What happens if a dog eats one apple seed?

Quick Answer

A single apple seed is unlikely to cause any harm to a dog. Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, but the dose from eating just one seed is too small to be dangerous. Larger amounts of apple seeds or chewing seeds can potentially cause cyanide poisoning, so dogs should not be allowed to eat apple cores or ingest significant quantities of seeds. Minor symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea could occur from a single seed, but serious toxicity is very unlikely.

Can Apple Seeds Poison Dogs?

Apple seeds contain a plant compound called amygdalin, which can break down into hydrogen cyanide when ingested. Cyanide is highly toxic and can potentially be fatal in large doses. However, the amount of cyanide in an individual apple seed is very small. Swallowing one or two seeds whole is not likely to cause any adverse effects in most dogs.

Chewing the seeds thoroughly or eating a large number of seeds could result in the release of higher concentrations of cyanide, which can potentially be dangerous. The exact toxic dose depends on the size of the dog. Studies have found that it takes approximately 200mg of cyanide per kg of body weight to cause lethal poisoning in dogs. This means a 20kg dog would have to eat approximately 80 apple seeds to receive a fatal dose.

So while apple seeds do contain cyanide, the amount in a single seed is too small to cause toxicity problems for dogs when ingested whole. Potential issues arise when dogs bite into and crush seeds, which enables more amygdalin to convert to cyanide. Consuming intact seeds may cause minor stomach upset in sensitive dogs, but is unlikely to be seriously harmful.

Signs of Apple Seed Poisoning in Dogs

If a dog did manage to ingest enough apple seeds to cause cyanide toxicity, symptoms would start to appear within 15-60 minutes. Warning signs include:

– Excessive drooling/foaming at the mouth
– Dilated pupils
– Respiratory distress
– Red gums
– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Loss of consciousness
– Seizures

Cyanide prevents cells from utilizing oxygen properly. As oxygen deprivation occurs, the dog’s breathing and heart rate will increase, gums will become brick red, and the dog may collapse into a coma. Death usually occurs from respiratory failure.

However, with just one or a couple of seeds, poisoning is extremely unlikely. Mild signs like vomiting or diarrhea may potentially be seen, but serious toxicity would require the ingestion of many more seeds.

What to do if Your Dog Eats Apple Seeds

If your dog eats an apple core or chews up a large number of seeds, the first thing you should do is check for signs of toxicity. Look for increased drooling, breathing issues, dilated pupils, red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or collapse. If you observe any of these symptoms, bring your dog to the vet immediately.

If your dog ate just one or two seeds whole and is not showing any concerning clinical signs, you can most likely just monitor at home. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, or behavior changes over the next several hours.

It’s generally not necessary to induce vomiting after ingestion of a small number of intact seeds. Attempting to make the dog vomit runs the risk of causing more damage if seeds become lodged in the esophagus on the way back up.

You can call animal poison control or your vet for further advice based on the exact circumstances and your dog’s size. But in most cases involving just 1-2 seeds, monitoring and waiting for any symptoms to manifest is appropriate.

How to Prevent Apple Seed Poisoning

The best way to avoid any concerns is to be diligent about keeping apple cores and fallen apples picked up so dogs don’t have the opportunity to ingest large quantities of seeds. It’s also smart to avoid giving dogs apples whole and opt for apple slices instead to reduce choking hazards.

You can also core or seed apples before feeding to remove any seeds present. If you do feed whole apples, closely supervise your dog while they are eating and remove the core when they are finished.

While occasional apple seeds passed in stool generally don’t pose much risk, make sure your dog is not regularly eating apples whole and passing many partially digested seeds, as this could potentially lead to toxicity over time.

Overall, be mindful and take reasonable precautions, but don’t panic if your dog accidentally eats a seed or two. In most cases, no intervention is required and your dog will be just fine. Only larger quantities of seeds warrant true concern and prompt veterinary treatment.

Why Apple Seeds are Potentially Harmful

Apple seeds contain a compound called amygdalin, which is a naturally occurring cyanide and sugar compound found in some fruits and vegetables. When ingested, the digestive enzymes of the stomach can breakdown amygdalin into hydrogen cyanide, which is a potentially deadly poison.

Cyanide prevents cells from being able to use oxygen, causing hypoxia throughout the body as oxygen delivery to tissues is impaired. The buildup of cyanide can be rapidly fatal if a large dose is consumed.

While amygdalin is found throughout apple seeds, the outer seed coating prevents the cyanide from being released in most circumstances when seeds pass through the digestive tract whole. This makes the seeds relatively safe when swallowed intact.

However, if the seed coating is damaged from chewing or biting, the amygdalin is more easily broken down into cyanide, increasing toxicity risk. Even when intact, some minimal absorption of cyanide may occur, which could potentially cause mild nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in smaller dogs.

So apple seeds pose more of a risk when chewed, crushed or damaged, allowing larger amounts of the toxic compounds to be released and absorbed. Thetakeaway is that while a few seeds may cause minor stomach upset, cyanide poisoning is only likely with consumption of a high volume of seeds.

Are Apple Seeds as Dangerous as Cherry Pits?

Cherry pits contain the same compound, amygdalin, that is found in apple seeds. Both apple and cherry seeds can produce cyanide when metabolized. However, there are some important differences between the two:

– **Concentration of amygdalin** – Cherry pits contain significantly higher concentrations of amygdalin compared to apple seeds. Gram for gram, cherry pits can produce much higher amounts of cyanide.

– **Size** – Cherry pits tend to be significantly larger than most apple seeds. So it takes fewer cherry pits to produce toxic amounts of cyanide.

– **Seed structure** – Apple seeds have a thicker, more robust outer coating than cherry pits, making it more difficult for the inner components to be digested.

So while both contain compounds that can break down into cyanide, cherry pits are considered decidedly more dangerous than apple seeds.

Studies have shown the cyanide dose in 1 cherry pit can be equivalent to around 40 apple seeds. So it takes far fewer cherry pits to reach toxic thresholds in dogs. Like apple seeds, ingestion of a single cherry pit is unlikely to cause poisoning in dogs, but only a few pits could quickly become deadly, whereas far more apple seeds would need to be consumed to reach toxic levels.

Are Small Dogs More at Risk of Apple Seed Poisoning?

Yes, smaller dogs are generally more susceptible to toxicity from apple seeds than larger canines. Here’s why:

– **Smaller body size** – The toxic cyanide dosage from apple seeds is usually around 200 mg per kg of body weight. Smaller dogs need far less cyanide to reach poisonous blood concentrations.

– **Faster metabolism** – Small breeds tend to have faster metabolic rates, so their bodies may break down amygdalin quicker and release cyanide faster.

– **Increased risk of choking** – Due to their smaller throat diameter, apple seeds pose more of a choking hazard for smaller dog breeds. Obstructed airways can increase toxicity.

– **Less stomach acid** – Some studies suggest smaller dogs may have less stomach acid, which allows more amygdalin to pass intact into the intestines and get absorbed into the bloodstream before breaking down.

So a seed dose that may cause only minor GI upset in a large dog could potentially be more hazardous for a smaller dog. That said, ingestion of 1-2 seeds is still unlikely to be fatal even in a small dog. But owners of small breeds should be extra vigilant about keeping apple seeds away from their pets.

What Part of the Apple is Poisonous to Dogs?

The seeds are the only part of the apple that can potentially poison dogs. The apple flesh is non-toxic and most dogs can eat small slices with no issues. However, apple slices still pose a choking risk, especially for smaller dogs, so should always be fed carefully.

Avoid letting dogs eat whole apples, which pose both choking and intestinal blockage dangers. The core and stem parts are also risky due to the presence of seeds and potential for lodging in the throat. But the apples themselves contain no compounds toxic to dogs – all apple toxicity stems from the seeds alone.

So feel free to feed your dog occasional thin apple slices for a tasty snack or treat, but always core and seed apples first to remove any parts that could be hazardous if swallowed. Never let your dog nibble on or ingest apple cores or seeds. And monitor your dog closely while eating apple treats to prevent choking. With these precautions, apples can be occasionally enjoyed safely.

How Many Apple Seeds Would it Take to Kill a Dog?

The amount of apple seeds it would take to potentially kill a dog depends on the dog’s body weight. Some general guidelines:

– For a **small 10 lb dog** – it would take about **40-50 apple seeds** to cause lethal poisoning.

– For a **medium 50 lb dog** – more than **200 apple seeds** would be needed to receive a fatal dose.

– For a **larger 90 lb dog** – over **700 apple seeds** would likely be required for a toxic amount of cyanide.

Again, these are estimates, as the exact lethal dose depends on the dog. But it takes a fairly substantial amount of apple seeds before poisoning becomes a real risk. A few seeds may cause minor stomach upset, but are unlikely to be deadly, even for a smaller dog.

Significant cyanide toxicity requires eating a high volume of seeds that have been crushed or chewed. So preventing dogs from consuming apple cores or mass quantities of fallen apples and seeds is key to avoiding any potential toxicity. While apple seeds contain cyanide precursors, the amounts in a few seeds are too low to cause serious harm in most cases.


In most situations, if a dog accidentally eats an apple seed or two, it is unlikely to cause any major medical problems. While apple seeds do contain trace amounts of toxic cyanide compounds, the dose in a single seed is too small to be dangerously poisonous for dogs.

Minor stomach upset could potentially occur after eating one or two seeds, but serious toxicity would require ingestion of many more seeds and crushing them to release larger concentrations of cyanide. The greatest risks come from dogs chewing up and grinding seeds, thereby increasing cyanide absorption.

Preventing dogs from consuming whole apples and picking up fallen seeds is the best way to avoid any concerns. Additionally, prompt veterinary treatment may be needed if a dog eats a large quantity of seeds and shows signs of toxicity like breathing difficulties, seizures, collapse or red gums. By understanding the relatively low toxicity of a small amount of seeds and taking reasonable precautions, dog owners can avoid apple seed poisoning risks while still letting their dogs enjoy apples safely in moderation.

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