Apples are more than alright for your Boxer to eat.
Cheap and readily available, apples are packed with health benefits for your Boxer, offering anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and gut balancing effects.
Apple skin is a plentiful source of the plant compound quercetin — called “Nature’s Benadryl” on account of its antihistamine properties.
This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. I encourage readers to see my full disclaimer here.
Nutritional Content Of Apples
One medium apple supplies 95 calories, comprised of:
- 25g carbohydrate
- 19g sugar
- 1g protein
- 0g fat
Apples are not about to replace raw meat, bones and offal as the mainstay of your dog’s diet.
But apples offer important vitamins, minerals and other substances with health-promoting power.
Health Benefits Of Apples For Boxers
- phytochemicals (plant compounds) like quercetin
- vitamins A and C
- fiber like pectin
- antioxidants including polyphenols
Apple, particularly the skin, are rich in a substance called quercetin.
You may have heard of it because it’s a plant pigment or flavonoid that is sold as a supplement because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Quercetin is essentially a naturally-occurring antihistamine that can calm inflammation, reducing redness and irritation.
Some refer to it as “Nature’s Benadryl” for this reason. Minus the toxicity!
(Of course you’ll also want to identify and remove the cause of the irritation and make sure you’re feeding a fresh, biologically-appropriate canine diet.)
A regular sized apple can contain almost 9mg of quercetin.
Vitamins A and C
Vitamin A supports eyesight, skin and coat health
Vitamin C helps the body rid itself of damaged cells, helping to prevent disease.
Pectin comprises half the fiber in an apple.
As a prebiotic, pectin is fermented in the colon by beneficial bacteria, creating short chain fatty acids.
These are thought to play a role in preventing chronic diseases including cancers and bowel disorders.
Along with phytochemicals, the fiber in apples has an antioxidant effect believed to protect DNA from oxidative damage, which is a precursor to cancer.
Apples provide a plentiful source of micronutrients called polyphenols that can:
- detoxify the liver
- protect against degenerative disease
- promote a balanced gut biome
- counteract chronic inflammation
Are Apple Seeds Dangerous For Boxer Dogs?
There is a fear amongst some dog owners that apple seeds pose a hazard to dogs.
This arises from the fact that apple sees contain a substance called amygalin, which converts into hydrogen cyanide when crushed or chewed.
If you look up apples on the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control website, you’ll find the stems, leaves and seeds described as “toxic to dogs” on account of the cyanide.
It’s true that cyanide is poisonous to dogs — and to humans, for that matter.
But do you see us avoiding apples?
The amount of cyanide your dog could theoretically ingest if he chewed the seeds in an apple core is so minuscule as to pose no danger.
A dog the size of a Boxer would have to not just swallow but actively chew up quite a few apple seeds in order to ingest enough cyanide to be poisoned.
Ever see your Boxer carefully chew every bite?
Even if your Boxer ate a whole apple, seeds and all, it’s very unlikely he’d be chewing them to release the cyanide.
In most cases, seeds pass through the canine digestive tract intact.
You will see them in the poop.
This is by design.
After all, if apples poisoned the animals that ate them, their seeds wouldn’t be distributed far and wide in the droppings of those animals, able to sprout and grow into new apple trees.
So, don’t panic if your Boxer swallows a few apple seeds.
If you’re at all worried, just remove the core before feeding apple.
In any case, it’s best to cut up an apple before feeding, since the size and shape can make it a choking hazard … the same way balls that are too small can get stuck in a dog’s throat.
Then again, if dogs encountered apples in the wild, they would be gnawing on them whole — so it’s probably fine.
Farm dogs regularly help themselves to apples dropped on the orchard floor.
As with bones, go for large apples that your Boxer has to bite pieces off rather than small ones he might be tempted to swallow holus bolus.
(More on how to safely feed apples later.)
Is Apple Skin Safe For Boxers?
Apple skin is not only safe but beneficial for Boxer dogs to consume.
As explained earlier, the skin contains a higher concentration of the flavonoid quercetin than apple flesh, so you want to keep it on.
There is one risk associated with apple skin: pesticide residues.
Apples consistently rate as one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits.
Washing doesn’t completely solve the problem, since pesticides used in cultivating produce don’t all stay on the outside.
Pesticides are incorporated into the cells of the fruit itself.
So, buy organically grown apples for your Boxer if you possibly can.
Is It Safe For Boxer Puppies To Eat Apples?
Boxer puppies can eat apples, the same way adult dogs can.
Wild canines start pups on fruit early.
In August 2017, researchers with the Voyageurs Wolf Project studying gray wolves in Northern Minnesota observed an adult regurgitating blueberries for a group of five wolf pups.
How Much Apple Can I Give My Boxer Dog?
Always introduce a new food a little at a time.
Try just one slice the first day.
If your pup shows no ill effects, you can increase to two slices next time and so on.
An adult Boxer could build up to eating several apples in one sitting.
If a food ever comes through your Boxer’s gastrointestinal tract incompletely digested — in other words, if apple is recognizable as apple in the poop — avoid it for now and try again in another month or so.
