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Dogs vs Apple Cores: Risks & Benefits You Should Know

Did your dog get a hold of an apple and swallow it? You may not have even noticed at first, but now you suspect he may have eaten the whole thing…apple core and all!

Before you panic, there’s good news.

You’ve probably been told that whole apples (including the seeds) cause cyanide poisoning in dogs, right? That’s probably why you’re here right now.

The truth is, your dog would have to chew at least 85 grams (200 apples worth of ground up apple seeds) before experiencing any serious toxic effects.

If you’re wondering how this could be true, keep reading! We’ll explain how it all works and what that means for your dog’s health.

Now that you’re a little less panicked, it’s time to take a deep breath and dive in.

How Apple Seeds Convert into Cyanide

Apple seeds contain amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside. Don’t worry about the scientific words, they just mean natural plant toxins. In fact, these same toxins can also be found in the seeds of pears and cherries.

The first thing to understand is that apple seeds have to be chewed and then metabolized in the digestive system before cyanide forms. As the chemical breaks down it becomes toxic hydrogen cyanide.

What You Didn’t Know

This chemical transformation can only happen with crushed seeds that are subsequently chewed. I don’t know about you, but my dog has a systematic approach to eating.

  • Open mouth
  • Hoover food
  • Swallow

    The risk of any dog chewing through enough apple seeds to cause a toxic reaction is pretty much non-existent.

That said, there are some other problems a dog can have from eating apples. Before we get into that, let’s look at some common apples your dog could get into.

Fed or Foraged? Why dogs eat apple cores.

It’s easy to keep apples out of reach in your own kitchen, but what about outside? Depending on where you live, your dog could be tempted by apples in your own backyard. No two dogs are alike, however.

Some dogs will step right over them and others will try to stuff as many of them in their mouths as possible.


Crabapples are some of the most common apples littering rural neighborhoods. Once they hit the ground, they’re pretty much left to the birds and worms for sustenance.

Is your dog a fan of this semi-sweet fruit? Generally speaking, apples are a healthy snack and a great way to boost your dog’s health.

Wild Apple Trees

Wild apple trees grow all over the United States from Pennsylvania to the New England states. They grow in parks, on trails, and even in your own backyard.

It’s not a good idea to encourage your dog to eat whole apples (including apple cores), but a few here and there are okay with a few exceptions. Keep reading to learn what those exceptions are and how properly treat your dog to delicious apples.

A white-furred French Bulldog enjoying a red apple.

The Health Benefits of Apples for Dogs

Apple slices (including cleaned apple skin) can be tasty treats for your dog. Dogs love the sweet, juicy crunch of an apple. Once they’ve had a taste for this nutritious fruit, they’re going to expect them all the time.

Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C. They also provide a good source of dietary fiber. This is helpful for dogs with some digestive problems. Supplementing a dog’s diet with increased fiber can help with diarrhea.

Apples (including the core) are safe for dogs. Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, apples can be a choking hazard or cause gastrointestinal upset.

Fresh Breath & Clean Teeth

Apples are a tasty treat that can freshen and help clean a dog’s teeth. They make a great low-calorie snack, especially for dogs prone to obesity (Labrador retrievers, bulldogs, pugs, Bassett hounds, Beagles, Dachshunds, etc.)

Increased Fiber Intake in Dogs

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, dietary fiber “reduces free water in the feces, prolongs the length of time food is in the intestines, absorbs poisons, increases fecal bulk, stretches the smooth muscle of the colon, and improves the ability of the intestines to contract.

The fiber from apples (and other fruit sources) is good in moderation for otherwise healthy dogs. Too much, however, can have the opposite effect and cause:

  • Intestinal irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

The best idea is to feed in small portions and limit the overall quantity of fruit in a dog’s diet to less than 10% of their total calorie intake.

Nutritious for Dogs

Feeding your dog apple slices complete with the apple skin provides your dog with a good source of vitamins A and C. They make a great snack and are a healthy treat.


Soluble fiber like pectin helps to keep your dog’s bowels regular. In addition, it can help reduce toxins while moving waste as efficiently as possible through the body.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are useful in controlling inflammation. They can help to ease arthritis pain and may be important to the health of your dog’s kidneys and heart. In particular, omega 6 fatty acids help fight infections.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C promotes the formation of red blood cells. This vitamin is necessary for healthy brain function. In fact, vitamin C must be present in the body in order to assist the absorption of other vitamins.

Vitamin C helps dogs (and people) build strong immune functions. In addition, it’s thought to slow things like degenerative joint disease and/or hip dysplasia in dogs.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps blood to clot efficiently. The vitamin belongs to a group of fat-soluble agents that help in blood clotting, bone building, and regulating blood calcium levels.


This mineral is necessary for strong and healthy bone structure. Calcium is stored within bones and teeth. It aids dogs (and people) in maintaining normal body movements by keeping tissue strong and flexible.


Phosphorus is another mineral found in the bones. Like calcium, it supports healthy and strong bone structure.

Can My Dog Eat Apple Cores?

Apple seeds contain a compound known as amygladin. When this compound is digested, it converts to hydrogen cyanide. There’s no denying that cyanide is toxic. However, the tiny amount that comes from a handful of apple seeds is not considered anything to worry about.

That said, it’s best to keep apple cores away from your dog as much as possible. A single apple may not cause any problems. Large quantities of any food can upset a dog’s stomach.

Safe Ways to Incorporate Apple Treats Into Your Dog’s Diet

Wondering what type of apples a dog can eat? It really doesn’t matter. Dogs love sweet-tasting foods. That might eliminate their taste for some of the more sour varieties. For example, green apples tend to be more sour than red apples.

