Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Dog Eating an Apple Off a Tree

You know what they say: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

While this is certainly true for humans, you might be wondering whether that same advice also applies to dogs. Is it safe for a dog to eat an apple? Or can it cause harm?

In this post we’re going to explore everything you need to know when it comes to giving dogs apples. Are they safe and healthy? What are the risks? What are the best ways to feed dogs apples?

But first, let’s answer that initial question: can dogs eat apples?

The good news is that, yes, they can. There are some caveats and some tips you need to follow though, so keep reading!

Are Apples Safe for Dogs? How Much Can You Give Them?

While it is safe for you to give dogs apples, you should also keep in mind that it’s important that you keep them limited and don’t overdo it.

This is an occasional treat. And it’s something that you can use just to add a little extra nutrition to their regular diet. This is not a cornerstone of a dog’s diet and it’s not something you should use without carefully considering what else they’ve been eating.

The reason that you shouldn’t give your dog too much apple is that it is high in sugar. And sugar is a very serious issue potentially for dogs.

When you give your dogs sugar you need to remember that they are comparatively much smaller than you. Even a big dog is considerably smaller than a person!

Thus, when you give them a little bit of sugar, you are giving them a lot more than you might at first think!

Not only that, but dogs also need even less sugar than that. That’s because the dog diet is different from a human’s diet. While we are predominantly omnivores, dogs are predominantly carnivores. That means they primarily desire vegetable, fruit, and grain-free food. They are descended from wolves, and those wolves would have gotten most of their nutrition by tracking their prey in the wild! When was the last time you saw a wolf stop to pick some apples?

As we’ll see in a moment, this doesn’t mean that your dog can’t benefit from a little fruit and vegetables, it just means that you need to be careful with it and really think about what you’re doing.

What happens if you give a dog too many apples?

The first thing that can be an issue is that the sugar can build up in the blood stream. If your dog seriously overdoses on apples, then this can be a big problem in the short term and may even be lethal – the amount of inflammation it can cause and the damage it can do to the nerves can become severe and this can lead to a heart attack or other fatal problems.

This is unlikely, though. More likely is that your dog will overindulge in apples over the long term, and that the amount of sugar they’re consuming will often be above the recommended daily limit. If you keep doing this, then you will be continuously spiking their insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone released by both humans and dogs in response to high blood sugar. Its job is to absorb that sugar which can then be used as fuel for energy-demanding tasks, or that can be stored as fat. We need insulin, therefore, in order to make use of the energy supply in our bodies.

If you keep repeating this process over and over – consistently giving your dog a diet that consists of large amounts of apple – then it can be damaging because eventually the body will adapt and stop producing as much insulin. Thus, your dog won’t be able to utilize any more sugar as it comes in and that can cause it to build up in the blood where it can be highly damaging – potentially leading to nerve damage, causing blindness, and leading to a whole host of other serious issues.

This of course is how diabetes is caused – and this is actually a fairly common issue for dogs as it is for humans (note that dogs don’t tend to get diabetes in the wild!).

Even if your dog doesn’t go this far, you may find that eating lots of apples can lead to unwanted weight gain, or issues with energy management that cause lethargy and other problems.

The other potential issue with apples is that they are very high in fiber. Now I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that a good thing?

Yes, in the right quantities, fiber can be a good thing. But if you get too much fiber, then it can become a problem. Too much fiber for dogs can lead to digestion problems and issues with their bowel movements. This leads to constipation or diarrhea, and that means you’re going to have a hard time picking it all up outside! Not only that, but it can also impair absorption and make it harder for dogs to get useful benefits from the rest of the food in their diet!

So, too much of a good thing is definitely possible.

There are also some other negatives that can come from apples that need to be avoided through your correct preparation of the apples and the correct serving. We’ll get to that further in this post.

Why Give Dogs Apples?

You might be wandering what the big deal is. Why feed dogs apples in the first place? Why not just stick with human food?

The logic is simple. Apples are great for humans. They contain a lot of healthy benefits, and they’re sweet enough to be highly enjoyable. Seeing as they’re so good for you, you might then wonder if they’re something you can share with your dog! And that’s especially true if they’re sitting at the bottom of the table looking up at you pleadingly.

The thing to remember is that most of us don’t feed our dogs a diverse enough diet. We often will rely on buying just a single packaged food from the supermarket or online, and then we’ll buy that same one continuously. This might seem like a fine idea, and it certainly won’t cause any harm. A good dog food should be designed to be balanced and to provide your dog with everything they need.

