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Can Dogs Eat Apple Cores? Vet-Approved Risks & Safety Tips

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

Can Dog Eat apple-core

Dogs like to eat a variety of fruits, but not every part of every fruit is safe for dogs. Take apples (Malus silvestrus), for example. Dogs can freely eat apple skin and the flesh of the apple, but dogs should absolutely not eat the apple cores, the seeds, the stems, or the leaves. You might think that dogs’ teeth, strong jaws, and iron stomachs might allow them to eat any part of the apple, but you would be wrong. Apple cores pose an obstruction hazard and they contain apple seeds which, as well as the apple stems and leaves, are toxic because of the presence of cyanogenic glycosides. If eaten in very large quantities, they can be highly toxic.

Here is everything you need to know about dogs and appled, including safety tips and what to watch for.

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Can Dogs Eat Apple Cores?

Generally speaking, no, dogs should not eat apple cores. Apple cores are super dense and hard to break down, and that makes them an obstruction risk. Dogs should not eat apple cores for the same reasons that people avoid them. They are tough, hard to eat, and hard to digest. There is little nutritional value to eating an apple core, and they have seeds in them. That won’t stop a dog from trying to eat one if they get their paws on it. So, you should avoid letting your dog anywhere near apple cores whenever possible.

a pile of cut apple cores
Image Credit: Sebastian Henkelmann, Shutterstock

Are Apple Cores Toxic?

Yes and no. Apple cores containing seeds are potentially toxic to dogs, but a few things need to be considered. The seeds must be crushed in order to be toxic, so a seed that is ingested whole won’t release its toxins. On the other hand, the amount of seeds play an important role. A dog would have to eat dozens, even more than 100 apples, depending on the size of the dog, to become intoxicated with cyanide. While one apple core isn’t toxic and won’t poison your dog, they are still dangerous to ingest. Apple cores are in the same vein as any item that is too tough to digest reliably, even if they are not explicitly toxic.

Dangers of Eating Apple Cores

The biggest danger to your dog from apple cores is a digestive blockage. Esophageal, gastric, and intestinal blockages, also known as foreign bodies, are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. When a dog gets blocked, they can get seriously ill. If a blockage persists untreated, the dog can take a hard turn for the worst and perish. One of the only ways to solve a blockage caused by a foreign body is endoscopy or surgery. The vet has to go in, remove the blocked item, and repair any damage to the organs that has occurred. 

veterinarian examining a sick Rhodesian ridgeback dog
Image Credit: Zontica, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Eat Apple Seeds?

Theoretically, no. Dogs should not eat crushed apple seeds; however, if your dog eats a few apple seeds, they should be absolutely fine. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. The amount of cyanide is so small that it would take an absurd number of apple seeds to actually be harmful to a person or a dog.

The lethal dose of cyanide in most species is roughly around 2 mg/kg. Whereas, apple seeds have the potential to release 0.6 mg of cyanide per gram. It would take roughly 60 apple seeds to harm a medium sized dog. No dog or person is going to eat that number of apple seeds accidentally. Each apple core contains 5 to 8 individual seeds. That means that your dog would have to eat 12 apple cores in a short period of time to get toxicity from the apple seeds alone. The cores could kill your dog long before the seeds will.

What Happens If My Dog Eats an Apple Core?

If your dog eats an apple core and seems fine, don’t panic. Sometimes dogs can digest apple cores, and sometimes they can’t. If you can get the apple core away from your dog before they chew it up, that is ideal. If your dog eats one apple core, they might be okay, but you should contact your vet for advice, especially if your dog is a toy or a small breed. Never try to make your dog sick with home remedies since there is no safe way of doing this at home.  

You should watch your dogs for signs of intestinal blockage which include vomiting, diarrhea, inability to keep any food or water down, signs of pain, and having no poop for days at a time. If you see any of these signs, you should take your dog to the vet immediately because it could be serious.

If your dog eats one apple core, you should not panic but do be aware of the dangers. You should also not let your dog make a habit of eating apple cores because, eventually, it will end poorly.

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Conclusion

You should keep your dog from eating apple cores whenever possible. A small portion of apple flesh can be a delicious treat for your dog, but apple cores can pose a danger to your dog’s insides, and apple seeds, leaves, and stems are potentially toxic if consumed crushed and in large amounts. Apple cores are hard to digest and can end up blocking your dog’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines, which can be a fatal condition. If your dog gets to an apple core, it is best to contact your vet for advice. You don’t need to panic, but you should be aware of the risks.

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Featured Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

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