Your dog’s your best friend … so you want to share a bit of that juicy apple you’re having as a midday snack.
As you reach down toward your pup’s salivating mouth, you realize you don’t know if apples are safe for dogs to eat.
You know “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” … but does this mean the veterinarian too?
It’s time to find out whether you should be sharing one of nature’s finest crunchy treats with your furry friend.
Can I Give My Dog Apples?
Any food you can find might contain some level of toxins. So, it’s perfectly natural to question whether adding apples to your dog’s diet is a good idea.
People might tell you you’ll poison your dog by giving him apples. That’s because apple seeds contain cyanide.
This idea is a bit over-dramatic. So let’s set the record straight…
The Myth About Poisonous Apple Seeds
Yes, apple seeds contain cyanide. Yes, cyanide is toxic. However, apple seeds contain a minute amount of cyanide. This means there’s only a risk if your dog gets huge quantities.
Veterinarian Dr Marty Becker says, “The amount of cyanide within a few seeds is so minimal that it’s really not a concern.”
You see, apple seeds contain amygdalin. When crushed or chewed, the amygdalin transforms into hydrogen cyanide.
- At high levels, cyanide is dangerous to both people and pets.
- It would take at least 0.2 mg of cyanide for every pound of bodyweight to cause acute poisoning. That translates to 10g for a 50 pound dog.
- An entire gram of chewed apple seeds would only deliver up to 0.24 mg of cyanide.
- There are about 20 apple seeds in one gram.
So, you’re perfectly fine feeding your dog apples in moderation!
But if you’re worried … or your dog is very small … you can always remove the seeds before sharing an apple with your dog.
Hidden Health Benefits of Apples
You and your dog might just see an apple as a tasty treat. But it can provide many health benefits.
Apples can …
- Provide antioxidants
- Help relieve allergies
- Improve gut health
Those benefits make apples the super-treat your dog’s been begging for.
Apples: Nature’s Allergy Fighter
It’s heartbreaking to see your dog constantly scratching because his skin is so itchy. Allergies can be a constant source of discomfort for your dog. And the scratching can get to you too!
That’s where apples can help!
Apples are a great source of quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid that helps to fight off the harmful effects of allergies. Quercetin is known as Nature’s Benadryl… and for good reason.
Quercetin is an antihistamine that can reduce irritation, redness, and inflammation. That means less itching for your pup!
- Fresh, whole apples supply about 4.4mg of quercetin for every 100g of apple.
- A good sized apple can be nearly 200g, so one apple can contain nearly 9mg of quercetin.
- Make sure you give your dog the skin. Without the skin, 100g of raw apple only has 1.5 mg of quercetin.
Healthy Tip: Lots of other produce, like berries, also contain good amounts of quercetin. As I reviewed this chart I noticed that lots of dark leafy greens are also high in quercetin.
Feel free to add some of these foods to your dog’s meals. (But skip the onions: even though they have huge amounts of quercetin, they’re toxic to dogs.)
A Healthy Source Of Vitamins A And C
You do everything you can to avoid chronic disease in your dog. So, it’s important to protect against the negative effects of damaged cells … called free radicals. Free radicals build up in the body. They can cause chronic inflammation, leading to chronic disease and premature aging. So now’s the time to start fighting back.
The vitamins your dog gets from apples can help protect against the damaged cells … by giving your dog a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals. This helps control inflammation … and can help your dog avoid long term health issues.
- Vitamin C helps your body free itself of these damaged cells.
- Vitamin A supports vision, skin and coat health for your dog.
Benefits Of Polyphenols
- Like other antioxidants … polyphenols can reduce chronic inflammation, promote a balanced gut, and detoxify the liver.
- Apples are a plentiful source of polyphenols, with 200 to 300 mg for every 100 grams of fresh fruit.
Prebiotics From Pectin
Apples contain a substance called pectin.
- Pectin makes up about 50% of the fiber in an apple.
- It’s a polysaccharide starch in the cell walls of fruits and veggies
- It’s what makes jams and jellies thicken!
But it also has a valuable role as as a prebiotic food … feeding the probiotics in your dog’s gut. Probiotics … or good bacteria … help your dog’s gut health and support his immune system.
Choose Your Apples Carefully
The amount of cyanide in apple seeds is nothing to worry about in moderation. However, you should still be careful when choosing the apples you’ll feed your dog.
Many kinds of apples are sprayed with pesticides that can transport toxins to your pet. So, stick with organic apples to give your dog a healthy snack without the risk of negative effects.
This is important … because you want to feed the skin to get all the nutritional benefits of apples.
Choking caution: If you have a gulper who’s inclined to swallow everything whole … don’t give him whole apples. Slice them for safety and avoid ER visits!
Limit The Sugar
You try to maintain a balanced diet for your dog. Adding some fruit to your dog’s diet has lots of health benefits … but careful you don’t overdo the sugar. Be aware of the varieties that contain higher amounts of sugar.
Green apples … like Granny Smith … are lower in sugar than other popular apples like Fuji or Honeycrisp. People love these apples because of their natural sweetness. But that’s exactly why your dog shouldn’t have too much of them!
If you like giving your dog apples, they’re a great healthy choice. But don’t overdo it. Think of them as a treat or snack.
So just a few slices a day for a medium sized dog is plenty … and far better than a junk food starchy biscuit!