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Can My Dog Eat This?

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Yep — this fiber-filled fruit is a healthy treat for your dog.

by Claudia Kawczynska
November 9, 2021
Ridgeback puppy eating an apple from a low-hanging tree
otsphoto / Adobe Stock

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Turns out, the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is true for your dog, too. Apples are safe for dogs to eat — and for many pups, this sweet, crispy fruit is a favorite treat. That's a good thing since apples are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and phosphorus. Many dogs seem to prefer the sweeter varieties — reds or goldens such as Gala, Honeycrisp, and Fuji — to the green or more tart types like Granny Smith or Gravenstein. Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of apples for dogs, plus how to add them to your pup's diet.

The Health Benefits of Apples for Dogs

1. They’re low in calories.

A super-healthy treat, apples are both affordable and low in calories. They're also low in protein and fat, which makes them especially good for senior dogs.

2. They’re good for your dog's teeth.

Apples contain malic acid, which aids in keeping your dog’s teeth clean and their breath fresh.

3. They reduce inflammation.

Apples contain antioxidants, such as quercetin, which plays an important role in helping combat free-radical damage linked to chronic diseases; it also aids in inflammation reduction.

4. They aid digestion.

Apples are a good source of fiber, which helps promote digestion and gastrointestinal health. A medium-sized apple (about 3" in diameter, and 6 ounces in weight) provides 4.37 g of soluble and insoluble fiber. Pectin, the soluble fiber, helps the body absorb water and creates a kind of gel that slows down digestion and the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream (a benefit for dogs with diarrhea or diabetes); the insoluble fiber can help prevent constipation.

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How to Add Apples to Your Dog’s Diet

It’s best to feed your dog apples in moderation. Eating too many can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. So, if you have apple trees in your garden, make sure your dogs don’t try to pick them for themselves (like mine do!).

Prepping Apples for Your Dog

1. Wash them first: As with all fruit, make sure to wash your apples, but don’t peel them. The skin is the primary source of fiber and antioxidants. To avoid pesticide residue, choose organic apples.

2. Remove the seeds and core: Apples are safe for dogs as long as you remove the seeds and the core. The seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, and while digesting a few seeds will not be harmful, eating too many could be poisonous. Cores can be a choking risk for smaller dogs, so it's best to remove them, as well.

Feeding Your Dog Apples

Apples are very versatile. As long as you remove the stem, core, and seeds, you can feed them to your dog in a variety of ways. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Cut in half or in quarters — dogs enjoy munching on larger slices and, most likely, will nibble and gnaw them.

  • Cut them into smaller, thinner slices, and freeze them for a refreshing, cold treat (this is great for warmer months).

  • Chop or grate and add them to your dog’s meal. When chopping, smaller is often better to avoid a choking hazard.

  • Chop and use to stuff a Kong.

  • Make applesauce or a puree (remember, no need to peel them). For a refreshing, cold treat, freeze the sauce or puree in an ice cube tray. (Feed to your dog when they're outside to avoid a mess.)

Finally, try this nutritious, apple-and-carrot treat recipe:

Apple-and-Carrot Dog Treats

This recipe works best with a silicone mold but can also work on a standard baking sheet (see sheet-prep and forming instructions following the recipe). Makes approximately 15, three-inch treats (yield depends on the size of the forms in the silicone mold and treat thickness).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz.) oat flour (or other non-wheat flour such as buckwheat, barley, or chickpea)

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) applesauce (preferably homemade)

  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) unpeeled, grated carrot

  • Yogurt (or whey), water, or broth (optional: if needed for consistency)

  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds, ground pumpkin, or sunflower seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. The dough will have the consistency of a pancake batter but will be slightly thicker.

3. Place the silicone mold on a baking sheet.

4. Fill the forms in the mold to ½ (for thinner, crisper biscuits) or ¾ (for thicker treats).

5. Bake for 45 minutes. Then, if you want crisper treats, bake for an additional 30 minutes or longer at 250° F.

6. Remove treats from oven and cool.

7. When cool, place biscuits in an airtight container and refrigerate. For longer storage, freeze them.

When Using a Baking Sheet:

1. Coat with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on the sheet (if dough is too thin, add more flour to give it more of a cookie-dough consistency).

3. Gently flatten the dough, using a fork or the bottom of a cup or glass, moistened with water.

4. Bake as above.

Recipe adapted from Le Dogue silicone dog treat molds. We used a standard sized mold for this recipe, but any silicone dog treat mold will work.

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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.