Can dogs eat apples? Benefits of apples in dog diet. How to include apples in dog's diet. Nutrition tips from canine nutritionist. Healthy treats for dogs and puppies

Can my dog eat… apples?

You know what I find really interesting about the “apple to my eye” phrase? Not its actual meaning of devotion towards somebody especial, but the facts that this beautiful fruit can actually support eye health. Yet the crown of “vision food” is always given to carrots. 

We will get to this a few sentences later. But for now I have a question of the day for you…

DOES YOUR COCKER LIKE APPLES?

The simple, crispy and beautiful fruits are coming in season right now, and I really wanted to bring your attention to them as a reminder that dogs can definitely eat apples – and it will be beneficial for them.

Apples contain vitamin A that takes care of healthy eyes as well as helps to maintain beautiful coat and skin. 

They are a source of vitamin C to support immunity and reduce the risk of allergies. Vitamin C is also important for collagen production and taking part in maintaining tissues and joints.

Apples also provide B vitamins important for energy, resilience to stress, proper metabolism and even skin and coat health, plus vitamin K essential for formation of blood clots, enzyme production and transport of calcium to the bones.

The fruit is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and boron. Think strong bones, muscle and nerve cells functions, and DNA synthesis.

Fibre is another reason to include a little apple in the dog’s diet. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. They not only clear out the toxins from the digestive tract and help it work like clockwork (insoluble fibre), but also feed friendly gut bacteria (soluble fibre such as pectin). 

Research showed that high antioxidant levels in apples prevented growth of cancer cells and reduced cholesterol in both human and animal studies.

REMEMBER before feeding apples to your spaniel that…

… 1-2 thin (2-3mm in thickness) slices are all your dog needs – always start with a bite of two as an introduction

… too much fruit can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea (so stick with the rule above)

… you can use raw apple slices, grated apple (about 1-2 tsp) or 100% apple pure (1-2 tsp per day for a cocker) 

… apple puree & grated apple are great on lickimats

… always core the apples to remove the middle bit, stalk and seeds

… never let the dog eat spoiled apple or the ones found on the ground (unless they are perfectly nice and have been washed before feeding to the pups)

I am so in love with this fruit, I already talked about it in Beyond the Doughnut where I shared nutrition trivia and recipes. And my upcoming cookbook will have even more ideas. Because apples really are worth it. 


Photo credit: apples by Mircea Ploscar via Pixabay

Probiotics and probiotics in dog diet, importance of friendly bacteria for canine health. Does my dog need supplements? How to add probiotics and probiotics to dog diet? Advice from canine nutritionist and dog nutrition coach. Perfect cocker spaniel. Blog about English cocker spaniels, grooming, training, diet, puppy care, behaviour and more

A simple way to keep your dog healthy for longer

Want to keep your dog healthy for longer? Here’s another diet secret that you need to know…

Aging changes many things including the gut – it may become thicker and less able to move and absorb food efficiency. It can also change the levels of good and bad bacteria that help to control inflammation, reduce the risk of many illnesses, support strong immunity and even have effects on behavior (Pilla et al, 2020, Baum, 2007, Masuoka et al, 2017, Mondo et al 2020)

How can you help? Use age-appropriate diets that contain probiotics (good bacteria) and, importantly, PREBIOTICS (they feed the good bacteria)

In the test study dogs fed commercial food with probiotics not only showed improved levels of good bacteria, but also much lower levels of inflammation markers (known as C-reactive protein). The dog from the non-prebiotic group had high levels of C-reactive protein), higher levels on bad bacteria and lower levels of good bacteria.

So besides checking if your dog food is age-appropriate and complete, look for FOS, MOS and probiotics on the product label.

Do not be tempted to DIY with supplements. It is not a good idea to experiment with pre- and probiotics unless you were specifically prescribed them by your vet.

Do include food sources of pre- and probiotics alongside the main diet as treats (10% or less of your dog’s daily intake) – natural yoghurt, kefir, dandelion leaves, apples and oats (my Beyond the doughnut cookbook has some yummy oat-based recipes)


Photo credit: bacteria by Gert Altmann via Pixabay

Benefits and risks of raw honey in canine diet / dog nutrition and healthy home made treats for dogs / canine nutritionist in UK / perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog about English cocker spaniels, tips on grooming, hand-stripping, diet, nutrition, food, health, raising a cocker spaniel puppy (C) Natalia Ashton

Can my dog eat… honey?

“Honey” may be one of the sweetest names for a golden cocker spaniel puppy, but it is also one of my favourite “superfoods” and natural ailments.

Nutritionally, about 40% of honey is fructose, 40% – glucose, 15% – water and 5% – other sugars plus 80 trace vitamins and minerals including B, C, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, silver and silica. Manuka honey also contains some proteins and fatty acids.

No wonder that honey is praised for its antibacterial properties, source of energy, and an ability to maintain healthy digestive, nervous, immune and skeletal systems, support haemoglobin levels, improve memory function and aid natural detoxification.

Studies that were done on humans or rats linked manuka honey to the blood sugar control, reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and several cancers.

In dogs, a 2016 pilot study concluded that medical grate manuka honey could be used for treatment of ear infections (but please do discuss this with your vet before going ahead!)

But can the dogs really eat honey?

The answer is… IT DEPENDS.

Whilst a little honey may be beneficial for healthy adult dogs without underlying health conditions, it should not be given to overweight and obese dogs, dogs who have diabetes, and must never be fed to puppies under 12 months of age or any dog with the weakened immune system.

Raw honey may contain botulism spores (two other common sources are raw meat and carcasses of dead animals) and be potentially fatal. Adult dogs are resistant to the bacterium, but neither puppies, nor ill dogs have enough natural defences for protection.

The spores cause paralysis, extreme salivation, vision problems, runny eyes, difficulty swallowing and breathing and death due to either paralysis of the heart or lungs. If a dog does recover, he requires maintenance therapy for life. First symptoms may take between a few hours to up to 6 days to develop and often begin with weakness in rear legs that appear within 24 hours after ingestion of the spores.

For this reason, all puppy parents must check any foods or treats for presence of honey and avoid them until their dog’s first birthday. It is also essential to check that grooming products, especially balms and creams, you use for a puppy are free from both honey and beeswax (cera alba).

The good news is dogs naturally love honey (because they do love anything sweet) and honey may provide some goodness for all healthy grown-up canines, so treat them to a 1/4 tsp (cocker spaniel size) of good quality raw honey a few times a weeks without worried.


Adapted from Beyond the Doughnut: 30 meals & treats your dog will love.


Photo credit: Karsten Masden and Florian Kurz via pixabay