Apples are a favorite fruit of many humans, but what about our canine friends? Many pet owners love to give their furry friend a little slice of apple as a reward, but how safe it is, and what about apple juice? Generally speaking, apples are harmless to dogs, however, there are a few things to watch out for.
Apple seeds, for one, contain amygdalin, a form cyanide, which is extremely poisonous to dogs and humans alike. Other than the seeds, apples can serve as a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
However, when it comes to apples in juice form, the good news stops. The main problem is that most types of apple juice contain a high amount of sugar, which can be bad for dogs. So, while your pup may like the taste of apple juice, it's best to stick to water.
Signs a Dog Can Taste Apples
A dog's sense of taste is far less refined than a human's. In fact, dogs have a measly 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9,000. But this isn't to say they can't tell the difference between a piece of steak and an apple slice. Dogs actually use their sense of smell to taste food. Given how excellent their nose is, it makes sense that dogs can tell when a food is sweet and delicious, such as apple juice.
Even though apples are one of the healthiest fruits you can give your dogs, apple juice can cause diarrhea and harm their health over time. All that added sugar (and questionable other ingredients) can wreak havoc on your pup's system. Many people mistakenly use apple juice to aid in digestion because their dog loves the taste, but there are much better alternatives out there.
It's probably not a secret when your dog loves the taste of something, and vice versa. If your dog is anything like most, they won't leave you alone when you have that special 'treat' out. So while it may be hard to turn your beloved, furry friend down, it's best you do when that coveted nectar is apple juice. You'll know they know the sweet flavor of apple juice when they can't stop licking their lips and won't leave you be!
History Behind Dogs Tasting Apple Juice
Dogs may not have as developed a palate as we do, but they know something delicious when they see it - or taste it, we suppose. The way in which they taste today has nature and evolution to thank, according to most scientists.
Way back when, a canine's main diet was meat in the wild. Over time (and thanks to domestication), their taste buds and dietary needs have changed. Dogs now need a balanced diet full of fruits and veggies, not just meat.
The first recorded instance of a dog tasting apple juice can't be found, but there are certainly plenty of examples of their affinity for sweet "human foods". So while feeding a dog a piece of apple is one thing, giving them apple juice is quite another. Their system simply isn't equipped for processed foods - even apple juice - like ours is. Many pet owners report their dogs have loose stools after drinking apple juice, which is always something to be avoided!
Science Behind Dogs Tasting Apple Juice
As we've discussed, dogs don't have the greatest sense of taste in the world, but they do have the same four taste classifications as we do. This means they can decipher sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. However, they react and interpret these taste sensations quite differently than we do. Unlike humans, dogs do not love salt (crazy, we know). Many scientists believe this is due to nature and the fact their ancestors' diet was mainly meat, which is quite salty already. Salty meat is nature's way of reducing a carnivore's salt intake. Pretty cool, right?
They also taste food through their sense of smell with a unique organ on their palate. While this organ allows them to detect the difference between meat and non-meat, they can't decipher between the various types of meat.
Dogs are omnivores, which means they lean towards foods that are naturally sweet, like fruits and vegetables, which brings us to apples and why dogs love apple juice. To dogs, apple juice is a sweet treat they are only afforded on special occasions. This is why they lap it up so quickly, looking at you with those big puppy-dog eyes for more.
So while they may be able to taste the sweetness that is apple juice, it is important you refrain from giving it to them because of how much sugar it usually contains. If consumed in large quantities, apple juice can actually be detrimental to your dog's health over time.
Training Your Dog to Taste Apples
First and foremost, you should never feed your dog apple juice on its own - especially from the store. The vast majority of apple juice brands on the market today are full of sugar and other much more unpleasant ingredients. While the label may say "Made with Real Apples", be sure and always check the list of ingredients.
Apples, on the other hand, are a safe snack for your pup that you can easily integrate into their diet. Training your dog to like apples can't be forced and should come naturally. Similarly to humans, you can't force your dog to like apples.
Try giving them a little slice (make sure there are no seeds) and see how they like it. If they scarf it up, you know they are a fan and will gladly take it as a treat from time to time. If they don't seem so into it, maybe try again at a later time (you can always mix a few small tidbits of apple in with their food) and see how they respond. Remember to start small when integrating any new food into your dog's diet, as too much all at once can be rough on their tummies.
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 05/04/2018, edited: 04/06/2020