My Dog Ate An Apple Core and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The seeds found in apple cores contain trace amounts of a substance that converts to cyanide when it’s digested.
  • The amount of cyanide found in an apple core is not enough to poison your dog.
  • The fiber content of apple cores make them a risk for choking and obstructions
  • If your dog eats an apple core, notify your vet and observe your dog for signs of trouble

If you have a dog like mine, he’ll eat just about anything. Dogs are that way. They investigate their world with their mouth and nose. Given the chance, they’ll raid your trash can. So, if Fido grabs an apple core and gobbles it up, you shouldn’t be surprised. But should you be concerned?

Fortunately, although apple seeds contain traces of a substance that converts to cyanide, there’s not enough in one core to poison your dog. However, the seeds and fibrous core can cause your dog to choke or create an intestinal obstruction. So, if your pooch ingests an apple core, there’s no reason to panic. However, you should let your vet know what happened and monitor your pooch for signs of trouble.

How Much Apple Core is Toxic to Dogs?

Apple seeds indeed contain a substance called amygdalin. When this compound is digested, it converts to hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. The good news is that the amount of cyanide in apple seeds is minuscule. 

On average, an apple seed contains about 0.6 mg cyanide /gm. For most animals, including dogs, the lethal dose of cyanide is 2 mg cyanide/kg body weight. That means it would take about 12 apple cores for a 4 lb Chihuahua to ingest a toxic dose. If your dog eats an apple core or a few seeds, you probably won’t need to worry about poisoning.

Of course, eating an apple core can still be problematic. The fibrous content can get stuck in your dog’s throat and cause choking or lodge in the intestines creating an obstruction. It’s important to observe your pup for a few days after you catch him swallowing an apple core.

Apple seeds contain trace amounts of a substance that converts to cyanide when it undergoes digestion. The amount present in a single seed or core is generally not enough to be toxic to your dog. However, the core can still cause choking or obstruction in your dog. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats an Apple Core?

If your dog eats an apple core, the first thing is to not panic unless you think he’s choking(we’ll discuss signs later). Follow these steps:

  • Assess the situation and try to determine how much your pooch ingested
  • Check your dog’s mouth to make sure there aren’t any pieces stuck in the throat.
  • Remove any remaining pieces of apple or core from your dog’s reach
  • Contact your veterinarian and let him know what happened
  • Observe your dog for signs of digestive upset or blockage

If your dog eats an apple core and isn’t choking, don’t panic. Determine how much your dog may have eaten and check his mouth. Remove any remaining pieces from the area and notify your vet. 

When Should I Take My Dog To the Vet?

If your dog shows signs of respiratory distress or choking after eating an apple core, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinarian. These situations indicate an emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention. Watch for symptoms like

  • Pawing at the face
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gagging 
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Excessive drooling

If your dog swallows an apple core and it makes it past the throat, you should continue to observe him for the next several hours. Take your pup to the clinic if you notice later symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Refusal to eat
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

When you see these symptoms, there’s a good chance the apple core is causing a complete or partial obstruction. Your dog will require veterinary care.

Take your dog to the vet immediately if you see any signs of choking or respiratory difficulty. If the apple core gets to the stomach, watch for signs of obstruction. These symptoms may take several hours to develop but also require veterinary care.

What If My Dog Ate a Lot of Apple Core But Seems Fine?

Chances are that your dog will not be able to ingest enough apple core to suffer cyanide poisoning. However, if he gulps an entire apple core(or a few of them), the fibrous material could get stuck in his throat or digestive tract. While signs of choking are immediately apparent, signs of obstruction can take several hours to surface. Therefore, you should notify your vet that your dog swallowed an apple core and observe your dog for the next few days for signs of trouble.

Your dog probably won’t ingest enough apple core for cyanide poisoning, but the fibrous material can cause choking or obstructions. Signs of an obstruction may take several hours to develop, so continue to observe your pup for a few days after he eats apple core.

