You know what they say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! This fresh, crunchy food is considered one of the most popular fruits in the world … and for a good reason! They’re rich in antioxidants, various vitamins, and key minerals. While they’re a healthy bite for us humans, the question is: Can dogs eat apples?
Short Answer: Yes!
An Important Note
Before we dig into the many amazing benefits of apples, I want to share one important note upfront. When feeding apples to your pooch, ditch the core and seeds.
The core is considered a choking hazard and the seeds contain a compound called amygdalin. When intact, this compound is harmless. But, when crushed or chewed, it can turn into cyanide. As you may imagine, cyanide is extremely poisonous to your pooch and enough of it can prevent the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body.
A Look At The Nutritional Value
As with any fruit, moderation is key. A slice or two is great! So, your dog won’t be chomping on an entire apple in one sitting. But, to keep things simple, let’s take a look at the nutritional facts for 1 small apple (with the skin).
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Water Content – 85%
- Calories – 78
- Carbs – 20.6g
- Total sugar – 15.5g
- Protein – 0.387g
- Fat – 0.253g
- Fiber – 3.58g
- Calcium – 8.94mg
- Iron – 0.179mg
- Magnesium – 7.45mg
- Phosphorus – 16.4mg
- Potassium – 159mg
- Sodium – 1.49mg
- Carotene, beta – 40.2µg
- Folate – 4.47µg
- Vitamin A – 4.47µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.061mg
- Vitamin C – 6.85mg
- Vitamin E – 0.268mg
- Vitamin K – 3.28µg
Additionally, apples are a great source of polyphenols, which are plant compounds linked to many health benefits.
The Top Health Benefits Of Apples
- Supports Strong Immune System – Apples contain immune-boosting antioxidants.
- Great Addition To An Anti-Cancer Diet – Apples are considered an anti-angiogenic food. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels. Experts say, when there is excessive angiogenesis, it drives diseases like cancer. Anti-angiogenic foods work to starve tumor cells. If you want to learn more about anti-angiogenic therapy in both humans and animals, watch this amazing TEDTalk by Dr. William Li:
- May Aid Degenerative Diseases – The antioxidants and polyphenols in apples are believed to help with degenerative conditions, like joint disease.
- Improves Digestive Health – Apples are rich in fiber, an essential component in promoting better digestion.
- Improves Gut Health – Apples contain pectin, which is a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. Chances are you’ve heard of probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in the gut and help us (both humans and canines) flourish. Well, prebiotics act as food for probiotics!
- Can Help Aid Weight Loss – According to The Association For Pet Obesity Prevention, as of 2018, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were either overweight or obese. Whether your pooch falls into this majority category or not, apples are a perfect nutrient-rich, low-calorie, and low-fat snack that canines can enjoy.
- Support Dental Health – Because of apples’ malic acid, eating this popular fruit is believed to help freshen your pup’s breath and polish his teeth.
- Helps Build Strong Bone – Apples are a great natural source of Boron, a mineral that’s important for building strong bones. Plus, apples contain other bone-benefiting nutrients.
How To Feed Apples To Your Pooch
Apples do make the Dirty Dozen list, which shares the highest pesticide-laden crops. So, when picking out apples to share with your pooch, it’s best to opt for organic. Plus, always wash your fresh produce by rinsing and wiping with a paper towel before feeding.
As I mentioned above, before busting out an apple to share with your pup, make sure to ditch the core (a potential choking hazard) and seeds (which contain amygdalin that can turn into cyanide when crushed/chewed).
If you are looking to add fresh apples to your dog’s meals, you can rub the apple alongside a grater use as the fine pieces a food topper. Or, you can simply cut bite-size pieces and mix them into their food bowl.
Apples make a great snack. You can either:
- Slice and serve it straight. When feeding an apple to your dog straight, it’s best to cut it into thin slices or bite-size pieces, so it’s easier for your dog to chew.
- Using a mandoline, slice into thin rounds and dehydrate either in a dehydrator or the oven to make fresh apple chips. I actually have a recipe for fresh apple chips in my dog treat cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes.
- Add grated apples or fresh applesauce to homemade dog biscuits. I feature apples in many of my cookbook biscuits!
- Use applesauce as the base of a great KONG toy recipe. Get my 3-step method for stuffing the classic KONG dog toy HERE!
*Note: If serving applesauce for your dog, either make it yourself or look for a jar that only lists Apples on the ingredient label. If you have a Sprouts near you, I LOVE their plain applesauce. It’s just apples and has an incredibly fresh flavor.
Can Dogs Drink Apple Juice?
Since I just highlighted both apples and applesauce as a great addition to your dog’s diet, you may be wondering about apple juice. Can we change up their daily beverage and let them take a few licks? Well, given the high-sugar content (plus, all the added sugars and other ingredients in store-bought apple juice), it’s best to stick with plain ol’ H2O!
Talk To Your Vet
As with any food, when first introducing a new ingredient into your dog’s diet, do so slowly to see how he tolerates it. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s unique health needs, consult with your veterinarian.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature on apples is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!