Your pup probably loves a sweet apple slice from time to time. In fact, apples are a delicious and nutritious snack that’s very good for your dog. So, if apples are so healthy for them, you may be curious about the safety of apple juice. After all, it’s crisp and delicious—they would love the taste.
So, can dogs drink apple juice? While apple juice is non-toxic to dogs, the acidity and sugar content make it unsuitable as a regular treat. Let’s take a peek at what drinking apple juice does to your dog so you can make the best decision.
What’s in Apple Juice?
Manufacturers make apple juice by a process called maceration and pressing. Essentially, it’s where the fruit breaks down, removing the starch and pectin from the apple—at which point, water and other flavors blend into the concoction.
Most apple juices are over 80% water. So, just what other contents are we working with here? A lot of the reality will depend on the type of apple juice you buy. Some apple juice brands pack sugar, corn syrup, and artificial ingredients into the mix. Look at the label.
Many apple juices come from juice concentrate. Juice from concentrate is a thick, sticky substance that results from turning the fruit to a pulp. Makers evaporate the water content and remove the starch, so this process may dilute the natural flavor of the juice.
Companies then add-in ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, sodium, and fruit byproducts to zest things up. The trouble here is that it really ups the calories, carbs, and sugar content, making it not-so-healthy for drinkers—human and canine alike.
Some manufacturers add extra vitamins or flavors to enhance the drinking experience. But the more ingredients you see on the label, the less healthy it is.
How is Apple Juice Good for Dogs?
Apple juice is exceptionally high in vitamin C, which is a fantastic antioxidant for dogs. Unlike humans, dogs actually synthesize vitamin C on their own. But a little more won’t hurt, especially since it’s so excellent for healthy immunity. Vitamin C helps with cognitive aging, malnutrition, and stress.
Because a dog’s liver naturally makes vitamin C, there is some controversy on how much it really benefits them to have extra. But a splash more isn’t something that will have ill side effects. Moderation will be key in allowing your pup to partake in this delicious beverage.
What Are the Negatives of Apple Juice for Dogs?
The main issue with apple juice is high in sugar content. Many dogs already tend to overeat, so drinking sugary liquids can pack on the pounds. Obesity also causes long-term problems like diabetes, which can get expensive to treat.
Apple juice is also vastly acidic, which means it can cause diarrhea. Even though it shouldn’t be much of a health concern, it can create messes for you to clean up. And it may cause an upset tummy, which might make your guy or gal feel crummy.
Organic Apple Juice is Best
If you’re going to share some refreshing juice with your dog, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them the healthiest choice. Many organic apple juices only use apples without the extra sugars.
Is Frozen Apple Juice Mix Different?
No, frozen apple juice is essentially the same as liquid apple juice. The difference is, you have to thaw it out and add water to it to make a full pitcher. The labels are usually similar, if not precisely the same, as premade apple juice in jugs.
Since it’s wholly concentrated and condensed, note that a little goes a long way. You shouldn’t offer the whole can as an icy treat, thinking it’s the equivalent of a popsicle. Giving them a clump of frozen juice is a lot at once, and the sugar content is overloading for a single sitting.
How About Apple Cider?
Apple cider is different from apple juice—and purer, too. So, yes, your dog can have apple cider. But truthfully, they may not like the taste much since it’s particularly acidic, which isn’t appetizing to your canine. But if they drink it anyway, a couple gulps here, and there won’t do any harm.
Just make sure it doesn’t have added sugar, spices, or alcohol in it. Spices can be particularly troubling during the holidays. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the usual additives in most soft cider. While cinnamon is safe for dogs, nutmeg is toxic.
Avoid anything with alcohol like the plague. Alcohol contains ethanol—which can be lethal to dogs even in small doses.
Apple Juice and Dogs: Final Thoughts
So, to recap—apples are an excellent snack for your dogs, but apple juice isn’t necessary because of its acidity and sugar content. If you do give your dog a bit of apple juice, make sure it has minimal sugar and don’t overdo it. A lot of apple juice could cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
If you have any questions or concerns about your dog drinking apple juice, contact your vet to go over specifics.
Featured Image Credit: Seregam, Shutterstock