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Puppy eating an apple from a tree

The essentials

  • Apples are a safe snack for your dog, in moderation — Give your pup one or two pieces at a time to avoid any possible health risks.
  • They’re a great treat alternative for overweight dogs — You can satisfy their sweet tooth and help them get back to a healthy weight.
  • Apples have many health benefits — They contain vitamins C, A, and K. They’re also rich in fiber and antioxidants.

In short, yes, your pup can enjoy apples! Apples have a high fiber content and are full of other good stuff that your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight and strong immune system.

All varieties of apples are safe to share with your pup and a great source of vitamins, but green apples, like Granny Smith, are lower in carbohydrates and higher in vitamin A. But always remove the pit, core, and stem before sharing with your furry friend, as those parts contain small amounts of cyanide.

Now that you know that you can serve your furry friend these sweet snacks, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits and things to know about apples for dogs.

Are apples good for dogs?

Apples can be an affordable, low-calorie snack or reward for dogs — making many pet owners reach for the snack during training or moments of positive reinforcement. The antioxidant-rich, vitamin-packed fruit also has helpful digestive aids for your pet.

Here’s what you should know about the nutritional elements found in apples, and how they can benefit your pet:

  • Fiber. Fiber has many of the same benefits for both dogs and humans. Dietary fiber is great for pups considered obese or for pets on restrictive diets. Fiber also helps to regulate gut motility and stool formation in pets, which means less tummy troubles all around.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps support growth, immune function, and vision in your pet and is an essential vitamin for your pup starting when they’re in utero.
  • Vitamin C. This vitamin can help reduce inflammation and supports cognitive function as dogs age by fighting free radicals. It also plays a vital role in collagen production, which is important for your pet’s joint health.
  • Vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential in helping blood to clot, helping to hasten your pet’s healing process in the case of injury. It also helps to ensure that calcium doesn’t build up in their veins as plaque.
  • Antioxidants. Vitamins, amino acids, and minerals all fall under the umbrella of antioxidants, which protect against damage on a cellular level.
  • Calcium. Calcium is a great help in maintaining your pet’s healthy bones, teeth, and heart health. Like humans, dogs cannot create this mineral naturally — so it’s important they receive it through their food.
  • Phosphorus. Phosphorus works closely with calcium to support bone and teeth health. It also combines with other minerals to form compounds that regulate typical bodily functions.

How to feed apples to your dog

There are several ways to safely feed apples to your dog once you’ve gotten the all-clear from your veterinarian.

To start, wash the apple thoroughly to remove any wax, pesticides, or other contaminants from the skin. You can do this using a mixture of water and baking soda or can opt for organic apples. Then, peel your apple.

Be careful doing this and remove any potentially harmful bits — such as the core, stem, and seeds.

  • Your dog should never eat the core of an apple. The core of any apple is excessively firm, and should not be given to your dog. Potential risks of eating apple cores include choking and, if swallowed, can lead to a gastrointestinal (GI) blockage that would require emergency surgery.
  • Stem. Apple stems can get stuck between your pet’s teeth or lodged in their throat, which could require emergency veterinary intervention.
  • Seeds. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. While it might take a lot of seeds to cause cyanide poisoning from the toxic chemical, it’s best to remove them before feeding your dog.

Once you’ve washed, peeled, and cut up the apple pieces, you can add them directly into your dog’s food — or you can pop the pieces into the freezer for a refreshing, crunchy snack. Use plain, unsweetened applesauce to create a soft snack perfect for senior dogs. Be especially careful feeding them to smaller dogs!

👉Apples contain sugar, so serve them in moderation, especially to dogs with certain medical conditions like diabetes. Too many apples can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea, even in healthy dogs.

7 apple recipes for your dog

There are plenty of ways to prepare apples for your dog, and switching up the way you serve them can be a tasty treat for you both. Here are a few dog-safe recipe ideas to get you started:

  • Roasted apple chips. This one is so simple, you likely don’t need a recipe! Wash and core your apples before cutting them into thin slices, and placing them on a non-stick baking tray. Bake at 200°F until golden brown. You can also get a similar outcome by making dehydrated apples.
  • Apple peanut butter cookies. Calling all bakers! This fun treat combines some yummy ingredients like grated apple, bacon, and peanut butter for a snack your pup will love. Who doesn’t love sweet and savory treats?
  • Plain, unsweetened applesauce. You can buy this from your local grocery store, or you can make it at home. Start by washing and coring your apples. Then, boil them for around 15 minutes, or until soft. Then, simply blend with a blender until you achieve your desired consistency. Let cool, then enjoy!
  • Apple gingerbread. This delicious, dog-friendly take on a holiday classic is made of brown rice flour, apple, coconut yogurt, ground ginger, and coconut oil. The best part? You can make it all year round.
  • Apple pretzels . Who doesn’t love a warm pretzel? To start, grab a bowl and combine almond flour, 1 egg, and 1 cup of plain, unsweetened applesauce. Knead well, and tie the dough into individual pretzel twists for your pet pal. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly browned and firm. Avoid the salt, let cool, and enjoy!
  • Chicken and apple balls. For something savory, look no further than this delicious combination of chicken, apple, carrots, and red bell pepper. They’re soft, convenient, and delicious. Your pet won’t be able to get enough.
  • Grated apple. Don’t overlook this classic treat. You can make this one in minutes — just take a hand grater or food processor and grate your apple for a fun (and perhaps messy) treat.

