Apples are a popular mid-day snack. We even love to savor this fruit in our salads, smoothies, and pies. The global admiration for apples can be affiliated with its multiple health benefits. In fact, apples are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.
But can you share this crunchy treat with your dog? Let’s find out…
5 Great Health Benefits of Apples for Dogs
Yes, apples are safe for dogs. This sweet and filling fruit has many health benefits for our furry friends. They are chock-full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help promote good health and wellness.
To learn precisely how an apple benefits your dog, let’s discuss the 5 most significant advantages of feeding apples to a dog.
1. Supports Digestive Health
Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fibers that aids in digestion and helps regulate bowel movements that prevent constipation and diarrhea.
Fiber is also great for your dog’s gut health. The fermentation of fiber in a dog’s gut produces short-chain fatty acids. These acids act as an energy source for the epithelial cells that line the gut. Healthy epithelial cells ensure proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
Also, more than half of the fiber in an apple is made of a substance called pectin. This is a prebiotic that helps feed the good bacteria and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
Another benefit of adding fiber-rich food to your dog’s diet is that it encourages weight loss. Obesity is a growing concern for dogs and can lead to many serious illnesses. Fiber can help make your dog feel fuller and satisfied in between their meals.
2. Great Source of Vitamins & Minerals
Apples are a healthy source of vitamins that can supplement your dog’s diet. The complete breakdown includes:
This is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that can help improve your dog’s vision and keep their skin and coat healthy. It also supports cell growth, boosts the immune system, and promotes brain and skeletal development.
This vitamin is crucial for strengthening the immune system, promoting collagen synthesis, and healthy aging in dogs. In fact, dogs, like most mammals, can synthesize vitamin C on their own inside the liver. But various environmental stressors like growth, injuries, vaccinations, relocation, etc can cause vitamin C depletion.
By feeding them fruits like apples that are rich in vitamin C, you can help ensure they meet their daily nutritional requirements and lead a happy and healthy life.
This is another fat-soluble vitamin that helps metabolize calcium into the bones of your dog. It prevents calcium from depositing in the heart and arteries. Vitamin K is also essential to promote proper blood clotting that allows wounds to heal. Without this function, even the smallest wounds would continue to bleed and become fatal.
Apples contain calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and potassium. All of which are essential nutrients that should be included in your dog’s diet to support a healthy and balanced meal.
Calcium and phosphorus play a vital role in supporting your dog’s bones and teeth. Whereas manganese protects the cell’s energy and helps metabolize protein and carbohydrates. Potassium is a macro-mineral that is known to support your dog’s kidney, heart, and muscle function.
3. Powerful Antioxidant
Apples contain antioxidants that help protect your dog’s body from oxidation or free radical damage including joint and arthritis problems. Antioxidants can also improve immune system activity and help your dog fight allergies.
A puppy requires antioxidants to remove toxins and germs from their body and an adult dog needs antioxidants to power its muscles and minimize inflammation.
Apples contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps improve a dog’s joint health and immune system. It also contains polyphenols, a type of plant compound and a strong antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of many cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
4. Promotes Dental Health
It’s very important to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Bad dental health can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, oral pain, and other illnesses.
An apple contains malic acid, which is known to help create excess saliva in a dog’s mouth. This reduces the amount of bacteria growth and infections in their mouth. It not only prevents bad breath but also helps strengthen their teeth.
But bear in mind that apples cannot substitute brushing and basic oral hygiene practices.
5. Help Ease Allergies
Your dog can get an allergic reaction to anything from its surroundings. The constant itchiness that comes with allergies can make any dog miserable. In such a case, apple can be a natural and safe option that can help fight off the harmful effects of allergies.
Apples contain quercetin, a flavonoid, that is often used to reduce itchiness, inflammation, redness, and other discomfort caused by allergies.
But it’s important to note that if your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction, you should consult your veterinarian to get proper treatment and medication. Quercetin-rich fruits like apples should be considered as an extra anti-allergy boost.
How to Feed Apples to Your Dog
Now that you know how beneficial it is to feed apples to your dog, you must be excited to get started. But what is the right way to feed apples to your dog? Is it safe for them to consume a raw apple? Let’s find out.
1. Feeding Raw Apple to a Dog
You can feed a raw apple to your dog, in fact, it’s the healthiest way. Even dogs love eating raw apples because of their crunchy texture.
To get started, always wash and scrub the apples to remove germs and bacteria. Many sellers even add a layer of wax on the apple skin to make it look glossy and appealing. Washing ensures all these toxic layers are removed completely.
Then you can cut the apples into small chunks depending on your dog’s size. Make sure you don’t feed them big pieces as they can cause a choking hazard.
Also when you’re cutting an apple, remove the seeds, stem, and core. Apple seeds contain some amounts of cyanide. If your dog accidentally consumes a few seeds it won’t be fatal but consuming a large number of seeds or a small amount regularly can cause cyanide poisoning.
The core of the apple is hard and big in size making it difficult to chew and swallow. It’s recommended that you always remove the core to avoid choking hazards for your dog.
The skin of the apple, however, is completely safe to eat and in fact, it contains many vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants like polyphenols that can support your dog’s immune system and overall health.
2. Feeding Applesauce to a Dog
You can feed plain applesauce to your dog. The ones that are readily available in stores generally contain high levels of sugars, artificial flavors, colors, and other preservatives. All of these ingredients can be toxic for your dog.
You should be able to find brands that make dog-friendly unsweetened applesauce that’s free from fillers and preservatives. Or another great option is to make it at home.
