crab apple tree

Crab apples are tiny, tart apples about 2–4 inches in size. You may have a crab apple tree in your yard or in your neighborhood and notice these tiny apples on the ground around it. If your dog seems interested in these apples, you might be wondering if it’s okay if they eat one. After all, other apples are healthy snacks for humans and can also be offered to dogs as treats.

Are crab apples poisonous to dogs? The answer is yes and no. While crab apples are not toxic for dogs, you should keep your dog away from any crab apples that they find on the ground.

But My Dog Loves Apples!

You may often give your dog pieces of apples as special treats or just to share part of your snack with them. This is fine because dogs can eat apples. They contain antioxidants and vitamins A and C, and they are a healthy source of fiber. Since apples are low in fat, dogs can snack on pieces of an apple instead of their regular treats to save a few calories. Apples are high in natural sugar, though, so they should only be fed to your dog in moderation.

Crab apples offer nearly the same benefits as other apples and can also be safely fed to your dog. However, you shouldn’t give your dog a whole apple to eat. Apples are only safe if the dog is eating the flesh and skin of the fruit. Dogs should not eat the stem, core, or seeds.

Since crab apples are so small, your dog can easily eat the entire fruit in a couple of bites, swallowing the stems, leaves, and seeds. If you want to give crab apples to your dog, you should wash them first to remove any dirt or pesticides. Next, cut them into pieces to only offer your dog the flesh and skin. If your dog finds an entire crab apple and eats it, they could get sick.

crab apples
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Crab Apple Poisoning

A crab apple has stems, leaves, and seeds that can be toxic to dogs because they contain a compound that when eaten, turns into cyanide in the body.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include:

  • Brick-red mucus membranes
  • Labored breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Panting
  • Shock

Eating one or two apple seeds shouldn’t cause severe illness, but eating multiple whole crab apples can be dangerous for dogs. If your dog is outside or you’re taking a walk near a crab apple tree, keep them away from the fallen fruit.

If your dog has eaten crab apples, contact your vet to let them know what happened. Your vet may want to see the dog to make sure they’re not experiencing signs of poisoning. They may also advise you to watch for symptoms. If you notice any symptoms developing, don’t hesitate to bring your dog to the vet right away for treatment.


Apples are healthy treats for dogs, as long as they don’t eat the stems, leaves, core, or seeds. The same is true for crab apples. You can feed crab apples to your dog as long as you carefully remove these parts and only feed them the flesh and skin. If your dog eats multiple crab apples, contact your vet, and watch for symptoms of cyanide poisoning.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay