Can My Dog Eat Avocado?
Avocado is a delicious, healthy, and versatile fruit. You can use it in cooking in several ways. But is it safe for your pet dog? This fruit often appears on the list of harmful food for dogs. In fact, there are veterinarians and animal-care professionals who do not recommend avocado for dogs.
So, can dogs eat avocado? Are these claims of toxicity to dogs valid? Would you, as a dog owner and lover, risk your dog’s health and well-being?
Many questions could be going through your mind right now, and you want to get clarification if these assumptions are accurate.
So, can you give your dog avocado?
The resounding answer is, YES, your dog can eat avocado.
Let’s take a closer look.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
One of the reasons avocado is considered toxic to dogs is because it contains persin, an oil-soluble toxin. There is persin in the seed, leaves, and bark or skin of the avocado fruit.
This compound is a toxic fatty acid derivative. If ingested in large quantities, persin can poison some animals like cattle and horses. However, it has not been proven that the substance is toxic to dogs and cats.
Avocados provide plenty of health benefits to dogs – they get essential vitamins and minerals and benefit from the fruit's anti-inflammatory properties. The healthy fatty acids in avocado are also excellent for dogs, among others.
You just have to remember not to feed your dog a lot of avocado at once. Plus, there are parts of the fruit that you cannot give them.
Potential Side Effects of Giving Your Dog Avocado
You can give the avocado pulp (the fleshy part) to your dog, but the other parts could be harmful if ingested.
As we mentioned earlier, the avocado fruit contains a substance known as persin, which is toxic to some animals but unlikely to be harmful to dogs. Unripe avocado contains higher amounts of persin than ripe fruit.
If you give your dog only ripened avocado, the chances of persin poisoning are low. Some dog owners are still concerned about the possible effects of the fruit, so they opt not to feed their pets avocados at all.
The fleshy part of the fruit is okay to give your dog, but you should never feed them the skin, pit, or stems. First, these parts are hard to digest, even if they are processed or ground. When you feed them to your dog, you risk gastrointestinal blockage, which can cause serious complications.
The pit (or the seed) is the most dangerous part of the fruit for dogs. It is that large, golf ball-sized core of the fruit. You can remove it by slicing the avocado. The pit is a choking hazard - it can get easily stuck in your pet’s throat, blocking the airway. Though it may get past the esophagus, it can easily get stuck in their intestinal tract, causing a more severe blockage.
It is crucial that you take extra care when tossing the pit into the trash bin. Should your dog accidentally eat an avocado pit, bring them to your vet immediately.
The pit has high concentrations of persin, posing a greater danger to your dog. While canines may be resistant to persin, there are a few cases of poisoning in dogs. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation. If you observe any of these symptoms, bring them to your vet right away.
The Nutritional Value of Avocado
Avocado is often used in cooking because of its health benefits. Here are four health benefits of the avocado fruit for your dog:
- Packed with protein. Avocados contain more proteins and less sugar compared to other fruits. Protein helps build bodies and aids in the maintenance and repair of cells, enzymes, and hormones. Some vets recommend avocado to be a part of dogs’ diet because of the high-quality protein it contains.
- Avocados contain healthy fats. Fat is the primary source of energy; it also helps maintain a lean body. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for your dog’s skin. Some signs of inadequate fat in their diet are dull or brittle hair coat, easily epilating hair, and dermatitis (dry, flaky skin or red itchy rashes).
- Avocados are nutritious. They contain Vitamin K, which creates blood-clotting agents in the liver. The fruit is rich in folate, which is essential in the growth and replication of cells. Avocados also have Vitamin C, which helps keep the immune system healthy and provides relief for sore joints. The potassium in the fruit is essential for the conduction of electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles.
Avocados contain Vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in metabolism. Vitamin E is essential in the reproductive, muscular, and nervous systems and a good antioxidant. Other vitamins and minerals include Vitamin A and B3, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
- Avocados have a high fiber content, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. It also helps maintain a proper balance of beneficial organisms in the digestive tract.
What About Guacamole?
The avocado fruit in itself will not harm your dog, as long as it is consumed in moderate amounts. But is guacamole safe? Vets say no because it could contain some harmful ingredients for your dog, like garlic, onions, tomatoes, and salt. These can cause an upset stomach or even poisoning. Garlic and onions could lead to organ damage and kidney failure.
Never give dogs guacamole because of the potential health risks when consumed in large amounts.
How to Give Your Dog Avocado?
Remember to feed your dog only the fleshy part of the fruit. Remove the skin and the pit. Serve it to your dog plain, without any seasonings, and never give them guacamole. Feed your dog small amounts of avocado because of the high fat content of the fruit.