Avocados have been in the spotlight for some time now as a delicious and nutritious health food for humans. But what about pets? Can dogs eat avocados? How about a dollop or two of guacamole? The answer is yes... and no. Let's talk about why.
Is Avocado Safe For Dogs?
Avocados can be given to dogs in small quantities and prepared appropriately. Eating avocado flesh is safe, but avocados as a whole present some dangers that dog parents should be aware of.
But some may even recommend avoiding feeding avocados to your dog altogether. And here is why...
The Health Benefits Of Avocado
Avocados are popular for a good reason. They are rich in nutrients that are both healthful to humans and dogs.
Avocados have a significant amount of vitamins C, B6, B3, E, and A. These vitamins strengthen bones, sharpen eyesight, support digestive health, create a shiny coat of fur, and improve skin health.
Avocados have a high-fat content. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also support a healthy silk coat. These fatty acids also help keep cartilage and other connective tissues supple.
Avocados contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium is necessary for healthy cellular function, so it really helps the entire body.
So as far as human foods to feed your dog are concerned, avocados are a healthy option! While dogs will never be vegetarian, they need some of the vitamins and minerals found mostly in plant foods. Many dog foods will contain some of these vitamins and minerals, but it doesn't hurt to supplement with some yummy avocado.
Feeding Avocado To Dog Concerns
The Persin Problem
The main problem with dogs eating avocado is a fungicidal toxin called persin. Persin can cause serious health problems, even death, in many different animals. Most veterinarians state that dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals, but they aren't 100% safe. It depends on how your dog's system handles it.
Persin is present in all parts of the avocado tree - the avocado fruit, pits, bark, and leaves. Most of the persin is concentrated in the leaves, skin, and pit, and there is a small amount in the avocado flesh. The main problem with avocado is that it's unknown exactly what amount of persin is lethal. When in large amounts, persin can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, various types of gastrointestinal upset, and myocardial damage. For the most part, avocado flesh is safe. It's when the dog eats the avocado pit and skin that the concern rises.
Avocado is high in fat, which isn't a bad thing - in small amounts. Large quantities of avocado pulp in your dog's diet can trigger an upset stomach, vomiting, or even pancreatitis.
Other Avocado Concerns
Avocado pits are an obvious choking hazard. It is a large pit and can easily get trapped in your dog's airways. Even if it goes down the right tube, it can clog up your dog's intestinal tract. So then, not only do you have an intestinal blockage, but you have a mildly toxic one at that. It can be hard to diagnose partial intestinal obstructions at home - look for a decreased appetite, vomiting, and a tendency to act lethargic. In short, keep the pits of avocados far away from your dog!
Many believe avocado should be avoided given to dogs for the above reasons.
Is Avocado Poisonous To Dogs?
Avocado peel, leaves, and pit contain a high concentration of persin that can potentially cause serious health issues. These should never be given to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Guacamole?
Guacamole, being made from avocado flesh, would generally not be much of a concern in small amounts. However, many guacamoles have other ingredients that should never be fed to dogs. For example, onions! Onions are a common ingredient in guacamole, but onions can cause serious problems with your dog's red blood cells and can even lead to kidney failure. You could make your own guacamole at home, specifically avoiding some of these toxic foods, but avoid any guacamole where you don't know exactly what the ingredients are.
Is Avocado Oil Safe For Dogs?
Large amounts of any oil shouldn't be given to your dog. Avocado oil has a high-fat content, which causes the digestive issues we've mentioned above. However, avocado oil isn't high in persin, so it's completely safe for dogs to consume small amounts.
Ways To Give Your Dog Avocado To Eat
Since you know now that eating avocado is perfectly safe for your dog, you might want to supplement your current dog food with little helpings of avocado. What's the best way to do this?
Raw avocado is just fine to offer. A serving size ranges from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, depending on the size of your dog. Keep this in mind because the temptation will be to give your dog half an avocado in slices. That's way too much avocado! Mashup one slice and make avocado toast or stir it into their regular serving of pet food.
Adding avocado to various dog food recipes will bump up the vitamin and fat content. You can either use mashed avocado in the dough or purchase an avocado meal to use as a dry ingredient.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Avocado?
If you frequently have avocados in your home, investing in a dog-proof garbage can may be wise. And if you have avocado present in your home, it may be best to ensure it's out of your dog's reach.
We don't suggest having avocado trees in your yard either. Contact your vet right away if your dog manages to eat a pit, potentially causing intestinal obstructions. It can require emergency surgery to treat. Also, contact your vet if your dog eats too much of any part of the avocado plant other than the flesh. Persin poisoning can be very serious.