Can dogs eat avocados? Are they healthy or dangerous for dogs? Avocados may be a wonder-food for humans due to being rich in essential vitamins and minerals, but you should be careful about feeding them to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Avocados?
Avocado is associated with all sorts of problems in a variety of different animals, including horses, cattle, goats, fish, birds and many more. The reason for this is because avocados contain persin, which can cause mastitis, heart failure, and potentially even death.
Persin exists in the avocado fruit’s leaves, seed, stem and skin. It is a toxic fatty acid that can be toxic in large quantities, but interestingly dogs and even cats seem to be unaffected by its toxicity.
Dr. Justine Lee, a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and author of two popular books on pets said “Despite the rumours, avocado is not poisonous to dogs, nor likely to cats,”
“Dogs and cats don’t seem to be affected by persin,” explains Lee. “However, birds and large animals (such as horses and cattle) have issues with persin toxicity, as it can be deadly in these species.
The biggest risk to dogs is not persin, but in fact the seed of an avocado. Avocado seeds can cause an obstruction in your dog’s digestive system if they are ingested. They are very large and if they do get stuck, your dog may require medical treatment to remove them.
The flesh of an avocado can be fed to dogs, but we recommend that you only give them small quantities of it.
Why Do Some People Say You Shouldn’t Feed Avocado to Dogs?
Most of the controversy around feeding avocado to dogs comes from a study that was published in 1994. This study about the death of two dogs found that they had consumed whole avocados, including parts of the plant.
A later study in 2012 looked at feeding avocado extract to dogs over a six month period. The extract was a defatted, water soluble extract of the flesh, skin and seed and made up about 1.1 percent of the dog’s diet. It was concluded that the dogs that consumed the avocado extract suffered no adverse health effects over this period.
Are There Any Benefits of Avocado for Dogs?
Avocados are loaded with all sorts of good vitamins, minerals and fats. Some vets even recommend feeding dogs avocado based food products if they are suffering from poor coat or skin condition. Dogs that are suffering from dry skin, skin infections, hair loss or thinning, hair or skin odour may be deficient in fats and antioxidants.
Vitamin A and E deficiency, along with low levels of fat will often lead to dry skin, flaky, itchy skin and skin infections. Because avocados are rich in vitamin A, E, and omega fatty acids, they can be used to improve coat and skin condition.
Are Avocados Bad for Dogs?
So we know that you can feed avocado flesh to your dog, but are there any downsides. While fats are an important part of a dog’s diet, too much fat can be a bad thing. You should always contact your vet and get their opinion before adding something to your dog’s regular diet.
High fat diets for dogs have been linked to pancreatitis, so you need to be careful when adding anything to your dog’s regular diet. Check out this article from 2008 to learn more about the effects of high fat diets in dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado Based Products, Like Guacamole?
The avocado in something like guacamole is not the problem, it is everything else that makes up the product that can cause issues. Anything that contains onions or garlic should be avoided, and there are a whole host of other food items that can be dangerous as well. You can read more about them here.
We recommend that you steer clear of any products that are not pure avocado, unless you know exactly what they contain or if they are designed for dogs. Many avocado based products will also be loaded with salt and other spices which can be bad for dogs.
How Should You Give Avocado to Dogs?
If you are set on introducing avocado into your dog’s diet or you just want to give them a small bit as a treat there are some things to remember. Only give your dog avocado flesh and cut it up into smaller pieces. Do not feed your dog the skin or the seed, and make sure you dispose of them out of reach of your dog.
Introduce avocado slowly, as any new food product has the potential to cause an upset stomach or your dog may even be allergic.
Consider purchasing an avocado based pet food product like AvoDerm Natural. AvoDerm is manufactured from the flesh and oil of avocados, and does not contain any product from the leaves, stem, seed or skin.
How Often Can You Feed Avocado to Dogs?
Like with all things, moderation is the key. You should not be feeding excessive amounts of avocado to your dog. Too much avocado may cause vomiting, diarrhea and an upset stomach.
We suggest you only give your dog small pieces of avocado as a treat only. If you are using an avocado based dog food product that is ok, but always talk to your veterinarian before starting a new diet.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Eaten an Avocado Seed?
If your dog has ingested an avocado seed, we recommend that you seek veterinarian advice immediately. Look to see if your dog has left any parts of the avocado uneaten, as this will be important information for your vet. The important thing is to get your dog assessed as quickly as possible as the avocado seed may require surgical removal.
Wrapping Up Are Avocados Safe for Dogs to Eat?
As you can see there is quite a bit of information regarding feeding avocados to dogs. You need to remember that you should only feed your dog avocado flesh in small quantities, and do not feed them the skin, seed, or any parts of the plant.
Avocado should not make up a large part of your dog’s diet, as this should come from their regular dog food. If you do insist of introducing avocado into your dog’s diet, we recommend consulting with a veterinarian first.