Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Written by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Dog With Apple

Story at-a-glance -

  • Apples are safe for dogs and cats (if they’ll eat them), provided that you remove the seeds and the core
  • Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, which may prove to be poisonous for pets
  • Because of its malic acid, eating apples may help polish your dog’s teeth

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.1

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.2

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.3
  • Promotes gastrointestinal healthApples 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.4,5

Another good thing about apples is that they’re found almost everywhere — it’s nearly 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.6

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.7 While it might seem like a good idea to let your dog drink apple juice, you have to remember that clean, filtered water is still your best bet in keeping your dogs hydrated. Because there’s not a medical benefit to giving apple juice to pets, and because it can cause spikes in blood sugar and possibly upset the GI tract, apples are best offered in slices as a snack.

Can Cats Eat Apples?

Cats are carnivores and probably won’t eat apples, but if they show an interest it’s fine to share a bite of apple with your cat. While the ASPCA categorizes apples as toxic, this is mainly due to the toxin in its leaves, stems and seeds.8 The flesh of the fruit itself is safe for your cats to eat, as long as you remove the core. Make sure you give your cats smaller pieces to make it easier for them to chew. This will also decrease the choking hazard.9

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:10

Homemade Apple Sauce Cubes

Ingredients:

Organic apples (amount depends on how many treats you’re going to be making) Cinnamon

Procedures:

  1. 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 that that you remove the core.
  2. Puree the apple chunks using a blender. Make sure you keep the pulp.
  3. Mix the apples and add a dash of cinnamon. Add water to get the same consistency as apple juice.
  4. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays. Store in the freezer. Give them to your dogs as a refreshing treat.

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 pets?

A: Apples are safe for pets, 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.