Apples are one of the most consumed fruits and since the 18th century we have loved to enjoy them in their pureed form, applesauce.
Well, this tasty food doesn’t just seem like a treat to us and many dogs have been begging to try it.
But can dogs really eat applesauce? Are there any risks or benefits involved? And how much applesauce can I safely feed my dog?
These questions and more are answered below, including a recipe for making your own homemade applesauce.
Is Applesauce Good for Dogs?
Because applesauce is made primarily from apples, it is safe for dogs to consume to a certain extent.
Although applesauce is just a pureed version of apples, most store-bought products contain unhealthy ingredients such as preservatives, sugar, food dyes and pesticides.
Apples themselves contain many useful nutrients and can even help fight serious diseases.
But too much of that healing drink can go the other way and you’ll need to be careful when giving your dog certain amounts or different flavors.
Benefits of Applesauce for Dogs
Below is a detailed list of the many benefits your dog can gain from consuming apples or applesauce:
- Low in sodium, fat and calories
- Full of antioxidants that help protect against free radicals
- Contains plenty of calcium and phosphorus for strong and healthy teeth, bones and nails
- Rich in soluble fiber which is good for digestion (helps prevent constipation and diarrhea) and they may also have prebiotic effects
- Vitamin C can help with degenerative conditions such as joint diseases
- Vitamin A for a healthy coat and skin
- May improve memory and heart function
- Promote weight loss (raw apples only)
- Contains pectin that keeps cholesterol levels low
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
One medium apple (6.4 oz) can contain 25 g of carbohydrates, 4 g of fiber and 95 calories. Please note that this may vary depending on the type of apple you choose.
However, removing the peel leaves you with only half the fiber and much less nutrients. But why is the peel so much more nutritionally rich?
The antioxidant content in the skin can be 300 times higher than in the meat.
This is essential to protect the fruit from the environment and possible microbes such as bacteria or fungi.
They also ensure that the fruit does not oxidize in the air (enzymatic browning).
If you cut open an apple, you will notice that it turns brown very quickly because there is nothing to protect the damaged plant tissue.
How much applesauce can I feed my dog?
Like anything containing fibrous fruit, applesauce should not be eaten regularly, but should be eaten occasionally as a tasty treat for your dog.
It can cause digestive problems if consumed in larger quantities.
Applesauce should only make up 5% of your dog’s diet. It is better not to feed it every day, but reserve it as a special treat for certain occasions.
You can also feed your dog fresh apples that have been sliced without the core and seeds, which can be a choking hazard and poisonous due to the content of amygdalin, a sugar-cyanide-based compound.
Apples can be sliced, chopped and added to your dog’s food, or refrigerated to use as a cool treat in the summer.
What I like to do is make my own apple chews. These are super simple and only require apples.
You need to cut them into thin slices, place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 100°C (210°F) for 2 hours (turning halfway through the baking time).
Can dogs eat cinnamon applesauce?
In general, dogs can consume applesauce with cinnamon as neither is toxic to them, but most store-bought cinnamon applesauce options contain sugar and other additives in addition to cinnamon.
Cinnamon is a very healthy spice with many benefits for dogs and humans. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help with joint pain, arthritis and swelling.
It can also regulate your dog’s blood sugar and insulin levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.
A serving of 1/8 teaspoon per 15 pounds of body weight should be sufficient and will add a nice tang to the applesauce.
Be sure to stir the cinnamon into the applesauce thoroughly, as the powder can seriously irritate the lungs and mouth.
Also avoid feeding cinnamon sticks to your dog as they can lead to digestive problems.
Applesauce for diarrhea in dogs
Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet, a common home remedy to treat diarrhea in dogs. It consists of bananas, rice, apples (or regular applesauce) and toast.
Because continuing to feed your dog his regular food can further irritate his digestive tract, opting for something gentler will give him a chance to heal.
More severe diarrhea should be treated with a 24-hour diet without food.
Make sure you choose the simplest applesauce you can find, without additives and preferably organic. The rice should also be pure and there should be nothing on the toast.
Applesauce is also great for constipation, as fibrous fruit encourages more frequent bowl movement.
Can dogs eat strawberry applesauce?
Adding strawberries to your dog’s applesauce is a great way to add even more fresh and healthy fruits to his diet.
Strawberries are also very similar to apples in terms of benefits.
They are low in calories, high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C, meaning they boost the immune system and help control your dog’s weight.
But most strawberry-flavored applesauce is sweetened, so we recommend making your own version using the recipe below.
Ultimately, you can just mix in blended strawberries.
Other safe fruits and berries to add to homemade applesauce include blueberries, mango, pineapple, peach and raspberries.
Can dogs eat Mott’s applesauce?
To see if you can share a spoonful of Mott’s applesauce with your dog, it’s necessary to take a closer look at the ingredients list.
Mott’s applesauce contains apples, high fructose corn syrup, water and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
What does this really mean? High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sugar made from corn syrup.
Consuming this ingredient can pose several health risks such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease.
HFCS has also been linked to increased inflammation that can lead to health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
In larger amounts, ascorbic acid cannot be absorbed by dogs or humans, which could lead to diarrhea.
If you want to supplement your dog’s diet with vitamin C, choose mineral ascorbates that can be easily absorbed by his digestive system.
We do not recommend feeding your dog Mott’s applesauce simply because it contains unnecessary sugars and most healthy dogs do not need additional vitamin C in their diet.
Can puppies eat applesauce?
Puppies can eat applesauce, but their digestive tract is not yet fully developed and cannot handle the usual adult amount.
Be very careful and only give your puppy small amounts as a special treat.
Apples contain vitamin C, which is important for the normal growth of puppies. Yet they don’t need applesauce to become healthy and strong adult dogs.
When you give your dog or puppy something new, pay attention to their physical reaction.
Do they respond with diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain? Do you notice your puppy drinking excessive amounts of water after consuming applesauce?
These are signs that you have fed them too much too quickly, or they simply cannot digest it properly.
Difficulty breathing or hives may be an indication that your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction. All apple consumption must then be stopped.
Homemade applesauce for dogs
Preparing homemade applesauce for your dog and yourself is the safest and healthiest option and it’s incredibly easy!
You only need 3 pounds of apples (choose the variety you like and you can even mix them together), 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Simply slice the apples, carefully remove the core (making sure there are no seeds left) and place them in a large pot with the rest of the ingredients.
Cook them over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
To puree them, simply use a blender and adjust the chunkiness of the applesauce to your liking.
Instead of cinnamon you can also opt for 1 teaspoon of honey, also safe for dogs.
Best unsweetened applesauce
There are several brands online and in stores that sell different versions of applesauce, such as GoGo squeeZ, Mott’s, and Santa Cruz, and luckily many of them are unsweetened.
We opted for the Eden organic applesauce to be our top choice.
Not only is it unsweetened and organic, but there is nothing else added to it, just apples.
If this is not available online or you cannot find it in your store, Mott’s unsweetened applesauce is also an alternative.
Let me know in the comments Below you can read how you prefer to prepare your applesauce and whether your dog tastes it.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not and does not intend to replace veterinary attention. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows signs of illness, call your vet.