetMD:8
Homemade Apple Sauce Cubes
|✓ Organic apples (amount depends on how many treats you’re going to be making)
- Peel and remove the core of the apples. Cut the peeled apples into chunks. You can also do without peeling the apple, just make sure that you’re using organic varieties and that you remove the core.
- Puree the apple chunks using a blender. Make sure you keep the pulp.
- Mix the apples and add a dash of cinnamon. Add water to get the same consistency as apple juice.
- Pour the mixture into ice cube trays. Store in the freezer. Give them to your dogs as a refreshing treat.
Take note that the cinnamon in this recipe should not be interchanged with nutmeg, as nutmeg may prove to be harmful to pets. Because of the abundance of conventionally produced dog treats, it might be a challenge for pet parents like you to choose the best option for your fur babies.
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for processed treats, as there are better natural choices, including apples. Apples will not only give your pets a fresh treat, but they will also benefit from the numerous nutrients these fruits contain. Just make sure that you only get organic apples to eliminate the risk of accidental pesticide exposure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Apples
Q: Can dogs eat apple cores?
A: Dogs should not be fed apple cores as they pose a choking hazard. In addition to this risk, the seeds found in the apple cores are poisonous for your dogs because of their cyanide content.
Q: Are apple seeds poisonous for dogs?
A: Yes. Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, which may prove to be poisonous for dogs. While a few apple seeds won’t cause any obvious repercussions, regularly letting them eat apple seeds will eventually lead to health detriments.
Q: Are apples safe for dogs?
A: Apples are safe for dogs, as long as you remove the core and the seeds. You should also cut the apple into small pieces to avoid posing a choking hazard for your dogs.