Signs That My Dog Got Cyanide Poisoning

Although it’s highly unlikely that your dog will suffer from cyanide poisoning when he eats apple cores, you should know the signs:

  • Rapid breathing/dyspnea
  • Dark red gums/mucous membranes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive salivation
  • Seizures
  • Shock 
  • Loss of consciousness

Cyanide interrupts the exchange of oxygen to body tissues and creates a medical emergency. Usually, the dose will not be large enough to cause this level of crisis, but the toxins can make your dog ill. You may notice signs of digestive upset including vomiting and diarrhea.

Dogs won’t usually eat enough apple core for a toxic dose, but be aware of the signs. In smaller quantities, the poison can make your dog ill with digestive symptoms.

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat Apple Cores?

The fibrous material in an apple core makes it difficult to chew into smaller pieces. If your dog wolfs down a large chunk, it can be large enough to lodge in the throat and block the airway. As a result, your pooch may gag, paw at his face, or become very restless. Choking is a life-threatening emergency. 

When pieces of apple core make it to the stomach, the digestive system can’t digest the fibrous content. Chunks may collect together and create a congealed bolus. If the mass enters the intestines, it can lodge in the passageway.The bolus puts pressure on the tissues and causes tissue damage. Meanwhile, digested food cannot get past the blockage. Without veterinary intervention, your dog could die.

Apple cores are made of fibrous material that’s hard to chew and digest. If dogs wallow larger pieces of an apple core, they can lodge in the throat or intestines creating life-threatening emergencies.

Why Are Apple Cores Dangerous to Dogs?

The seeds found in apple cores contain trace elements of a compound that converts to cyanide, but that’s not the biggest risk for your dog. The poison can make your pooch sick, but it usually won’t kill him. The fibrous content of apple cores is hard and can easily lodge in your dog’s throat causing choking. Because the material isn’t digestible, it won’t break down in the stomach. As a result, a bolus of apple core fiber can block the digestive tract creating an obstruction.

Seeds in apple cores contain trace amounts of cyanide, but it’s the fibrous material that causes a greater risk to your dog. The non-digestible materials may lodge in the throat causing your dog to choke or get stuck in the intestines and create an obstruction.

How Will My Vet Treat My Dog After He Eats Apple Core?

If your dog eats apple core and shows signs of trouble, your veterinarian will examine your pooch and run appropriate diagnostic tests. Treatment will depend on his findings.

For choking, your vet will:

  • Give oxygen therapy if needed 
  • Sedate your dog
  • Attempt to safely remove the apple core

Surgical treatment  is necessary for dogs that develop an intestinal obstruction. In addition to removing the blockage, your vet will provide supportive care including: 

  • fluid therapy 
  • Painkillers
  • anti-inflammatory medicines

If your dog suffers symptoms of cyanide sickness, your veterinarain may treat him with:

  • Anti-emetic drugs
  • IV fluids
  • Antacids
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Sodium thiosulfate to block the body’s production of cyanide
  • Amyl nitrate/sodium nitrate antidotes

How your veterinarian treats your dog will depend on the effects of the Apple core. Options include administering IV fluids, treating with anti-nausea medications, and administering antibiotics.Dogs with obstructions usually require surgery. If your dog shows effects of cyanide, your veterinarian may also treat with antidotes and other supportive care.

How Long Will it Take My Dog to Recover?

The recovery period depends on the apple core’s impact. It usually takes dogs a few days to recover from a choking incident. However, the recovery period following surgery for an obstruction usually lasts a few weeks or longer. If dogs suffer symptoms of cyanide poisoning and recieve prompt treatment, they urually recover in a few days.

The recovery period for your dog varies depending on how the apple core affects him. Choking and cyanide toxicity patients can recover in a few days while dogs requiring surgery need a few weeks to recover. 

The Final Woof

Apple seeds contain trace levels of a sustance that converts to cyanide. Fortunately, the dose is so low it’s not likely to poison your dog. The problem is that apple cores are very fibrous, so they’re hard to chew and digest. When your pooch swallows pieces of apple core, they can cause choking or obstructions. While you don’t have to rush your pooch to the emergency clinic if he eats an apple core, you should notify your veterinarian and observe your dog for the next few days.

When apple core lodges in the throat, it blocks the airway and causes choking. If the material makes it to the digestive system, it can lodge in the intestines creating a blockage. Your veterinarian will treat your dog based on his symptoms. The recovery period varies between a few days and a few weeks depending on the effects of the apple core.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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