Any of the apple varieties can be useful in helping a dog achieve weight loss. If used in moderation and as a substitute for high-calorie dog treats, apples could really help your canine companion.

Keep reading for more a few quick and easy recipes containing apples that you can make for your dog:

Easy Dog Treat Recipes Containing Apples

Making your own dog treats is satisfying and rewarding in so many ways. You get first-hand knowledge of what your dog is actually eating while saving money at the same time.

I don’t even have print-version cookbooks anymore. Everything I make comes straight from Pinterest. The following are a few favorite dog-treat recipes that include apples:

Frozen Apple Dog Treats

All you need for this recipe are:

  • 2 apples
  • 1 cup Greek nonfat plain yogurt
  • water

This is an easy recipe that your dogs are going to love. Get the instructions at Irresistible Pets.

Cheddar & Apple Dog Treats

There are a few more ingredients in this recipe than the one above, but it’s so worth it (at least your dog thinks so!).

  • 1 small apple
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup water

Most people have these simple ingredients in their cupboards. These are easy to make and the best part is that your dog doesn’t care how they look. At the end of the day, your furry friend just wants something delicious to eat.

Grab this recipe today at: Pooks Pantry

Quick & Easy Apple, Peanut Butter & Oat Dog Treats

This recipe comes from Puppy Leaks, a website where dog owners can find simple tips and advice for their dogs. Here are the ingredients required:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 apples

These literally take minutes to cook. Your dog will not leave your side until these come out of the oven. Grab the recipe at Puppy Leaks.

 Is It Safe to Feed Your Dog Applesauce?

Applesauce is fine to give your dog in moderation. There are a few ways to incorporate it into your dog’s diet. The easiest way is to blend apple sauce into your pet’s food. Mixing applesauce with wet dog food is easy to do.

What Kind of Applesauce Is Best For My Dog?

The best choice for dogs includes applesauce varieties that are organic and unsweetened. Look for unflavored varieties because these are more likely to have added sugar, sugar sweeteners (xylitol is toxic for dogs), and artificial flavoring.

If your dog has any underlying conditions that affect the blood sugar. it might be a good idea to ask the veterinarian about feeding apples to your dog.

Dogs should only be fed fruit in moderation. Apples contain naturally occurring sugar which is okay in moderate amounts.

Ways to Add Applesauce to Your Dog’s Diet

There are a number of ways to incorporate apples and applesauce into your dog’s diet including:

  • Freeze applesauce in ice cube trays for a hot summer treat
  • Mix some with your dog’s wet food
  • Let your dog lick it out of a bowl
  • Add it to dog-friendly recipes
Black and white Border Collie sniffing a red apple

When Not to Feed Your Dog Applesauce or Applecores

Dogs with diabetes or cancer shouldn’t be given anything “off menu”. It’s always best to check with a licensed veterinarian first. Apples contain natural sugar known as glucose. It does contain important nutrients, but sugar is still sugar at the end of the day.

Dogs Prone to Obesity

Some dog breeds are more prone to obesity than others. If your dog tends to gain weight quickly, you may want to limit the amount of human food he/she gets.

Apples and applesauce may be appropriate if they are fed as a substitute for other treats. That way, your dog isn’t getting extra calories, sugar, salt, etc. It’s okay if your dog enjoys a few slices of apples once in a while.

Compared to some of the artificial treats on the market, apples make a delicious and crunchy substitute without the added sugar content.

Puppies and Small Breed Dogs

The biggest concern over a dog eating a whole apple has to do with the choking risk. This is especially true of smaller dogs or puppies. The best way to treat your dog to an apple is to cut into bite-sized pieces.


If your dog has any underlying conditions that affect the blood sugar , it might be a good idea to steer your pooch away from the delicious fruit.

Gastrointestinal Blockage

One of the dangers of a dog devouring a whole apple is the risk of gastrointestinal blockage. Dogs aren’t taught to chew before swallowing. They often scarf food down as quickly as possible – at least before any other pets in the family can get to it.

The problem occurs when the dog swallows the whole core. The tough centre of the core poses a chocking hazard. In some cases (especially in smaller dogs) that thick, fibrous center may become lodged in the intestinal tract.

Gastrointestinal blockages are painful, dangerous, and may require surgery.

Liver Disease in Dogs

Dogs that suffer from any type of liver disease, may not be able to process toxins from the body efficiently. Where otherwise healthy dogs would be able to naturally detoxify, dogs suffering with liver disease may not be able to.

This means that toxins may accumulate in the body.

Potential Choking Hazard

Minimize the risk of your dog choking by cutting small slices and


Apples or unsweetened, organic applesauce are great choices to feed your dog. Moderation is key. Dogs don’t handle a sudden switch in diet so make sure to gradually introduce small amounts of apple into your dog’s diet.

Too much of anything, including fresh apples can cause problems with the digestive system.

Feeding your dog any type of “human” food should always be done in moderation. Just like people, dogs should have minimally processed foods with little to no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Yes, it’s okay if your dog eats an apple core. It probably shouldn’t be encouraged, but it’s not going to cause cyanide poisoning.

Thank you for reading

I want to take a minute to thank you for reading this post. I hope you were able to learn something useful. I love dogs and I want to offer the best information possible. Speaking of the best information possible, I hand-picked these next suggestions for you to read:

Can My Dog Eat Cheerios? 9 Nutrition-Savvy Tips for Dog Owners

Is Blackstrap Molasses Safe for My Dog to Eat?

Can my Dog Eat Tortillas? 9 Potential Health Risks in Dogs

Should My Dog Eat Beef Jerky? 11 Surprising Pros & Cons


Darwin’s Natural Pet Products


Medical News Today – Health Benefits and Sources of Vitamin K

US Department of Health & Human Services – Calcium

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