We all know that apples are a great source of goodness for humans. A tasty, inexpensive fruit, the perfect size for a quick snack.
We also know that most Labrador Retrievers love to eat! Sometimes though it can be tricky to know exactly what they should and shouldn’t eat, just because a certain food is good for humans doesn’t mean that it’ll be good for your Labrador.
But how about apples? Is it safe for Labrador Retrievers to eat apples, can they eat the whole apple, including the peel and the core too?
The answer is quite interesting. In this article I’m going to go in detail into what I know about the relationship between Labradors and apples, hopefully, it will help you decide what is best for your pooch.
Apples are safe for Labrador Retrievers to eat. They can be a great source of a range of vitamins. However, Labradors should not be given apple seeds (pips) as they can be toxic in large enough quantities.
First, let’s explore the benefits of apples for Labrador Retrievers, there are certainly lots of them!
Health benefits of apples for Labradors
Fiber is an important part of Labrador’s diet and apples have plenty of it. It is a nutrient that is great for aiding digestion.
Once fiber enters the body it is fermented into fatty acids within the Labrador’s intestine.
This fatty acid helps prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria and helps the colon recover from any injury.
Apples have lots of vitamin A and vitamin A has lots of health benefits for Labradors.
It supports good skin health and helps maintain strong eyesight (it’s the vitamin in carrots that your parents told you helps you see in the dark).
It’s also a great vitamin for enabling good growth of a pup, vitamin A deficiency can actually lead to poor growth and development.
This is a great antioxidant found in apples. It helps reduce inflammation in Labradors and aids the maintenance of good cognitive function.
This vitamin can assist calcium to strengthen your Labrador’s bones and teeth. It also helps effective blood clotting within your dog.
Calcium is an essential mineral that we often relate to dairy products like milk and cheese but a small amount of calcium can also be found in apples.
It helps to support the strength of the teeth and bones of your Labrador as well as helping their blood clot properly. It also helps maintain good muscle health and is an all-round great mineral for your Labrador’s body.
Apples contain a good amount of phosphorus which can be very beneficial for your Labrador.
Phosphorus helps to support healthy kidney function, helping your Labrador to effectively flush out toxins through their urine.
It also aids in maintaining good motor functions and combines with a number of other enzymes in the body to perform a whole host of beneficial functions for your Labrador’s health.
Health risks of apples for Labradors
As I’ve listed above, apples have lots of health benefits for Labrador Retrievers but they do also come with their risks.
Apples must be given to Labrador’s in moderation, too many apples can have a detrimental effect on your Labrador’s health.
Apples contain lots of natural sugar which can lead to weight gain when excess sugar is converted to fat.
This can have a large negative impact on your Labrador, including heart disease and high blood pressure.
Increased weight can also put more pressure on the body as a whole, leading to quicker deterioration of muscles and limbs.
I’ve discussed above how fiber can be beneficial for Labradors but too much fiber can also have a negative effect.
Whilst fiber can help with your Labrador’s digestive system, too much will actually cause issues with a Labrador’s bowel movements, these can mean diarrhea or constipation.
Both these issues can lead to further complications, with both discomfort and a decreased ability for the Labrador to effectively absorb all the required nutrients and minerals from the food they eat.
Can Labrador Retrievers eat apple cores
Apple cores have their own unique properties that you should take into consideration when feeding your Labrador Retriever.
Firstly, they are much more tough and stringy than the outer apple. This can cause issues for smaller dogs who may even choke on this material.
Labradors are unlikely to have this problem but you would be wise to avoid feeding younger, smaller Labradors apple cores as they too may be susceptible to choking on it.
The second factor is the seeds of the apple.
Apple seeds contain a chemical called Amygdalin, this is converted into Cyanide once chewed and is actually quite a poisonous product.
Little research has been done on the effects of Cyanide on dogs, but two cups of ground apple seeds are considered enough to make a human very sick, or even be fatal.
Of course, the reality is that neither you, or your Labrador is going to consume even close to that amount, so the real-life risk to your Labrador is extremely low.
Even so, if you have any concerns you should de-seed the core before feeding it to your Labrador or consult with your vet.
Can Labrador Retrievers eat apple peel
Labradors can eat apple peel.
Apple peel is a great source of nutrients for a Labrador and actually contains far higher amounts of them than the rest of the apple.
An apple that still has its skin contains 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium and 19% more potassium than an apple which has been entirely peeled.
If you have access to them, the best apple peel is from natural apples that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. If you can’t get hold of these then just try to wash the apples as best you can before giving them to your Labrador.
But just like in my guidance above, excess apple peel can still be harmful to a Labrador and could upset their digestive system and lead to weight gain.
You should always be careful not to feed your Labrador too much apple peel, but small quantities as a treat will actually have health benefits.
How much apple can a Labrador Retriever eat
Apples can be a great part of a healthy balanced diet for Labradors.
As I have mentioned excess amounts of apples can also have some pretty bad negative effects on the health of your Labrador.
Try not to feed your Labrador whole apples at once.
Limit their intake to a few slices of apple every three or so days as a treat, and as part of an overall balanced diet.
If you are already treating your Labrador to another sugary snack then you should not feed them any apples.
Always show caution when trying new foods
All Labradors are different and some have greater intolerances to fruit than others do.
My own Labrador (George) was highly allergic to many foods.
You should only feed small amounts of any new food to your Labrador and then monitor them for unusual bowel movements or vomiting for the next day or so.
You should also take more care when feeding apples to older dogs as their digestive system may find it more difficult to break down elements such as fiber.
If you have any concerns at all you should stop feeding your Labrador any apple at all and consult with your vet.