Food Fact: Can Dogs and Cats Eat Apple?
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. They only say it because apple is a wholesome fruit in itself. With the goodness of fiber, vitamin C, sodium and polyphenols embedded in a single fruit, it is packed with a number of healthy nutrients your body needs. But should you be feeding apples to your pet? And if so, how?
Yes, but in very small portions. It’s safe as long as apples are fed to your pet as treats. Always REMOVE THE SEEDS as they contain cyanide which can be lethal for your pet. Small pieces eliminate the hazard of your pet choking on them.
Even though this fruit is low in calories and has an abundance of antioxidants which are great for your pet’s health, dogs and cats aren’t accustomed to the idea of eating fruits. They were born to hunt or scavenge, and to feed on mostly meat and anything else they could find to sustain. But as most pets turn to urban households and try to get accustomed to a lifestyle of the urban hooman, they cannot be kept away from the goodness of fruits and vegetables. The need of the hour is to understand which ones are good for your pet, and which ones are to be avoided.
So where do Apples come from?
Apples are believed to have found their roots in modern day Turkey. It was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated in the area, and through selection, apple varieties have improved over the years. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarf apples in Kazakhstan. From there, the journey of apples continued south to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Kashmir valley in India. They are also found in northern parts of Europe, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. In North America, Canada and the USA have a lot of apple valleys, and crab apple is the most famous variety of apples found there.
What makes them so good for our health?
Apples are extremely rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Researchers suggest that the phytonutrients present in apples help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. They have been known to improve neurological health, prevent dementia and even reduce the risk of stroke. In hoomans, apples have been known to lower the levels of bad cholesterol and reduce the chances of diabetes. Since they do not contain any fats, they also help you stay away from obesity and other weight-related issues.
What does that mean for my pet?
Nutritionally, Apples contain Vitamin C, B-Complex vitamins including riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B-6, dietary fiber, phytonutrients, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. While Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant in itself, it also helps in the upkeep of bones and teeth. It helps in maintaining the furry coat of your pet. Most importantly, it helps in the buildup of collagen. Collagen is an extremely important fibrous protein that is found in the connective tissue of the hooman and doggo body. It helps our pets with their bones, joints, and skin.
The B-complex vitamins are the key to maintaining RBCs and keep the nervous system in good health. Dietary fiber has an important role to play in your pet’s diet as it helps with constipation troubles and helps get rid of an irritable bowel. The phytonutrients present in apples contain beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Your pet’s body converts these into vitamin A, which is extremely useful for his eyes. It helps to delay the onset of progressive retinal atrophy in dogs and cats, and reduces the chances of cataract formation. The presence of calcium, potassium and phosphorus not only help maintain your pet’s electrolyte balance but also help with the strengthening of his bones and joints.
Also, since apples don’t have any fats, it keeps your pet’s weight issues at bay. It contains natural sugar in very limited amounts, so it can be easily given to diabetic dawgies. Modern researches on pet cancer show that feeding apple to your dog can actually reduce the risk of onset of the disease.
That said, it’s important to regulate the quantities of apple that’s fed to your dog or cat. Large amounts of apple can cause an upset tummy or diarrhea in pets. Not to mention, the toxins that are passed on through chemical fertilizers and pesticides & herbicides.
Sounds good! What are the feeding practices that I must follow?
The most important thing to remember while feeding apples to your pet is that the seeds of an apple contain cyanide in them. Cyanide is lethal for your pet. Even traces of cyanide can kill your pet. If you suspect that your pet may have accidentally eaten apple seeds, rush to the vet immediately.
Apart from completely deseeding, the apples must be cut up into small pieces so it is easy for your pet to eat them. Bigger pieces often pose a risk of choking for your dog or cat. If you want to, you can even use a shredder, and serve little flakes of apple to your pet; they are just as enjoyable for him.
An apple a day is NOT the norm to be followed while considering your pets in that equation. Too many apples can lead to your baby having an upset stomach or diarrhea. Most nutritionists believe that apples should be the exception and not the rule. If your pet has a wholesome diet, then apples are not really required beyond the occasional treat. Apples are safe. But remember that your pawpaw doesn’t need them every day.
Got an apple story to share? Post them in comments below.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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