To make your own applesauce all you have to do is wash and cut apples into small chunks. Remember to remove the seeds, stem, and core. You can leave the skin on and start cooking the apples in a large pot or slow cooker.
To make the applesauce even more nutritious and appealing to your dog, you can replace water with bone broth that’s safe for dogs. Once the mixture reaches a puree-like consistency, take it off the stove, allow it to cool down and then store it in an air-tight container.
You can feed this homemade applesauce on its own or mix it in with their regular kibble diet to add moisture. In summers, you can even freeze applesauce to make popsicle sticks.
3. Feeding Apple Pie to a Dog
Apple pie is a signature comfort food that's loved by people everywhere. But it’s not a dish that you should share with your dog.
Apple pie contains many ingredients including nutmeg that can pose a serious health risk for your dog. Even the most basic apple pie recipes contain large quantities of butter, sugar, and fat that can lead to an upset stomach.
4. Feeding Dried Apple or Apple Chips to a Dog
Apple chips are simply dehydrated apple slices that can be a low-calorie treat for your dog. They do retain all the vitamins and antioxidants but no real fiber. The store-bought apple chips also contain a high amount of sugar. Hence its safe to feed apple chips to your dog, but it’s healthier to stick to raw apples.
Some Precautions While Feeding Apples to Your Dogs
Before you start feeding apples to your dog, let’s also talk about some precautionary measures that will help you reap the maximum benefits without any health concerns.
Feed The Right Portion Size
Apples are filled with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can help support the overall well-being of your dog. But it’s a fruit that should be used only as a supplement to a well-balanced diet.
The right portion size of apples you can feed your dog will depend on their breed, weight, age, and health condition. But ideally you should only feed 1 or 2 slices of an apple per day.
Remember that apples contain natural sugars, starch, and fiber that can negatively affect a dog’s health if they consume too much in one sitting. Overindulgence can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pains.
Furthermore, it’s important that you introduce apples to your dog’s diet gradually and in moderation. Monitor their reaction for a few hours if they’re eating an apple for the first time. If you see any symptoms of an allergic reaction like itching, coughing, sneezing, etc contact your veterinarian immediately.
If your dog responds well, you can start feeding them apples regularly but in moderation.
Apples for Puppies
Puppies can enjoy apples just like an adult dog. You might have to cut the apples into smaller chunks to make them easier to chew for a puppy.
Remove the seeds, stem, and core as they can be dangerous for a dog. It’s also recommended that you peel the apple skin before feeding because it can feel thick and tough to chew and can get stuck in a puppy's throat.
If they’re eating an apple for the very first time, just feed them a small piece and monitor their response for an allergic reaction. If they experience any digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea, refrain from feeding them more apples and get in touch with your veterinarian.
Organic Vs. Non-Organic Apples
Apples that are sold in grocery stores or supermarkets are often treated with pesticides and coated with a layer of wax to look shiny. You can remove the layer of wax by properly washing and scrubbing the apple before eating.
But if you wish to avoid any possible pesticide contamination, buy organic apples for your dog.
Prior Health Conditions
Amongst the many health benefits, apples also have certain drawbacks. They contain a lot of natural sugar and although your dog might love the taste of sugar it can cause problems for dogs who suffer from diabetes or obesity.
Hence if your dog is suffering from any prior health condition, you should consult your veterinarian before making any changes in their diet and feeding them apples.
Summing Up: Can Dogs Eat Apples?
Apple is one of the healthiest fruits you can add to your dog’s diet. The nutrients, vitamins, and minerals present in apples can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, fight inflammation, improve vision, support digestive health, and strengthen the immune system.
But just like every other food, moderation is the key. Feed the right amount of apples to your dog and use it only as a supplement to a well-balanced diet.
If you have any further doubts, you can consult your veterinarian before feeding apples to your dog.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about feeding apples to a dog:
1. Can a dog eat green apples?
Yes, dogs can eat green apples. In fact, just like red apples, green apples are also nutritious and vitamin-rich fruits that have many health benefits for a dog.
2. Can a dog eat apples with skin?
Yes, a dog can eat apples with skin. But remember to properly wash and scrub the apple to remove germs, bacteria, and wax-layer.
The skin or peel of the apple contains fiber and antioxidants like polyphenols that are healthy for a dog’s body. However, if you’re feeding apples to a puppy, you should remove the apple skin as it can be hard to chew and can get stuck in their throat.
3. Can a dog eat crab apples?
It’s not safe to feed crab apples to your dog. It contains a high amount of cyanide that can lead to an upset stomach or other health complications including reduced blood oxygen and decreased heart rate.
4. Can a dog eat apple pie?
No, you shouldn’t feed apple pie to your dog. It contains additional ingredients like nutmeg, a high amount of butter, and sugar, that can be harmful to your dog.
5. Can a dog eat apples with peanut butter?
Apples and peanut butter are both safe for a dog. However, peanut butter often contains an ingredient called xylitol, which is harmful to a dog. If you want to feed it to your dog you should buy peanut butter that doesn’t contain added preservatives and xylitol.
Additionally, peanut butter is sweet and can increase the blood sugar level and fat of your dog. If your dog is suffering from diabetes or obesity, try to refrain from feeding them peanut butter.
6. How often can a dog eat apples?
Dogs can eat 1 to 2 slices of apples every day. However, try to keep rotating apples with other dog-friendly fruits like bananas, cranberries, or watermelon. This way your pet will reap various health benefits that come with different fruits and they will not get bored with the same snack.