Apples are generally safe for dogs in moderation, according to canine nutritionists; however, crab apples are toxic to canines. Find out why crabapples are harmful if your dog eats one and what you should do if it happens.
Can Dogs Eat Crab Apples?
Crab apple seeds, leaves, and stems contain minute amounts of cyanide and are therefore toxic to dogs.
The crab apple’s flesh is fine to eat and contains useful nutrients like fiber, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins A and C, but its seeds and stem are toxic due to their cyanide content.
If you don’t want your dog eating the dropped fruit, make sure it ate its dog food before letting it out into the yard.
Why Crab Apples Are Poisonous to Dogs
Cyanogenic glycoside is a compound found in crab apples that, when broken down, produces cyanide.
Apple seeds, apple stems, and many other parts of the apple tree, including its leaves, contain cyanide. These are the parts of a crab apple that contain cyanide and should not be consumed.
Cyanide poisoning can cause your pet to have an upset stomach, vomit, have trouble breathing, develop respiratory congestion, and experience changes in heart rate.
Respiratory failure and low blood oxygen levels are additional complications of cyanide poisoning. Furthermore, your pet may choke on the apple core.
Understand Apple Toxicity
Apple trees and crab apple trees are the same species. Both of these trees have cyanogenic glycosides, chemicals that can be broken down into cyanide, in their seeds.
However, the CDC notes that the edible parts of fruits that have been pitted and seeded contain very low amounts of these chemicals.
Most people avoid the center because of the cyanide in the seeds. Ingestion of apple seeds typically results in them being eliminated from the body unprocessed.
Crab apple seeds contain cyanide, but you’d have to eat a lot of them and chew them up before you felt any effects.
Symptoms of Apple Poisoning in Cats
In most cases, your cat will start showing signs of apple poisoning within 10 to 15 minutes after being exposed to the toxin.
Taking your cat to the vet as soon as you notice symptoms is crucial in avoiding shock or even death. You might notice some of these symptoms:
- Ocular dilation
- Gasping for air
- Breathing problems
- Sticky, brick-red gums
Causes of Apple Poisoning in Cats
Toxic effects from the apple tree or its fruit can be fatal. Cyanide is present in the leaves, seeds, and stems, making consumption extremely risky.
Once cyanide enters your cat’s body, it begins to prevent cells from absorbing oxygen.
All parts of the plant, including the leaves, seeds, and stems, contain cyanide, but the toxin is most concentrated in wilting leaves.
Diagnosis of Apple Poisoning in Cats
As soon as you notice your cat is showing signs of apple poisoning, contact your vet.
Tell your vet when you first noticed the symptoms and whether or not you have any idea what could be causing them. It’s important to let your vet know if your cat spends most of his time outdoors.
Cat owners should also examine the feline’s vomit for clues as to the source of the symptoms. If there are, you should take a sample to the vet.
The vet should be able to tell that poisoning is the problem just by looking at the signs. However, in order to confirm that it is indeed cyanide, the vet will need to collect a sample of the cat’s stomach fluids.
The vet will perform a procedure called trocarization to remove a sample of stomach fluid from your cat and analyze it for cyanide.
The vet will need to protect himself from possible cyanide exposure during this procedure. The vet will know for sure it’s cyanide poisoning once the fluid is taken out.
If you don’t know for sure that your cat ate apple leaves, seeds, or stems, he won’t be able to rule out the possibility of cyanide poisoning, which can be caused by a wide variety of plants.
Treatment of Apple Poisoning in Cats
The sooner your cat receives treatment after the diagnosis, the lower the risk of shock and early death. To begin, you can try giving your cat a nasal dose of amyl nitrate in case of an emergency.
The next step is for the vet to give sodium nitrite through an IV. The veterinarian may also recommend giving your cat sodium thiosulfate, either intravenously or orally.
During treatment, your cat’s condition may be unstable. This is why vets will likely put your cat on a respirator and keep a close eye on him or her.
Because sodium thiosulfate can cause low blood pressure and nausea and vomiting, a vet should be on hand at all times.
The veterinarian will monitor your cat’s condition for the next few hours, looking for any signs of improvement. Sodium nitrate can be given to your cat again if necessary.
Recovery of Apple Poisoning in Cats
The severity of your cat’s symptoms and how quickly he receives treatment will determine whether he recovers from apple poisoning.
The sooner he starts treatment, the better his chances of making a full recovery, as is the case with many other illnesses and injuries. If your cat is severely dehydrated, the veterinarian may need to keep him in order to stabilize his condition.
Otherwise, you’ll get your cat back. As he heals and regains his strength, make sure he is as comfortable as possible.
Find out from your vet what kinds of plants and fruits to avoid. If you have any of these plants or trees in your yard, it’s probably best to keep your cat inside.