Dogs can sometimes be malabsorbed, a condition which means they have trouble processing certain foods.
If your Boxer’s gut has some healing to do (and most pet dog’s GI tracts have a level of damage from drugs like antibiotics, and prednisone etc) then make sure you’re feeding a proper raw meaty bone-based diet.
Consider introducing some fast days to provide digestive rest and support healing.
Check out the article by integrative veterinarian Dr Karen Becker in the references to understand how intermittent fasting promotes health in wild dogs and can do the same for your Boxer.
How To Safely Feed Apples To Your Boxer
When feeding apple to your Boxer:
- buy organic apples to minimize pesticide residues
- cut up the apple to avoid risk of choking
- feed apple (and all fruit) separately to meat, not combined
Fruit digests much faster than meat and its transit through the digestive tract will be improperly delayed if fed at the same time as meat, compromising digestion and producing digestive discomfort.
This is accounted for in the way wild dogs consume fruit — always separately to meat, never in the same sitting.
Are Red Or Green Apples Better For Boxers?
All varieties of apple are suitable for dogs, as are pears and apple-pear hybrids like nashis.
Green apples are less sweet than red ones.
Why Should A Carnivore Eat Fruit?
Unlike cats, dogs aren’t actually strict or “obligate” carnivores.
Dogs are actually “facultative” carnivores.
This means that meat is their primary food, but they can sustain themselves on a secondary food when prey is scarce.
For dogs this secondary food is fruit.
So, by feeding your dog fruit you are emulating a natural canine diet, with all its beneficial effects on health — only some of which have been so far grasped by science.
Apples are 86 per cent water.
The high water content of fruit hydrates your Boxer’s body.
Hydration helps flush the lymphatic system, pushing out wastes and supporting detoxification.
Fruit is a particularly great food for Boxers on hot days, replacing fluid lost via panting.
It’s Fat Free
Apple contains zero fat, as does most fruit.
By breaking up your Boxer’s meat meals with some fruit meals you lower the overall fat content of the diet.
Fat, in the right amounts, is necessary and good for dogs.
But most pet dogs consume diets unnaturally high in fat, compared to a natural canine diet.
Dogs evolved eating lean game meats, whereas pet dogs are fed on factory-farmed meats that are deliberately fattened for slaughter.
To make matters worse, commercial dog food manufacturers don’t remove the fat.
It’s not profitable to do so, so they just grind it all in and then engage in deceptive labelling practices to conceal from owners the true fat content.
When dog food labels express fat content by weight, instead of by calorie, it produces a much lower number.
Fat overconsumption doesn’t pose to dogs the cholesterol risk it does in humans.
But it does produce disease over time.
This is because consuming more fat that the body requires creates an excess of metabolic waste.
Excreting this overburden of waste taxes the body, sapping vitality.
What can’t be excreted accumulates, creating a toxic load that eventually results in an outbreak of symptoms.
Signs of fat overconsumption include:
- itchiness, and
- paw gnawing.
“Allergies” so rampant in the modern pet dog population often boil down to misdiagnosed chronic fat overconsumption.
Boxers are, unfortunately, well represented among the ranks of these dogs.
Try reducing your dog’s fat intake by serving some fruit-only meals and observe the dissipation of allergy-like symptoms.
Isn’t Sugar Bad For Dogs?
There is a widespread but mistaken belief that eating fruit will exacerbate the problems often summed up as “yeasty dog”.
“Sugar feeds yeast”, you will hear misinformed owners say in opposition of fruit feeding.
While this might be true on one level, this is not how it works in the body.
Sugar consumed in whole foods like fruit is not the enemy.
Fat overconsumption, via the process described earlier of excess metabolic waste creation, is what produces symptoms often blamed on “yeast” — not sugar.
If your Boxer has:
- yeast overgrowth causing irritation or “acne” on his chin
- paws that smell like corn chips, or
- gunky ears
.. feeding fruit including apples can be part of the solution.
These symptoms indicate the body has resorted to using the skin as a safety release valve to rapidly expel wastes that exceed the capacity of the primary eliminative organs (kidneys and bowels) to process.
Removal of cause means lowering fat consumption.
Remember, fruit must be fed separately to meat.
Otherwise you are just creating inefficient digestion of both the meat and the fruit, which will produce unnecessary waste and add to your Boxer’s toxic load.
There are plenty of reasons to feed apples to your Boxer, including the anti-inflammatory effects of the flavonoid quercetin.
Make sure you feed the skin of the apple, as that contains most of the goodness.
If your Boxer loves apples, try these other fruits also suitable for dogs:
Apples, The Nutrition Source, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Berry Important? Wolf Provisions Pups with Berries in Northern Minnesota, Austin T Homkes et al, Wildlife Society Bulletin, 11 February 2020
Can My Dog Eat Apples? Benefits of Feeding Them To Your Dog, Julia Henriques, Dogs Naturally Magazine, November 20 2020
A Way of Life for Wild Canines, This Could Be a Godsend for Your Dog, Dr Karen Becker, Mercola Healthy Pets, May 27 2018
2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, Environmental Working Group, March 25 2020