Are Crab Apples Poisonous To Dogs?

These tiny tart apples can be healthy treats for dogs if adequately prepared. Although the flesh is edible, the stems, leaves, and pips can be harmful to dogs when consumed in large quantities.

When ingested, the chemicals found in these parts are converted into cyanide. Autumn is the most dangerous season for these chemicals because they are concentrated in leaves and fruit.

So, are crab apples poisonous for dogs? The short answer to this question is yes. Dogs shouldn’t eat crab apples because they can cause severe poisoning and even death. Crab apples are rich in the chemical cyanogenic glycoside, which is also known as cyanide. It can be fatal to your four-legged friend if ingested in high enough amounts.

This article will explain what makes crab apples poisonous for dogs, the symptoms, how to identify crab apples, and what to do if your dog ingests one.

How to Identify a Crab Apple

Knowing how to identify dangerous plants is half of the battle if you want your dog to be safe. Once you know what to look for to recognize crab apples, it is easy to spot them.

  • Crab apple trees can reach 15-30 feet in height.
  • The spring flowers of the tree are either bright Fuschia or white.
  • The crab apple tree’s leaves are green in spring and then turn a darker green in summer. In autumn, they’ll turn red, orange or purple
  • The fruit is smaller than traditional apples and can range between 1/4 inch to 2 inches in size.
  • The leaves are round in shape with pointed ends and serrated edges.
  • This fruit looks almost like a large Cherry, as it grows on long stems instead of traditional apples’ short stems.
  • Similar to regular apples, crab apples can change their colors as they mature. They range from light green to deep red.

What Makes Crab Apples Poisonous for Dogs?

The flesh of the crab apples is safe for your dog and you. The crab apple fruit should be skinned, cored, and deseeded.

Cyanogenic glycoside is produced by all types of apple trees, including crab apples. It is a chemical that can be metabolized as cyanide in humans and dogs when it is eaten and is highly toxic to dogs.

You must ensure that your dog does not get into the crab apple tree’s parts. Don’t let them play with its branches. The tree’s fruit, stem, and seeds contain cyanogenic glycoside.

Even though a small amount of crab apple won’t cause significant stomach upset or vomiting, it is essential to consult a veterinarian.  Your dog may experience severe symptoms if they eat too many crab apples, which could lead to death or coma.

As the crab apples ripen, the amount of cyanogenic glycoside in them is highest in autumn. Pet owners need to be especially careful during this time.


Cyanide Poisoning in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms

Even with careful supervision, your dog could ingest small pieces of crab apples without you even realizing it. This is especially true if there are crab apple trees in your yard. It is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning in your pet so that they can receive treatment as soon as possible.

You may assume that your dog is fine or just having a stomachache that you don’t know about. This can be dangerous as cyanide poisoning could become fatal if you wait too long.

The following are common symptoms of cyanide poisoning for dogs:

  • Bright red lips, gums, and tongue
  • You may experience heavy panting or other symptoms of difficulty in your breathing.
  • Diarrhea
  • A decreased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Death

How to Help your Dog Eat a Crab Apple

Prevention is always the best treatment. Keep your pets away from potentially toxic substances or medications.

You can check our comprehensive list of toxic plants for dogs or download the ASPCA mobile app to help you keep your pet safe wherever you are.

If your dog eats crab apples or other foods containing cyanogenic glycoside, it is crucial to act quickly. You can save your dog’s life by knowing the signs and taking action quickly.

  1. Watch your dog closely after the incident. You can check and ensure your dog doesn’t ingest the leaves or fruit. Keep an eye on them for several hours to determine if they have any symptoms. If your dog is experiencing symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
  2. Contact your veterinarian. Even if your pet is showing mild symptoms, it’s worth taking them to a professional for treatment. Your vet can help stabilize your dog and assess the damage quickly.
  3. It will help if you are prepared to answer any questions about your dog’s poisoning. This information will help determine the best treatment. Your vet should know your dog’s breed, age, weight, and sex. It is important to clearly describe all symptoms to your vet, including what the dog ate and how long ago it was since the toxic substance was ingested.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep my dog from eating the crab apple trees in my yard?

It’s vital to be vigilant if there is a crab apple tree on your property, in your dog’s favorite park, or on your regular route. Although you can train your dog not to approach the tree, it may be difficult and time-consuming. If you have a tree on your property, fence it off. Pick up fallen fruit regularly and keep it away from your dog.

What are some other foods and plants that contain cyanogenic glycosides?

Other types of apples can also contain cyanogenic glycoside, such as the ones you buy at your local grocery store. Other fruits, such as cherries, plums, and pears, are also toxic for dogs, including apricots and peaches.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Human Food? The Answers in 2022


If appropriately prepared, crab apples can be a delicious snack. However, sharing them with your four-legged friend is dangerous. Dogs are susceptible to the crab apple’s seeds, leaves, and branches. It is best to keep your dog away from the fruit.

You should be able to recognize crab apples and other poisonous plants and know the symptoms of poisoning for your dog. Also, make sure you have a plan in case of an emergency.

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