Are Apples Good for Dogs ?
Apples are not bad for dogs as long as the core and seeds are removed. Besides being tasty, apples or apple slices are a good low protein, high fiber, antioxidant snacks for our canine friends.
“Some senior dogs, or dogs prone to certain illnesses, must limit their meaty treats due to protein restrictions, or stick to a low fat diet,” says Dr. Oscar E. Chavez, DVM and chief medical officer of JustFoodForDogs. “Apples, being low in protein and fat, make a great treat substitute for these dogs.”
The benefits aren’t just for aging pups or pups with health issues, though. For your younger, active dog, Dr. Chavez suggests feeding her apples for the benefits of their antioxidants and vitamin C, which some vets believe help with degenerative conditions like joint disease, and for the fiber, which can contribute to overall gastrointestinal health.
Watch for Side Effects
As is the case with any food for your dog, fruits should always be given in moderation.
“Use apples to supplement smaller portions of their normal food, and introduce fruit to their diet gradually,” says Dr. Kerri Marshall, DVM and chief veterinary officer of Trupanion Pet Insurance.
It’s also important that you remove all seeds from an apple before giving it to your dog. Apple seeds contain cyanide, and although a few apple seeds likely won’t harm your dog, eating them over time can lead to the accumulation of cyanide in your dog’s system, which is quite hazardous. As such, you’ll need to discard the core of the apple — which also poses a choking hazard — and cut the remaining fruit into slices to serve as a treat for your dog.
Also remember that every dog is different and every dog reacts to food differently. You may be raising a dog that has trouble digesting apples, so take the time to slowly add apples to your dog’s diet and gage his system’s reaction before making them a staple. If your dog has diabetes or cancer, keep in mind that apples contain sugar; speak with your veterinarian about the effect apples may have on your dog’s system and health.
Help to clean residue off a dog’s teeth, which helps to freshen her breath. Apples are a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A and C. Make sure to take out the seeds and the core before feeding to your dog, as these can be choking hazards.
Will Apples Poison the Family Pet ?
Many people like to give their dogs apples as a treat, and many dogs like the treat. Still, there’s a lot of information about apples that says they will poison the dog. In general, apples are harmless to dogs. However, there are a couple of things to be cautious about: the seeds and too many apples.
Apple seeds contain amygdlin, a form of cyanide, which is very poisonous to every living thing. Cyanide prevents the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body.
If the dog swallows a few seeds, the body will detoxify itself. Actually, the dog must ingest large quantities of apple seeds to do major damage. Also, the cyanide is within the seed covering, and if the covering isn’t broken, it will pass through the dog’s system intact. Sort of a no harm, no foul situation.
So, if you’re going to give your dog apples, core the apples. Then, cut them into bite-size pieces and feed the dog this way. This may seem overly cautious, but why take the chance.
The Good Things
Apples are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C as well as low in saturated fat and sodium. Some believe that vitamin C can help hip dysplasia, a common ailment in large and large, purebred dogs. Saturated fat contributes to heart problems. Apples contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to a healthy, glossy coat and help to control skin allergies.
Too Much of a Good Thing
On the down side most of the calories in apples come from naturally occurring sugar, not processed sugar that might be found in other treats it’s true. Still, sugar is sugar, so it can contribute to weight gain in large quantities.
Also, apples contain calcium and phosphorous, so if your dog has kidney trouble, don’t give him apples. Too much calcium and phosphorous in the kidney are indicators of kidney stones and early- to end-stage kidney disease.
Be careful of omega-6 fatty acids because they can cause inflammation, which wouldn’t be good for an arthritic dog. They also aren’t good for dogs with kidney disease. The apples themselves don’t have that much omega-6, but if the dog gets it from other sources, it can be a problem.
Eating too much apple can loosen a dog’s bowels, and you don’t want that. How much is too much depends on the dog, so show caution.
Don’t fear apples as a treat for your dog. Just remember to core the apple, so those pesky, poisonous seeds get thrown away. Keep the portions a reasonable size, and the dog’s coat will gleam, he won’t have diarrhea, and he’ll be one happy camper.