With more and more of us nowadays being so keen on our health, it’s no surprise our diets are including ever more foods like broccoli, apples and other fruit and vegetables.
Many pet owners are similarly keen to help their animal companions to lead long and happy lives – but it can be tricky knowing what our animals appreciate.
So, can dogs eat apples, you may ask? Let’s find out.
Are apples good for dogs?
We love our canine companions, but goodness knows they have pretty big appetites more often than not.
Of course, dogs are handy helpers when it comes to dealing with leftovers, but it’s important for conscientious dog owners to know whether what your pup is pestering you for is something he or she can eat safely.
The good news is, with the right care and attention, there’s every reason to believe that dogs are allowed to eat apples. They’re good for us humans, and apples are good for dogs too.
However, you can approach preparing an apple for your dog in the same way as you might prepare an apple for your kid.
Every so often, your dog might snuffle at an apple that’s fallen from the tree if you’re out for a walk together.
You’d not encourage a child to eat it, but if they did, it’d be OK in moderation. It’s the same for dogs.
To prepare an apple for a dog, it’s best to make sure it’s clean and cut into pieces.
If you’re enjoying some slices of apple yourself and your dog approaches you with that look in their eyes – you know the one! – you don’t need to worry about handing one over if you’re so inclined.
It’s your choice if you leave the peel on the apple or not. Some of the richest fibers and best health benefits to us humans come from the apple peel, and it’s the name for dogs.
But of course, just as some of us prefer the peel off our apples, you might find your dog prefers it peeled too.
It’s a tasty, juicy snack for your pooch either way, and whether you have cubed apple bits, crisp apple slices, or even a whole apple with the core removed, your dog is likely to appreciate the fruity treat.
If you have a puppy or a young dog, you might find that it’s best to supervise them or feed them by hand when they’re first eating an apple slice.
The texture of an apple, as well as the variances in flavors and texture we find in different kinds, can be a little confusing to dogs the first time around.
Dangers of apples for dogs
By and large, there’s no problem at all with dogs eating apples if they’re so inclined.
The vitamins and juices in apples make them one of the most satisfying and tasty snacks around – for us as much as our four-legged friends.
But of course, if a dog should be left to his or her own devices and get into the grocery bag, you might find they’ve chowed down on an apple before you can even call out to stop them.
Like horses, a dog can make short work of a whole apple and demolish it in a few gulps.
Should you be worried if your dog eats a whole apple? Not if it’s a one-off occurrence.
The reason it’s recommended that the seeds or entire core and stem of an apple are removed before it’s given to a dog is that there are small traces of cyanide in apple seeds.
If your dog happens to chow down on this before you have the chance to stop it, don’t worry.
If it’s one, maybe two whole apples, the core, and seeds will be nowhere near present enough in your dog’s tummy to cause any serious problems.
Likewise, apple stems are flexible enough that they won’t scratch at your dog’s insides too badly – but of course, are hard to be encouraged either.
By and large, it’s best to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to whole apples at all, and instead only eats chunks or slices.
There are also things worth considering when it comes to apple-derived products for dogs. For example, can dogs have applesauce?
The answer is only in moderation – the health benefits of applesauce eaten by dogs are nowhere near as positive as the benefits of an apple.
That’s because applesauce is a more processed food, and it’s had a lot of sugars added to it, and maybe some preservatives, depending on the brand of applesauce you buy.
Dogs eating applesauce tend not to benefit from that added sugar, so it’s best avoided.
The only other danger of dogs eating apples worth mentioning is, once again, young pups with big juicy apple chunks.
Puppies get pretty into their eating, as you likely already know – but stay close at hand when they’re first trying apple slices.
If they choke, you’ll be right there to help out – or of course, you can just make sure the slices of apple you give your puppy are extra tiny.
How many apples can a dog eat daily?
Doctors and nutritionists are always keen to recommend we humans eat five portions of fruit or vegetables daily.
There’s no judgment on whether or not you accomplish that, of course – what’s more important here is knowing that five apples a day for a dog could be pretty excessive.
After all, dog’s diets and digestive systems are pretty different from our own, so their need for fruits as part of their diet is somewhat less than ours.
Many experts agree that one apple, cut into quarters, would be a good maximum.
That’s because even two slices of an apple can sometimes represent up to 10% of your dog’s recommended calorie intake – although it could vary with regards to the size, breed, and disposition of your canine companion.
Either way, it’s best not to give your dog more than one apple’s worth of slices or chunks in 24 hours, and preferably half an apple’s worth.
These fruits are better considered a treat or a snack for your hound than a meal substitute or a dish worth prioritizing for them.
Of course, as with anything, stories abound of cheeky dogs who’ve become extra fond of a good crisp tasty apple and have thereby become fond of nudging their owners and master for more.
It’s always tempting to give in to those big adorable eyes, but stay strong!
Remember, we’re here to help our dogs lead healthy and happy lives, and any kind of overindulgence is always a risk.
Apples affect dogs’ digestive systems differently to our own, so keep an eye on your dog’s tummy and toilet habits as you start introducing apples into his or her diet.
What to do if your dog eats an apple
While we’ve largely been discussing the idea of an owner volunteering to offer their pet an apple, can dogs eat at apples without your knowledge?
Absolutely – especially if you live with an apple tree in your garden or take walks where apples grow.
If your dog has eaten an apple without your say so or sneaked one during his or her toilet break in the yard, try not to panic.
As we’ve touched on here, an apple or two eaten whole isn’t exactly recommended, but it won’t cause any serious upsets. The same can be said for rotten apples.
But over time, the bad chemicals in apple seeds especially can create a nasty build up in your dog’s tummy – including cyanide.
The most responsible thing to do is to make sure you have oversight over the preparation of apple slices for your dog.
If you’re worried that your dog might be able to access apples on his or her own in some way, and you’re unable to cordon off the area where they’ll find their cheeky treats, it all comes down to training and discipline.
Working with our dogs to help them understand that any apples in their diet are best seen as treats rather than full-blown meals is the key.
That way, even if your dog chances upon an apple, he or she is unlikely to gobble it down without thinking twice.
We love our dogs in part because they’re always so keen to see where the next snack is coming from.
Yet while a naughty pooch might gnaw at apples in the garden, or might sniff optimistically at an open jar of applesauce on the counter, it’s best to stick with the real deal.
Dogs can eat apple slices – one or two a day is fine – but are advised to avoid the stem, core, and seeds just as much of the rest of us.
Keep this in mind, and you and your pets can be active and healthy together without any worries.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.