It’s hard not to love the creamy, green goodness of avocado. But many pet owners have questions about whether this popular fruit (yes - avocado is a fruit!) is safe for their four-legged companions.
In this post, you’ll discover the truth about avocado and dogs, and get to the bottom of both the benefits and risks of this food for your dog.
Is It Okay To Give Dogs Avocado?
The answer to the question “can dogs eat avocado” is a bit complicated. Avocado itself isn’t toxic to dogs, but it does contain persin, a substance that can cause digestive upset in some dogs.
Given all of the above, you’ll find very divisive opinions on feeding dogs avocado. Some people believe that given the risk of persin, dogs should never be fed avocado.
Persin, which is a fungicidal toxin, is found in the fruit, leaves, and bark of the avocado plant, so all parts of the avocado are potentially toxic to dogs. However, the flesh of the avocado is generally considered safe for most dogs to eat in small amounts, as avocado flesh contains very little persin.
Avocado Benefits For Dogs
While avocado should be given in moderation, it does have some health benefits for dogs.
Avocado is a nutritional powerhouse. The fruit is a rich source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamins E and K, potassium, and monounsaturated fatty acids. These nutrients can help support your dog's overall health, improve skin and coat health, and support heart health.
Avocados are also a good source of antioxidants, compounds that help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and age-related disorders.
Lastly, avocados are a rich source of polyphenols, which are plant compounds that also have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols are believed to help prevent cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
In moderation, avocados can help protect your dog against cellular damage and play a role in maintaining good health.
Avocado Poisoning In Dogs | Symptoms Of Overfeeding Avocado
Persin sensitivity, and the risk of avocado poisoning in dogs, varies from dog to dog. Some dogs are not sensitive at all, while for others persin toxicity can be a real threat. You’ll learn some of the signs of avocado poisoning in dogs and persin toxicity below.
Vomiting And Diarrhea
Some dogs may just not stomach avocado very well. There’s always some risk of digestive upset when introducing any new food to your dog. However, in this case, it’s also possible that the persin in avocado upset your dog’s stomach.
Vomiting and diarrhea are natural ways to purge potentially harmful substances from the body… so your dog may be free of his persin problem after this symptom. But keep an eye on him for these other, more serious symptoms.
The persin found in avocados can also cause abdominal pain in dogs. Dogs have different levels of sensitivity to persin. Some dogs are not sensitive at all, other dogs may only experience mild discomfort, while others may experience more severe symptoms that require veterinary treatment.
Some signs of abdominal pain in dogs are strange posture, loss of appetite, and restlessness. Your dog’s belly may also be tender to the touch.
Persin can inflame the pancreas, an important organ that produces digestive enzymes and hormones. In severe cases, the persin in avocados can lead to pancreatitis, which is potentially life-threatening. Signs of pancreatitis in dogs include increased breathing or heart rate, weakness, lethargy, and dehydration.
Severe Persin Poisoning
In large amounts, persin can even cause difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation in the chest and abdomen, and death. If your dog has eaten avocado and is displaying any of these symptoms, get veterinary help immediately.
How Much Avocado Will Kill A Dog?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this. The amount of avocado that it takes to kill a dog varies based on persin sensitivity, the size and weight of the dog, etc.
This is why it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving your dog large amounts of avocado. A small amount of avocado flesh as a treat every once in a while is generally considered safe.
How To Feed Your Dog Avocado
Only feed your dog the flesh of the avocado. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Throw the pit and skin out immediately to ensure your dog doesn’t eat the these parts, which pose choking hazards and are higher in persin.
Next, cut the avocado flesh into bite sized pieces. Give your dog just a few pieces with his food. If your dog develops any of the above symptoms, he may not tolerate avocado or may be sensitive to persin, and you should avoid feeding him avocado in the future.
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Here are a few other common questions we get from dog owners wondering “can dogs eat avocado?” …
Can Dogs Eat Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts, and is even included in some dog foods. However, it’s pure fat so should be given in moderation. Overfeeding avocado oil can lead to digestive upset, weight gain, and other health problems.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado Skin?
The skin of the avocado is tough and can be difficult for dogs to digest, leading to blockages or other digestive problems. You should not feed your dog avocado skin.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado Pits?
Avocado pits contain persin, a substance that can cause digestive upset in some dogs. They are also a choking hazard and can cause blockages in the digestive system. You should not feed your dog avocado pits.