Q:

Are hedge apples poisonous to dogs?

A:

Hedge apples are not poisonous to any animal, including dogs and cats. Animals generally aren't interested in eating these types of apples anyway. Some livestock have reportedly died while eating hedge apples because the fruit becomes lodged in their throats, causing suffocation.

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Although hedge apples aren't poisonous to animals, they are effective as an insect repellent, particularly for spiders. Since hedge apples are a natural deterrent, homeowners don't have to worry about using them to repel insects. There are no harsh chemicals that are poisonous to dogs, as with other products. Hedge apples are typically easy to find in stores or farmers' markets. Cutting the apple in half makes it more effective.

The hedge apple takes many different names, including the Osage orange, the Maclura pomifera and bodark. It is often labeled incorrectly as a hedge ball. In some places in Texas, the hedge apple is called a horse apple.

This apple has one of the longest life spans of any fruit when it's kept in an air-conditioned environment. Some hedge apples can last for two to three months. During the early weeks, some hedge apples develop spots, but they are generally still good. They only need to be discarded once most of the green has disappeared.

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