Are Crab Apples Good for a Puppy?

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    Crab apples can be given to puppies but require caution.

    Crab apples can be given to puppies but require caution.

    Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Crab apples are a tart apple variety with a 2-inch diameter or smaller. Like larger apples, they can provide a healthy treat for dogs. Still, just as with regular apples, this treat comes with some drawbacks to consider. Not all parts of an apple are good for your puppy.

    The Good

    Apple flesh provides a crunchy and sweet treat for your puppy. It contains vitamins A and C, calcium and phosphorus, as well as dietary fiber, which can be beneficial for constipated puppies. Apples also help to remove food residue on the teeth and keep breath smelling fresh. Given the crab apple’s smaller size, it makes a perfect puppy-sized treat.

    The Bad

    As with full-sized apples, the stems, leaves and seeds of crab apples contain cyanogenic glycosides, or cyanide -- toxic to puppies and dogs. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, reduced blood oxygen, decreased heart rate, seizures, coma and even death. If your puppy is eating crab apples, make sure it is only the flesh. If you have trees in your yard, monitor your puppy and keep him away from the fallen fruit. If necessary, place a fence around the tree to keep him away.

    Other Similar Fruits

    Apples are not the only fruit with cyanide in the seeds and leaves. Apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and cherries also contain cyanogenic glycosides in their pits, seeds, leaves and stems. While the fruit is fine for your puppy to eat, avoid these parts of the fruit. If you have these trees in your yard and they are tempting your puppy, monitor him around the fallen fruits and place a fence around them if necessary.


    Before adding a new food to your puppy’s diet, talk with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist. While crab apples can be beneficial as a treat, only give them in moderation. Too much can cause digestive upset and diarrhea.

    Photo Credits

    • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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