Can I Give My Dog Applesauce?
Depending on when and where in the U.S. we grew up, many of us have vastly different memories of the types of foods our parents used to put into our school lunches. Some of us lived exclusively on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, while others remain to this day fiercely loyal to specific packaged snack cakes, chips, or ramen noodles. There is one healthy childhood staple that almost all of us can agree on, though, and that is applesauce. Sweet, portable, and packed with vitamins—for many parents, applesauce, as one of the only fruits they can convince their kids to eat, is a godsend.
Applesauce also has the distinction of being one of a handful of foods that doctors and pediatricians often recommend for periods of sickness. But does this mean that it’s safe for our pets, too? Is this food as easy on Fido’s stomach as it is on our six-year-old’s? Can dogs have applesauce?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat applesauce (and whole apples!) in moderation. Apples, after all, are one of the best fruits you can share with your canine companion. They are delicious, nontoxic, and usually well tolerated. Apple flesh does not contain anything that may be harmful to your dog, so most brands should be perfectly safe for your pooch. So there’s no reason to freak out if you catch your toddler pouring applesauce on your pup’s snout!
Your dog probably won’t benefit from eating applesauce quite as much as you did when you were a kid, but this food does contain some substances that may be beneficial to your dog’s health.
For us, the biggest benefit of applesauce is its Vitamin C content. Humans often incorporate applesauce into their diets to help them meet their daily Vitamin C requirement, but this is not nearly as big of an issue for our pets—dogs can actually synthesize all of the Vitamin C they need to thrive! Most dogs do not need to consume foods containing Vitamin C in order to maintain health, but that does not mean that they can’t benefit from getting a boost every now and then. Vitamin C, as an antioxidant, may provide a bit of a boost to your dog’s immune system, which will help them fend off colds and other infections.
Supplementary Vitamin C can be especially important for dogs who are old or unwell. Dogs who are ill, recovering from injury or surgery, very old, or undergoing periods of severe stress may wind up with a compromised ability to produce Vitamin C. For these dogs, small portions of healthy fruits and vegetables may help reduce their risk of illness. However, if your dog is dealing with severe stress and you suspect that they are suffering from any vitamin deficiencies, you should consult a veterinarian. If your dog is not producing sufficient Vitamin C, it is unlikely that applesauce alone will rectify the problem. As responsible pet parents, we should never try to diagnose or treat our dogs’ illnesses on our own.
Applesauce and other fruits have another big benefit, too: fiber. Our dogs definitely do not need to consume as much dietary fiber as we do, but, eaten in moderation, plant fiber can be beneficial to their health. Apples in particular are renowned for their ability to combat digestive problems—especially diarrhea. The fiber found in applesauce can help relieve diarrhea by introducing fluid into the colon, which can soften hard, impacted stool. Fiber also adds bulk to stool, which stimulates digestion and improves regularity. If your dog is especially prone to constipation, incorporating fibrous fruits like apples into their diet may help them have fuller, more frequent bowel movements.
Things to Consider
Applesauce is also fairly easy on the stomach, so it can be a safe treat for dogs who are dealing with indigestion or other tummy troubles. If your dog has a history of digestive problems, just make sure you check with a vet before adding any foods to their diet—some dogs may have more problems than others. Just make sure not to overdo it; dogs who eat too much applesauce are likely to suffer from diarrhea.
To keep your dog healthy and happy, the best applesauce is unflavored and unsweetened. Avoid giving your dog any applesauce that contains added sugar or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is extremely poisonous to canines. Above all, practice moderation. Dogs are omnivores who should not eat a large part of their calories from fruit. Feeding your dog too much applesauce may result in nutritional imbalances, obesity, or insulin problems. If your furry friend has dietary restrictions, consult a veterinarian.
In conclusion, applesauce is a safe sweet treat for dogs. It is nontoxic, it is easy on the stomach, and it contains moderate amounts of Vitamin C and fiber. This food can help relieve constipation in moderation, but it should not be given as a dietary staple—dogs who eat too much applesauce will wind up with diarrhea!