You know all of those times when you’re eating dessert and your dog stares at you, begging for a bite? Well, if you are eating a slice of apple pie, your dog is in luck. Most apple pie is safe to share with your dog, at least in moderate amounts. Learn more about apple pie, its nutrition, and how much dogs can eat in our short guide.
Apple Pie Nutrition
Apple pies have been popular in England since the time of Chaucer in the 14th century. Likewise, different versions of apple pies were made by the French, Dutch, and Swedes in the Middle Ages. All of these people brought their love for apple pie – and their recipes – to America in the 17th and 18th century. Today you can find apple pie topped with ice cream (a la mode), whipped cream, or with a slice of Cheddar on the side.
A commercially-prepared apple pie contains 1.9 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, and 34 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving. It has 15.65 grams of sugar and 1.6 grams of fiber. The serving contains 201 mg of sodium. It contains very small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
This is only an example. Apple pies can vary a great deal in their nutrient content depending on the ingredients used and the person making the pie. For example, if your grandmother is making the apple pie with butter or a lard crust, it will likely contain more calories than this commercially-prepared version. If you add in the calories from the whipped cream or ice cream, that will also increase the fat grams, sugar, and calorie count.
One piece of apple pie (1/8 slice, 155 grams) made from a recipe could contain 54 percent carbohydrates, 42 percent fats, and 4 percent protein, according to USDA figures. A slice of this pie has 411 calories with 57.5 grams of carbs. It would have 19.4 grams of fat and 3.7 grams of protein. This apple pie, made from a recipe at home, would be high in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, sodium, manganese, and selenium.
As you see, the nutrition in apple pies really depends on the source and ingredients.
Honestly, most doctors and fitness buffs probably won’t tell you to indulge in apple pie. Not unless you seriously reduce the sugar and fat content called for in the recipe anyway. (Where’s the fun in that?) However,, compared to many desserts, apple pie is quite nutritious.
The iron in apple pie helps regular the body temperature. It also helps treat chronic ailments of the circulatory system. Thiamin is an important digestive aid. It also enhances memory and helps the nervous system. Niacin may help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Riboflavin is vital for the development of red blood cells. Manganese has antioxidant properties that can help eliminate free radicals.
Overall, apple pie can be a healthy dessert though you may need to refrain from eating some of the more fattening versions very often. If you really love apple pie and plan to eat it often, look for some of the versions that have less sugar and fat.
Should You Give Your Dog Apple Pie
Yes, you can share some apple pie with your dog. You should keep in mind that some apple pie contains lots of sugar which is not especially good for your dog. Too much sugar can affect your dog’s heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other organs.
While dogs do like sugar, your dog can enjoy some low sugar apple pie, too. There are plenty of recipes online for reduced-sugar apple pies.
You can also find apple pies that are made with less sugar in supermarkets. They are usually available in the bakery section but you can probably also find them in the frozen dessert section.
One thing to be careful about if you are looking for apple pie with reduced sugar is the presence of xylitol or “birch sugar.” Some manufacturers will use a sugar substitute, such as xylitol (AKA “birch sugar”) to make a food sweeter when they reduce the sugar content. Xylitol is toxic to dogs so make sure any pie or dessert you purchase doesn’t contain this ingredient.
What about Apples and Dogs?
Apples are generally a delicious treat for dogs. Many people like to slice apples and use them as a training treat or reward for dogs. You can dehydrate apple slices or let your dog eat raw slices.
Apples are chock full of nutrition. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are low in calories but filling. Part of the fiber in apples comes from soluble and insoluble fibers called pectin. The fiber in apples provides a feeling of fullness. It can also help lower blood sugar levels and boost digestive function.
Dogs can safely eat the skin and flesh of apples but you should remove the stem, core, and seeds before letting your dog eat any apple. The core of the apple contains the tiny seeds. The seeds contain small amounts of a substance called amygdalin. Amygdalin is normally safe but when it’s crushed or chewed it breaks down into a form of cyanide. In high doses it can be lethal. Mild symptoms can include anxiety, headaches, dizziness, and confusion. For this reason you should remove apple seeds from an apple before you let your dog eat any of it.
Most dogs (and people) can eat apples without any trouble but they can cause problems for dogs with irritable bowels. They contain FODMAPs. This is a kind of fiber that can cause digestion problems such as gas and abdominal pain.
What about Other Ingredients in Apple Pie?
Along with sugar and some of the fattening ingredients, apple pie can contain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
In general, cinnamon is not harmful to dogs, especially when it is used in small amounts as you would find in an apple pie. It is not toxic to dogs. However, if your dog manages to consume a lot of cinnamon in some form – cinnamon oil, cinnamon sticks, or ground cinnamon – it could lead to problems. Large amounts of cinnamon can cause skin and digestive irritation for people and pets. Chewing on a cinnamon stick, for example, could irritate your dog’s mouth. Or, inhaling powdered cinnamon could result in breathing problems for your dog and coughing. Small dogs can be more sensitive to too much cinnamon than big dogs. If your dog consumes a large amount of cinnamon some of the symptoms you might see can include vomiting, diarrhea, a change in heart rate, low blood sugar, and liver disease. Cinnamon is not fatal but your dog could be uncomfortable. Contact your veterinarian if your dog ingests a large amount of cinnamon.
Nutmeg is sometimes used as a spice in apple pie. It contains the substance myristicin which acts as a neurotoxin. The small amount of nutmeg in a piece of pie won’t hurt your dog. However, if your dog somehow consumes the contents of a container of nutmeg spice, you should contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control center immediately. The symptoms of nutmeg poisoning include: hallucinations, increased heart rate, disorientation, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, dry mouth, and even seizures. In the worst case, nutmeg poisoning can lead to death.
Ginger is frequently used as a spice in apple pie. Ginger is perfectly safe for dogs. Many people who have dogs that suffer from motion sickness give their dogs gingersnaps to help with the problem. Ginger is often used in cakes and cookies for dogs.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Apple Pie?
This is an easy question to answer. You will probably have to give your dog some apple pie every time you have some yourself.
Seriously, if you can find apple pie that has less sugar, you could let your dog have a little once a week. If you have the full fattening, sweet version of apple pie, it’s best if you don’t let your dog have it very often just because of the sugar, fat, and calories.
Most of us who have dogs know what it’s like to have sad, pitiful eyes staring at us while we take guilty bites of our food. Apple pie is something that we can share with our dogs but it’s best if we try to find a healthier version of the pie. Maybe you can keep the unhealthy apple pie for you and the healthy version for your dog.