But unfortunately, with the best will in the world, your dog will never be able to get everything they need from a single product. Simply put, there is no one dog food that can entirely replace your dog’s natural diet – just as there is no one frozen meal that can replace a human’s entire diet!

So, what are the chances that a single packaged food that is nowhere near as expensive and that has been nowhere near as carefully researched is going to provide all of the same benefits?

The simple answer is that it’s not going to happen!

And it’s just not okay to give your dog a sub-par diet that doesn’t include all the nutrients they need. Food is not just fuel – it also provides the building blocks that your body needs in order to make muscle, bone, brain matter, digestive enzymes and much more.

If you don’t get all these things in your diet – and if your dog doesn’t – then it can result in a large number of different issues. This can include everything from inflammation and joint pain, to depression, to bone problems, to illness, to eye issues, and much more!

You can’t just rely on giving your dog a single dog food product, and that’s why providing them with a variety of ingredients – perhaps by adding a little fruit – can be such a good move.

Health Benefits of Apples

So yes, giving your dog a selection of different fruits and vegetables in addition to their regular diet can be fantastic for their health.

But what about the specific benefits that they get from apples? Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

Vitamin C

Apples are well known for being high in vitamin C and in fact this is the big reason that so many people recommend them for preventing illness – vitamin C is highly effective at supporting the immune system.

Vitamin C can help your dog to avoid colds, flus, and other illnesses that affect dogs. Not only that, but vitamin C is also an antioxidant. That means that it can travel through the body attacking and destroying “free radicals.” Those are the harmful compounds that impact cells and damage the cell walls. This can cause microscopic damage that eventually adds up to become more significant. If this continues, it can eventually mean damage to the interior nucleus that houses the DNA – which leads to mutation.

In other words, vitamin C and other antioxidants like it are excellent at combating cancer. For this reason, adding some fruits and vegetables carefully to your dog’s diet can help them to live longer.

On top of that, vitamin C gets converted by the body into serotonin. This is the “happy chemical,” and it means that vitamin C can act as a natural anti-depressant and help to boost your dog’s mood and make them happier and more energetic. We all want our dogs to be as happy as possible, and perhaps it never even occurred to you that the way to do this was through their diet!

Epicatechin

Many people don’t realize that apple benefits go far beyond just the vitamin C. It also provides something called epicatechin,which is also found in dark chocolate. This substance is a vasodilator, meaning that it can cause the blood vessels (veins and arteries) to widen, thereby allowing more blood and oxygen to travel through the body and power movements. It can also aid with healing, boost brain power, and generally make you feel like a hundred bucks!

On top of all this, epicatechin is also useful for a range of other things. It does for instance boost the presence of satellite cells in the muscles, helping to increase muscle mass and aid with recovery from injury.

Of course, on top of all this, applesare also very sweet and delicious for dogs. And because they contain a decent amount of sugar, they can be a great “pick-me-up” when used correctly

How to Prepare Apples for Dogs

To ensure that your dog gets to enjoy all the healthy benefits of apples with none of the downsides, there is a correct way to prepare and serve apples.

The first thing you must always do wherever possible is to remove the seeds. Apple seeds contain something known as amygdalin. This isn’t harmful in itself, but when digested or chewed it can break down into hydrogen cyanide – poison.

While this isn’t likely to be fatal in small doses, it isn’t great and can be a problem in higher quantities. That means that you want to remove those seeds whenever possible.

It can also be a good idea to remove the peel. While a little peel won’t cause any harm, remember that one of the drawbacks of apples for dogs was the large amount of fiber. There is certainly reason then to try and limit this so your dog can enjoy more of the pulp. This is interesting because it’s the exact opposite for humans – who can really benefit from keeping the peel on their apples!

You might also find that apple seems like an odd texture for dogs and it can be hard to encourage them to try it. Therefore, there are a few ways that you can make this go down a little better.

One tip is to try and make applesauce. To do this, you will need to heat up the apple in some boiling water until it is soft and mushy. Then, stir it up in the pan and avoid adding sugar as you normally would for humans. This can be great to add to any other dog food once it has cooled down as it will make it sweeter and provide the extra nutritional benefit.

It can also work to simply break up tiny pieces of peeled apple and to place them inside your dog’s food. This way you can again just make it a little sweeter and more interesting, while also boosting their vitamin C and their overall dietary variety.

Closing Comments

As you can see then, there are many benefits to giving dogs apples and several ways you can do it safely in order to boost their health and help them to enjoy more energy, a stronger immune system, and even better mood. Just don’t overdo it – a little every now and then is plenty!