No, apple cores and seeds are not safe for dogs. While dogs can eat just about anything you feed them, they shouldn’t eat apple cores and seeds.
Apples are nutritious; however, the tough core is a choking hazard and harbors seeds which contain a poisonous chemical compound – cyanide.
Although one apple seed contains a small amount of cyanide, the chemical can accumulate to dangerous doses after repeated feeding over a long time with other health factors in play. Apple seeds actually contain amygdalin, a harmless plant compound when intact. When chewed or digested, amygdalin degrades to cyanide.
How Much Cyanide Is Lethal To Dogs And Humans?
If you are going to share your apples with your dog daily, it’s important to know how much cyanide is lethal for both you and your dog. As per the ASPCA, a medium-sized dog needs to chew approximately 85 g of apple seeds and swallow them to get a lethal dose of cyanide.
85 g translates to approximately 200 apples assuming an apple seed weighs approximately 0.05g, and there are 8 seeds in every apple. Your dog needs to grind and swallow seeds from 200 apples to be susceptible to cyanide poisoning.
While some apples may have bigger seeds, the number of apples needed is very high unless you purpose to feed your dog apple cores or apple seeds only, which aren't even tasty.
How Many Apple Seeds Are Toxic To Dogs?
From the above information, your dog needs to eat approximately 1700 apple seeds to get a lethal dose of cyanide.
How Many Apples Can A Dog Eat?
Most dogs will eat a few apples (1-5 apples) daily. They make a great treat for your dog.
Important: While your dog needs to consume large amounts of apples (over a thousand) to get poisoned, it’s worth noting the slightest dose of cyanide is lethal. According to the ATSDR, cyanide can cause heart and brain damage. It can also cause effects like coma and death.
Effects Of Cyanide Poisoning In Dogs
If your dog eats an apple core or seeds, there should be no cause for panic. Even if they chew up a few seeds or apple cores, you should be more concerned about other issues like digestive blockages or stomach upsets as opposed to cyanide poisoning. However, it's important to familiarize yourself with symptoms of hydrogen cyanide poisoning like seizures and shortness of breath, which can lead to a coma/loss of consciousness.
What If Cyanide From Apple Seeds/Cores Accumulates In Your Dog’s Body Over A Long Time?
While one or a few apples can’t do any harm, there is the danger of cyanide accumulating in your dog’s body. For cyanide to reach dangerous levels in your dog’s body, it must accumulate. However, does cyanide accumulate in the body? NO! Unless your dog has other health problems like poor liver function, cyanide and other toxins in your dog's body are quickly metabolized.
Cyanide is metabolized in 10 to 30 minutes. A few hours after ingestion, cyanide can't be detected in the body of a healthy dog. Like most toxins, a small dose of cyanide will be metabolized quickly before it can do any harm. However, your dog must have a healthy liver.
Dogs with liver problems exhibit certain symptoms that include but aren't limited to weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, yellowish eyes, and visible signs of weakness. If your dog exhibits such signs, it's not advisable to feed him/her apple cores and seeds since he/she doesn't have a liver capable of metabolizing cyanide in apple cores and seeds.
Dogs that accumulate cyanide in their bodies because of liver disease may suffer from seizures and loss of consciousness alongside other health problems. You should visit a vet immediately if you have a sick dog.
Other Risks Posed By Apple Cores And Seeds
Besides cyanide poisoning, apple cores can be a choking hazard to small dogs and puppies. They can also cause digestive system issues. Remember, a dog's digestive system is primarily designed for a carnivorous diet. While fruits and vegetables can offer notable health benefits (good source of vitamin), dog food is better.
If you must feed your dog apples, make sure you remove the seeds or the entire core. You should also dispose of the same carefully away from your dog's reach. Dogs love looking for food in trash cans. If you dispose of apple cores and seeds carelessly, your dog might feed on them.
It’s also important to skin the apples to avoid choking your dog. This applies mostly to small dogs and puppies. All in all, the health benefits of apples can be offered in many dog foods available today.
There are better snacks to feed your dog.
How Should You Serve Apples To Dogs?
If it’s hard denying your canine friend apples because you love apples, there are great ways to feed apples to dogs. The AKL (American Kennel Club) doesn’t prohibit apples. In fact, they aren’t listed as poisonous to dogs. Your dog stands to get a healthy dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and dietary fiber from apples. However, you need to serve them properly to avoid common risks.
For instance, apples should be cut into small slices. It's not recommendable to give your dog an entire apple or large chunks for them to chew at once. The dental formula of dogs can't be able to chew whole apples properly. It's actually better to feed your dog apple flesh only. Remove the stem and core for the reasons mentioned above and only feed small apple slices.
While cyanide poisoning is highly unlikely even if your dog chews up apple cores, there are several health risks. If your dog's liver isn't in perfect condition, they may not be able to neutralize the cyanide present in chewed apple seeds leading to a buildup. Apple cores can also choke and cause digestive problems.
Since your dog may be unable to resist the sight of apple cores, the importance of disposing of your trash properly can't be overlooked. Also, if you visit an orchard with your dog, make sure you have a leash to avoid them feasting on fallen apples.
The information on this page is not a substitute for veterinary help. Please contact a vet for help with any concerns that you have.