👉 Avoid feeding your pup any sort of apple pie or apple crumble. These treats have a high sugar and caloric content. They also tend to contain amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg, which are not safe for your dog. Pectin, made from apples, is also harmful to dogs.

🚨 If your dog has eaten a whole apple (peel, core, seeds, etc.) and you notice difficulty breathing, vomiting, low energy, and decreased appetite, take your dog to the nearest emergency hospital as the apple core may be causing an obstruction or other health issues.

Other healthy fruits for dogs

Fruits can be a fantastic treat for your pet. Here are some fruits that your pup can safely indulge in, and some you’ll want to avoid.

Dog-safe fruits and vegetables Unsafe fruits and vegetables
Bananas. Bananas, like apples, are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and belly-calming potassium. Caffeine. This ingredient can cause an elevated heart rate, as well as symptoms that range from hyperactivity to seizures.This ingredient can cause an elevated heart rate, as well as symptoms that range from hyperactivity to seizures.
Blueberries. Freezable, portable, and tossable, blueberries are a good source of vitamins and make a great on-the-go snack for active pups. Grapes or raisins. As few as one to three grapes/raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. As such, take care to avoid these toxic foods.
Mangos. Mangos boost the immune system, support eye health, and are a great source of antioxidants. Nightshades. Ingestion of nightshades can cause weakness, excessive drooling, dilated pupils, and even paralysis and death.
Peaches. Peaches are safe to share and are a good source of fiber and vitamin A. They can also help your pup fight infections. Xylitol. Found in candy and other pantry staples, this artificial sweetener can cause severe drops in blood sugar — which can lead to seizures and liver failure. Avoid all added sugar if possible.
Watermelon. Watermelons are roughly 92% water, so a few small cubes (without the rind or seeds) can give your pup a hydration boost thanks to the fruit’s water content. Macadamia nuts. Dogs that ingest macadamia nuts (even in small amounts) can become paralyzed and lose the ability to walk.
Strawberries. Like many other fruits on this list, strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain an enzyme that can whiten your dog’s teeth. Avocado. To be clear, dogs can have small amounts of avocado flesh — but never the pit, skin, or leaves. This is because they contain persin, which is a toxin for dogs.

🚨 Check out a full list of what fruits and vegetables are safe for your dog to consume and which aren’t safe

Whether you freeze, mix, blend, smash, or dry them, apples are a great “people food” addition, in moderation, when you’re looking to reward your dog with a healthy snack.

Frequently asked questions

How many apples can I give my dog?

Because apples are relatively high in sugar content, it’s best to stick to a small amount. Just a few slices or cubes of a stemmed, cored, peeled, and seeded apple are recommended.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t feed your pet large amounts of human food. Instead, stick to small quantities in bite-sized pieces for easy consumption. Same with puppies, especially since they’re just getting used to their dog food and have more sensitive stomachs.

Can dogs have apples with skin?

It’s a good idea to avoid giving your dog the apple peels since they can come into contact with pesticides and other contaminants. Apple skin can also get stuck between a dog’s teeth, so a good rule of thumb is to remove it before feeding it to your pup.

Why should dogs not eat apples?

As we mentioned above, the fleshy part of the apple is safe — but your pet shouldn’t eat the stem, seeds, peel, or core. Additionally, four-legged friends with chronic diseases, high blood pressure, or certain conditions like diabetes should avoid apples as they’re pretty high in sugar.

If you have any questions, check with your veterinarian prior to snacking to make sure apples are a healthy treat for your pet. Also, we recommend starting small when introducing new food or dog treats to ensure that your pup doesn’t have any digestive system issues or adverse reactions.

Can dogs eat apples every day?

Fresh apple slices can be a fun treat for your pup from time-to-time. However, apples, like most fruits, have natural sugars — and when ingested in large amounts, these can be too much of a good thing. A little bit goes a long way.

What are the benefits of apples?

On top of all of these nutrients, the chewing of an apple can even help keep your dog’s teeth clean, though it should not take the place of regular dental care.

Can dogs eat green apples?

Green apples are a super healthy treat and a great way to get your dog some essential vitamins.