dog looking at a basket of apples

Can Dogs Eat Apples?


This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Nicole du Plessis BVSc (Hons)

Apples are considered a staple in almost every household. Who doesn't like crunching into the sweet taste of a gala, or the delicious tang of a granny smith, yum! So, what about your four-legged family members, can dogs eat apples?

Yes! Apples are considered a safe, healthy and delicious treat for your dog. As the saying goes, "an apple a day keeps the dog-tor away." A few apple slices can make a good alternative to higher calorie dog treats. Apples are great for any pooches on a diet.

So what about your leftover apple core? Unfortunately, not all parts of the apple should be given to your dog. Apple seeds found in the apple core contain a substance called amygdalin. If the seeds are chewed or broken, this can result in poisonous cyanide being released in the body. This compound can be found in the seeds of similar fruits like cherries and pears. Apple cores are also considerably harder than the apple flesh, which could lead to choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.

When preparing an apple treat for your dog, always start by washing them first to remove any pesticides or dirt, and cut up the apple into manageable, size-appropriate pieces.

Are apples high in sugar?

Apples have numerous health benefits1. Apple is even included as a minor ingredient in some premium dog foods. Although apples are generally considered a healthy food, they still contain carbohydrates, which are sugars. Always remember to be treatwise and daily treats should only account for 10% of your dog's nutritionally balanced diet.

What are the specific benefits of feeding dogs apples?

Apples can be a beneficial addition to a dog's diet, providing several key nutrients:

  • Vitamin C - important for fighting free radicals as well as supporting cognitive function
  • Fibre - largely found in the apple skin and excellent for gut health
  • Low in calories and cholesterol - great for obesity-prone dogs or dogs that need to lose some weight
  • Low in protein - which makes apple a healthy treat for senior dogs
  • DID YOU KNOW? Apples contain approximately 52 calories per 100g2? Compare this to the supermarket dog treat Schmackos, which contains a whopping 260 calories per 100g. It's no wonder veterinarians recommend apples as a healthy treat.

    Can my puppy eat apple?

    Yes! Your puppy can absolutely enjoy the taste of apple. Offering different varieties of food, like the juicy and crunchy texture of an apple, can be excellent enrichment for your puppy.

    As with any introduction of treats, it should only be done under supervision. Always give apple in thin slices to reduce the risk of an excitable puppy choking. If any tummy upset should arise, it is best to avoid giving apple and consult your veterinarian.

    Dog being fed a piece of apple by its owner

    Can dogs with certain health conditions (e.g. diabetes) still safely eat apples?

    Apples can typically be safely included in the diet of a dog with health conditions like diabetes, but it's important to consult with your veterinarian first. Apples do contain sugar, albeit natural sugar. In dogs with diabetes, it's important to monitor their sugar intake to avoid spikes in blood glucose levels.

    When it comes to apple-containing dog food, be sure to read the label carefully. Some commercial dog foods may contain added sugars or other ingredients that might not be ideal for a dog with a health condition.

    Also, it's worth mentioning that while apples are generally safe for dogs, they should be served in moderation and always with the seeds and core removed. The seeds contain small amounts of cyanide which can be harmful in large quantities, and the core can pose a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage.

    Remember, it's always best to consult with your vet before introducing a new food into your dog's diet, especially if they have a health condition.

    How can I give my dog apple?

    To prepare apple for your dog or puppy, it is best to cut into thin slices that are easy to crunch on. During summer, you can give your dog chilled or frozen apple slices as a nice, cool treat. Chopped up apple can also be included in treat dispensers such as kongs.

    If you would like to let your dog experience a new food, always do so under supervision. This is particularly important with puppies, who can be overzealous and choke. Any new food introduction can potentially cause a gastrointestinal upset, so monitor your pet closely for any digestive issues.

    Can I give my dog apple sauce or apple juice?

    Fresh apple is ideal. Applesauce will often contain additional sugar and preservatives. Homemade apple sauce recipes still call for more sugar to be added for taste. Similarly, apple juice also contains very high amounts of sugar. Unfortunately, this can contribute to unwanted weight gain and, on occasion, gastrointestinal upsets.

    Dog food containing apples

    Further Reading

    Want to know more?

    Tips to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

    What are the Best Dog Treats in Australia?

    Raw Diets for Pets: The Risks and Benefits

    Are Raw Bones Safe?

    Dangerous Food For Dogs


    1. Meyers, H. 2021. Can dogs eat apples? American Kennel Club.
    2. Apple Nutrition Nutronix. 2022.