Whether dogs can eat applesauce is probably a moot point…
Many canines will grab and scarf down anything they can find, whether it’s good or bad for them. If you’re concerned about your pet’s nutritional intake, you might wonder if foods like apples or applesauce are okay.
Let’s peel back the layers and get to the core of the matter.
Are Apples Safe for Pets?
Generally, there’s little you need to worry about with apples. They are nutritious for both people and dogs.
They are good sources of fiber and potassium. There is virtually no fat or cholesterol, either. They also provide a modest amount of carbohydrates and a smattering of other vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.
So far, so good.
We wouldn’t suggest tossing an apple to your dog. Remember that there is still that tough bit in the middle of the fruit. It can pose a choking hazard to your pet, but so can the socks he chews up or the squeaky toy he demolishes.
However, there is one downside we need to point out—the seeds. Unfortunately, they contain a potentially deadly chemical called amygdalin. If you ingest it, metabolism can turn it into hydrogen cyanide.
Before you throw out that bag of Honey Crisp apples, bear in mind that you or your pet would have to eat a lot of apple seeds to harm either one of you. The pips also have a hard shell which is difficult to digest, making them likely to pass before they become toxic.
Most likely, the applesauce won’t contain any seeds, anyway. Does that mean you can give it to your dog?
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Applesauce
As we always say, rarely are things in life either one way or the other. The same applies to applesauce and your dog.
Apples offer nutritional value. That’s the good part.
The problem starts once you remove the peel. You get rid of a lot of the good stuff that makes apples a healthy choice for your dog.
Applesauce has about one-third less of the fiber.
The preparation taps the amount of magnesium and other nutrients that raw fruit has.
Any protein that an apple did contain is gone.
It turns out that the peel is part of what makes the fruit an excellent addition for variety in your dog’s diet. Without it, the applesauce is only marginally beneficial. That’s the bad part.
You can think of applesauce like juice. A healthy diet for an omnivore like humans and dogs should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables. The chances are that in this semi-solid state, applesauce contains fewer nutrients and more sugar.
Applesauce with added sugars and other fruits can have nearly twice the sugar and carbohydrate content as the raw fruit for a comparable serving size. Those are calories your pet doesn’t need. Over 70 percent of canines are either overweight or obese. The sad thing is that it’s preventable.
There’s also that elephant in the room that we must discuss… Diabetes.
A diabetic dog is unable to process glucose or sugar normally. Instead of providing a vital source of energy, the body excretes the excess amounts. That sets up a cascading series of events, leading to the breakdown of healthy tissue to meet the pet’s need for energy.
Genetics plays a role in certain dogs being more likely to develop this condition. However, like people, lifestyle factors can also increase your pet’s risk. Obesity is one of them.
There is no cure for diabetes. Your pet’s care plan will include giving insulin injections, monitoring his diet, and maintaining safe blood sugar levels.
A whopping sugar bomb with a plate of applesauce is not on the menu. However, a high-fiber diet is. That brings us back to the idea of the raw fruit being the wiser option.
How to Feed Your Dog Applesauce Safely
By and large, fruits like strawberries or bananas are okay for your pet to eat. If the brand of applesauce contains others, it’s probably fine. As we talked about previously, sugar is the main culprit to watch, especially if your dog is diabetic.
Of course, applesauce isn’t a substitute for a complete, healthy diet. It’s best to make it an occasional treat. We recommend sticking with the 10 percent rule. Give your dog no more than that number of calories from treats each day.
Sharing food with our canine companions was probably a significant step toward building our relationship with man’s best friend. And if you enjoy applesauce, it’s understandable that you’d want to give a bit to your pet.
As long as your pet doesn’t have an existing health condition, it’s probably all right—as long as it’s unsweetened and not a regular habit. If in doubt, ask your dog’s veterinarian. As with any new food, start small to make sure it agrees with him but not from your spoon, okay?
Featured image credit: Taken, Pixabay