by Savannah Welna,Dogly Nutrition Advocate & Canine Nutritionist
Apples are a fantastic “human food” to add to yourdog’s food. However, apples need to be prepared correctly as not all parts of the apple should be fed. Apples do have a highersugar content and provide beneficial fiber. However, both the fiber and thesugar content can be irritating depending on the dog. Each dog is different - so start slow! Apples might be especially good for dogs who are battling environmental allergies or for dogs who prefer sweeter-tasting fruit ashealthy treats.
Are Apples Safe for Dogs?
Apples are safe for dogs. However, you will need to remove theapple core. Check to make sure theapple seeds were completely removed. While the seeds do contain cyanide, you would have to feed a lot for an issue likecyanide poisoning to arise. However, it is still good to remove the seeds as there is nohealth benefit from including them. The core is hard and difficult to digest. It could cause intestinalblockage and is achoking hazard. Of course, depending on the size of the dog, the apple will need to be cut into an appropriate size.Apple slices work for many dogs, but some dogs may need the slices cut into smaller chunks asdog treats. Blending is also a great option if you want to make some homemade dog-friendlyapplesauce as store-bought often contains added sugars and spices.
Apples are a greatsource of fiber. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber - both have benefits. However, dogs who are sensitive to fiber may experience disturbances to theirdigestive system when fiber is consumed inlarge amounts. Dogs who are diabetic or are working on losing weight may want to skip the apples. The natural sugars may be too much for a dog with either condition.
Apples of all colors are safe to feed. Dogs may not prefer the sour flavor of green apples, but each dog has individual preferences. If you can, selectingorganic apples is preferred.
Some people may choose to feedpeanut butter with the apples. This can dramatically increase calories, which is okay for some dogs but may cause weight gain in others. Additionally, somepeanut butter containsxylitol, an extremely dangerous additive when consumed by dogs.
Finally, any new food has the potential to cause anupset stomach for numerous reasons that are unique to each dog. As always, start withsmall quantities and work up when diversifying yourdog’s diet.
Are Apples Good for Dogs?
Apples arelow calorie and contain essential nutrients for dogs. These include but are not limited tomanganese, B vitamins,potassium,magnesium,beta-carotene (vitamin A), and vitamin E. Apples also containvitamin C. Whilevitamin C is not essential, dogs may not be able to synthesizevitamin C at an optimal rate, especially when under stress.Vitamin C is an important part of the dog’santioxidant defence system and is a key piece in theimmune system.
Apples are also low inphosphorus andcalcium. This can be beneficial if you want to make sure that the extra foods you provide are not interfering with the absorption of minerals in your dog’s larger, balanced diet.
As mentioned, apples containdietary fiber. Some of the fiber ferments in the gut. The product of this fermentation includes short-chainfatty acids. Thesefatty acids are extremely beneficial to the gut as they are an energy source for the epithelial cells that line the gut. Happy cells in the gut make for betterdigestive health! Additionally, as dogs age they can often require more fiber for healthy elimination - just another reason why apples are a great choice forsenior dogs.
Apples (wth skin) contain quercetin. Quercetin is a polyphenol that can help modulate histamine release. Apples might be an ideal choice for dogs who need extra support during environmental allergy seasons. However, apples may cause oral allergy syndrome where the mouth and/or throat becomes itchy. Check in with your dog to make sure your pup is tolerating the apples well.
Apples are rich inantioxidants and have shown to benefit cardiovascular health in humansandanimals. In general, rotating apples will help provide an array of phytonutrients. For example, anthocyanins are found in red apples exclusively and are thought to help protect against cancer.
Providing fresh foods is a great idea when seeking to support yourdog’s health. Many of these phytonutrients are not found in commercial foods. Don’t let your pup miss out on thissweet treat.
How to Feed Applesas aHealthy Snack to Dogs
As mentioned, core the apple and make sure the seeds are removed. Cut into safely sized pieces. Exact sizing will vary from dog to dog.
If you are unsure of how much to feed, start by feeding a half gram per pound of body weight. For example, a 56-pound dog would get one ounce of apples maximum to start.
Consider rotating apples with other dog-safe fruits such aswatermelon,raspberries, or blueberries! Each fruit contains its own benefits, many of which are not found in commercialpet food.
For more nutrition advice, joinmy Community on Dogly where you can ask questions and get 24/7 access to me and other certified experts across nutrition, training & behavior, and wellness so we can all worry less and know we’re setting up our dogs to live long and well.
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