Applesauce is an inexpensive snack in many of our pantries, thanks to its convenience and versatility. We use it as a standalone treat or as a substitute for oil in baked goodies. So, the next time you’re munching down on a container of applesauce, you might wonder if you can share a bite or two with your dog giving you those big puppy dog eyes.
While unsweetened applesauce isn’t toxic for your pup, it’s not necessarily the healthiest treat you can offer it. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of sharing your applesauce with your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Applesauce? Is It Safe?
Dogs can safely eat plain applesauce, though there’s an emphasis on the word plain here. Ideally, applesauce is made of just pureed apples, which are non-toxic to pups; however, most apple sauces from the store contain added ingredients like sugars, spices, or cider vinegar. These extra ingredients can cause stomach irritation, and most have no nutritional benefit for dogs whatsoever.
In fact, excess sugar can contribute to obesity and dental disease, so it’s best to avoid giving your pup too much food that’s high in sugar.
Additionally, some applesauce from the store contains a sweetener called xylitol, which is highly toxic for dogs. When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the substance is absorbed into their bloodstream, potentially producing potent insulin release. This rapid release can cause a profound decrease in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If this hypoglycemia is left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
Can Applesauce Be Good for Dogs?
Homemade, plain applesauce does have its benefits for dogs. Because the homemade variety is made only with apples, you can expect it to contain vitamins and minerals just like apples. This includes fiber, vitamins like C and A, and minerals like phosphorus and calcium, though your pup would receive these nutrients from a complete and balanced diet. However, it is important to note that when you cook your apples to make the sauce, they may begin leaching vital nutrients.
Fiber is an essential nutrient to keep your dog’s digestive system moving along as it should. It’s also great for weight management as it promotes satiety and fullness.
Dogs don’t need vitamin C in their food as their bodies make it on their own. However, vitamin A is essential for vision support, bone growth, and immune response.
Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for bone and teeth maintenance. Dogs with deficiencies in either of these macro minerals can fracture bones easily or may develop bone deformities.
How to Offer Applesauce to Your Dog
If you want to offer applesauce to your pup, we highly recommend making your own from scratch. It’s super simple to make, and we even have a recipe below that you can follow.
You can offer your homemade sauce to your pup in two ways.
The first and most obvious way is to pour a little bit into a bowl and let your pup lap at it with its tongue. If you’ve made your own sauce, ensure there are no large chunks that could pose a choking risk. If you prefer your sauce a little chunky, mash it with a fork before offering it to your pup.
The second way involves freezing the applesauce in an ice cube tray. Then, pop out a cube to share with your pup on a hot summer day.
You should only offer the sauce as an occasional teaspoon as a special treat. Too many fruits or veggies can cause digestive upset in pups. Additionally, treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake, with the remaining 90% coming from a complete and balanced dog food.
How to Make Your Own Applesauce
Store-bought applesauce is a no-no if you plan on offering it to your dog, but you can easily make your own at home.
- Medium pot
- High-Speed Blender
- 6 apples any variety works, though McIntosh, Pink Lady, and Golden Delicious work best
- Wash your apples thoroughly.
- Core and dice apples. You can peel the apples if you choose, but we leave them on as the skin is full of fiber.
- Put the diced apples into a medium pot.
- Add just enough water to the pot to prevent your apples from sticking to the bottom. Apples naturally have a lot of moisture, so you don’t want to add too much water.
- Turn the stove to medium-high and bring the water to a boil.
- Once it’s boiling, lower the temperature and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the apples to cool.
- Puree them with a high-speed blender until you’ve reached your desired sauce consistency.
- Note: Though you can sometimes use a sprinkle of cinnamon in baking, you absolutely should not use nutmeg. Nutmeg is unsafe for dogs as it contains the compound myristicin, which can cause hallucinations, abdominal pain, and even seizures.
There is no reason to supplement your pup’s diet with applesauce if the goal is to provide your pup with the nutrients of apples. Your dog will get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from its complete and balanced dog food. However, if your pup has taken a liking to the taste of applesauce, it’s okay to occasionally offer a teaspoon of your homemade sauce. Remember, fruit is very high in sugar which can contribute to obesity and dental disease.