Black lab puppy eating an apple.

Can Dogs Eat Apples? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 9th January 2024

One apple a day, keeps the vet away? Although apples are a favourite among humans, should dogs eat apples? Is this fruit healthy for your pup? Before sharing the crunchy deliciousness with your best friend, here’s what experts have to say about it:


Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Yes! Apple pulp doesn’t have compounds toxic to dogs. The extra fibre and complex carbs might have some health benefits.

If your dog is interested in apples, choose fresh fruits instead of juice, dried or dehydrated.


Are Apples Healthy For Dogs? Possible Benefits Of Apples For dogs

Although current scientific research hasn’t been extensive on this subject, there is some consensus on the benefits of apples for dogs:

  • Rich in vitamin C and potassium: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your pup’s immune system, while potassium is an electrolyte that keeps their muscles and hearts healthy (1).
  • Help with constipation: Is your dog “scooting” on the floor? This signature movement is a classic symptom of clogged anal sacs, caused by constipation (2). Keeping your dog regular is essential to prevent issues down the rod and keep you from frequent visits to the vet. Because apples are high in fibre, they can be a good addition to boost the fibre in your dog’s diet.
  • Full of prebiotics: Your dog’s gut microflora is essential to their long-term health. It protects your pup against disease, but also regulates their immune system and might even impact the possibility of suffering from chronic conditions (3). Apples are rich in pectin, which is a form of prebiotic. Prebiotics are the food of probiotics, the good bacteria in your dog’s gut.
  • Training help: If your dog loves apples, use them to your advantage! Food motivation goes a long way during training sessions and as reinforcement. For apple-loving pups, packing a couple of apple slices with you for your next training might speed up their learning.

PRO TIP: If you’re packing apples for your dog, put a few drops of lemon or orange juice on them. The acidity will keep them from browning too much, but don’t overdo it! Too much lemon and your dog won’t want to eat them.


How To Give Apples To Your Dog

Step 1. Select the right kind

According to researchers, apples have more or less the same nutritional composition across varieties. However, in our experience, it’s better to give your dog apples that are on the sweet side. This means that Granny Smith apples are likely a no-go.

Apples that are too sour or acidic are more likely to irritate your dog’s stomach and might cause vomiting. Luckily, there are plenty of sweet apples to choose from!

On the other hand, only plain apples are healthy for dogs. Don’t offer apple juice, dehydrated chips, or apple-flavoured anything to your dog. These processed foods have many other ingredients that might be harmful to your dog’s health.

PRO TIP: Apples that have gone too soft can be easily cooked and pureed. If you don’t add any extras (no sugar, cinnamon or juices), cooked apples are a good treat for dogs.

Step 2. Cut and core

Never give entire apples to a dog: they are not a horse! If playing with a whole apple, your dog might unintentionally choke on a piece.

To avoid a scary situation, always core and cut apples before giving a small piece to your dog. You can leave the skin on since it is packed with antioxidants and fibre.

Step 3. Try it out

If your dog has never tried apples before, don’t give them a full plate from the get-go!

Start by giving them a single apple slice and watching their reaction. This includes whether they like it, but also how well they tolerate it. We recommend waiting at least 24 hours after giving them an apple for the first time. If after that time they don’t show negative signs, it’s likely your dog will happily eat apples without health issues.

PRO TIP: To know if your dog is intolerant to a specific new food, watch out for the typical signs. These include vomiting, diarrhoea, loose stools, excess gas, and lack of energy.

Step 4. Don’t overdo it

Although healthy, apples are high in sugar. Dogs do better with a moderate carb intake, so don’t give apple treats every day.

Veterinarians have established that dogs should get treats one to two times a week at most. This is to avoid overfeeding, which usually leads to obesity and other health issues.

When should you NOT give apples to a dog?

Veterinarians recommend only giving apples (and other treats) to healthy dogs.

If your dog does have a health condition, ask your vet before trying to introduce any new foods. In general, dogs with colitis, sensitive stomachs or a tendency to have diarrhoea shouldn’t eat apples.

Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:

FAQ

Can dogs have apple juice?

Dogs shouldn’t have apple juice. Unlike raw apples, apple juice has been heavily processed. This strips it from the fibre and skin that bring the most benefit to your dog.

Plus, most apple juices in the market have been adulterated with sugar. Your dog does not need added sugar on their diet, so apple juice is unnecessary.

Can dogs have dried apples?

;/aked in sugar syrup as part of the manufacturing process. As we’ve mentioned on other occasions, dogs shouldn’t eat added sugar or heavily processed human foods!

If you want to give apples to your dog, it’s best to stick with plain apples either raw or cooked, without anything added.

Can dogs eat apple pie?

Although apples by themselves are great for dogs, your pup should not eat apple pie. Pies are full of other ingredients like butter, sugar, and cinnamon, that dogs shouldn’t eat.

So next holiday season when your pup is looking at you longingly, don’t slip them a piece of pie!

References

  1. Parsley Pet. 3 easy ways to add potassium to your dog’s diet. https://parsleypet.com/3-easy-ways-to-add-potassium-to-your-dogs-diet
  2. American Kennel Club. Why is my dog scooting? https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-is-my-dog-scooting/
  3. Pilla et al. Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6971114/#:~:text=The%2520gut%2520microbiome%2520is%2520stable,metabolome%2520they%2520are%2520termed%2520dysbiosis.

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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