Are slices of apple safe treats for my dog?
There probably isn’t a dog alive who doesn’t love a few pieces of raw unpeeled apple.
Apples aren’t just delicious, sweet and crunchy—everything a dog loves– but they also have enormous health benefits. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C, multiple minerals, and plant chemicals that have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health and are known to have anti-tumor benefits and act as antioxidants.
Be careful, though, because the seeds and core are toxic to dogs. Apple seeds contain a substance called amygdalin, which is sometimes referred to as laetrile or prussic acid. When amygdalin is digested it releases another poison, cyanide, which prevents the blood from carrying oxygen.
It’s not so much a problem for humans, because we just swallow them whole and, since the seeds have a thick casing, they can’t possibly be digested—and the only way the amygdalin can be released is to chew, break, grind or crush it.
How would a dog know that, though? Also, chewing is instinctual, so of course they’d chomp and grind a seed!
There is a right way to feed your dog an apple to ensure her safety:
• Cut apple in lengthwise quarters: Cut down the middle of the apple from top to bottom so you have lengthwise halves. Cut down the middle of each half so you have lengthwise quarters.
• Cut the apple’s core off of each quartered slice. Make a semicircular incision around the hardened area that contains the apple’s seeds. Cut the stem and bottom areas off of each quartered slice. These are the hardened areas at the top and bottom of each apple quarter.
• Cut the apple slices into small pieces to reduce the risk of your dog having trouble chewing the apple’s flesh and skin. Then give it to her by hand or put a few pieces into her food.
Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, listlessness, and excessive drooling and eventually coma and death. If you think you’re dog has eaten any apple seeds or cores, consult your veterinarian immediately for advice.