Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

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While avocado contains monosaturated fat (the healthy form of fat) and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, certain components of it may not be safe for a dog. Although it may be tempting to give your dog some of this nutrient-dense food, knowing that your pup's system is different from yours may lead you to wonder, "Can dogs have avocado?" 

Although it’s technically non-toxic to dogs, the answer to "Is avocado good for dogs" is no. The only portion of the avocado that's safe for them is the mesocarp, which is the middle layer of a fruit, more specifically, the inner region. 

Avocados naturally have a fungicidal toxin, which is a component that keeps the fruit safe from fungi and its spores. Specifically, the avocado has persin in its leaves and skin to protect it, and this substance is known to lead to vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. 

It's also important to note that the seed of the fruit is a choking hazard. If your canine happens to eat the fruit whole and try to swallow the seed, it could become lodged in his or her windpipe.  

To learn more about when and how much avocado is safe for dogs, read on.

Only the flesh of avocado is safe for dogs to eat

How Much Avocado Can I Give My Dog?

If you're still wondering if you can give your dog any avocado, you may. However, you must regulate the amount you give, and make sure your pet doesn't consume the skin, leaves, or seed. They may only have the fleshy innards of the avocado.

There's no exact amount of avocado that's safe to give your dog. It depends on his or her size as well as their general health. Larger dogs may consume larger amounts than smaller ones. As noted by the American Kennel Club, also referred to as the AKC, it currently isn't known what amount of avocado is lethal to dogs. 

When you're giving the avocado's mesocarp to your dog, make sure serving sizes are small. And dice it up when you give it to your pooch.

Be careful if you're giving your pet avocado regularly. Although it has beneficial fat, it's still fat. Not to mention, these fruits are high in calories. Therefore, if you're giving them to your dog on a regular basis, it could lead to weight gain, and in turn, increase the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes.

Risks of feeding dogs avocado

What If My Dog Eats Avocado?

Let's say you're well aware that avocado for dogs could be dangerous, so you choose not to give him or her any at all or only the portion he or she can have in safe amounts. 

Unfortunately, even if you don't give your dog avocado, there's always a chance he or she may get one if you leave it within his or her reach, even if it's on the counter or in the garbage. Below are a few of the risks your dog may be exposed to with avocados.

Choking Hazard

If your pet eats the seed, he or she could potentially choke. To give you an idea of the size of a seed, it's similar to a ping-pong ball. 

Dangers Of Persin 

In addition, if your four-legged friend munches on the skin or leaves of the fruit, he or she could ingest too much persin. Too much of this substance can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. Your pet may then not feel good or might even vomit or experience diarrhea. As you probably know from being a pet parent, extensive or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which comes with its own share of health consequences for pets. 

Myocardial Damage 

Another serious effect of consuming avocado for a dog is the potential for myocardial damage. This occurs when there's damage to the myocardium, more commonly referred to as the heart muscle. 

Problems With Too Much Healthy Fat 

Even though the fat of an avocado is the healthy form, eating a high concentration of it can lead to gastrointestinal upset in a dog. Too much of it can also lead to pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas — an organ that aids in digestion and blood sugar control. Pancreatitis comes from the high-fat content of the flesh of the fruit. Pancreatitis can become a life threatening condition and is characterized by vomiting and inappetance.

What To Do After An Accidental Ingestion

If your pet accidentally ingests some of the pulp of the fruit, he or she should be okay and not have any side effects. However, any time that your dog eats the skin or leaves, contact your veterinarian immediately. He or she will let you know what steps you should take to keep your pet from having a serious reaction or suffering from the consequences of vomiting or diarrhea. Your vet can inform you of signs of a serious problem so you can monitor your furry family member carefully. If emergency medical attention would be necessary, the vet can guide you on where to go. 

Make sure you also take note of any breathing difficulties if you have a missing avocado. This could be a sign your pet swallowed the seed. Contact your veterinarian in this case immediately as well. 

Steps To Keep Avocado Away From Dogs 

  • Always keep avocado in a pantry or refrigerator when storing it. 
  • If you have children or guests, educate everyone on what your dog can and can't have. It helps to create a list and place it on the fridge, where everyone can see it. 
  • Invest in a garbage can with a lid your pet can't get off if he or she tends to rummage in the garbage. 

Benefits Of Dogs Eating Avocado

When given in safe amounts and at a healthy frequency, avocados can be a beneficial part of your dog's diet. For instance, your pet can receive vitamin A, B6, and C. These also contain magnesium, fiber, and monosaturated fat. 

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient necessary for cellular and immune function as well as growth. 

Vitamin C can protect your pup's body against free-radical damage that can increase your pet's risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It can also reduce inflammation, which is known to contribute to a slew of problems. 

Your dog requires B6. It's a particularly beneficial vitamin because it's necessary for a number of functions, including the following:

  • Glucose generation
  • Red blood cell production
  • Hormone regulation
  • Immune response
  • Gene activation
  • Nervous system function

FAQs

Can dogs eat a little bit of avocado?

Yes, a dog can eat a little bit of avocado here and there. Just make sure what you give him or her doesn't have any seeds, stems, or leaves to prevent the major issues associated with avocado consumption and dogs. 

Why is avocado toxic for dogs?

When you think of the benefits of this super fruit, you may wonder why it's a toxin for dogs. Its toxicity lies with the fact it contains a toxin known as persin that's poisonous to dogs and various other animals, including birds, cattle, and horses. With that being said, dogs tend to be a bit more resistant to this substance than the other aforementioned animals, but it can still make dogs sick, especially in large quantities. 

Dogs should not eat guacamole

Can dogs eat guacamole?

Since small portions of the mesocarp of the avocado are safe, you would automatically assume it's safe to feed your pooch guacamole. This, however, isn't the case. Besides the general risks of avocado for dogs, guacamole often contains other ingredients besides avocados, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt. All of these ingredients can be dangerous to dogs, particularly in large quantities. 

Dog owner sitting next to dog; avocado painting in the background

Final Notes

Pet parents who want to feed their pup some avocado need to be extremely careful. Large quantities of this fruit can be harmful and cause an array of issues. Dogs should never eat the skin, leaves, or seeds of an avocado. Only a small portion of the mesocarp is safe at a time. And if your pet should happen to eat an entire avocado, be sure to contact your vet immediately. 

Questions about your dog’s diet and nutrition? Get professional vet advice from home with the help of Dutch.

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References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Are Avocados Bad for Dogs?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 21 Feb. 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-avocado/.

  2. Team, Veterinarians.org. “Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Is Avocado Safe for Dogs?” Veterinarians.org, 27 Oct. 2021, https://www.veterinarians.org/can-dogs-eat-avocado/.

  3. Gwaltney-Brant, Sharon M. “Avocado Toxicosis in Animals - Toxicology.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, 1 June 2022, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/avocado-toxicosis-in-animals.

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