The Avocado is a delicious snack and perfect compliment to your sandwich, nacho, or salad. And although almost all avocados are farmed in sunny California, they are enjoyed by humans all over the world. Because this savory fruit is safe and healthy for humans to consume, the same goes for dogs, right?
Wait one second. Responsible owners always ask, can dogs eat avocado? There has been a lot of debate over this question because of a toxin in avocados, called Persin. And although this toxin is poisonous to many animals, there is no conclusive evidence that they are poisonous to dogs. In other words:
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Avocados
Dogs can safely eat avocados, but only if given to them in moderation. According to the data collected from the ASPCA Poison Control Center, Persin is mostly poisonous to animals like horses, cattles, birds and goats. Not so much dogs. Why should we trust the ASPCA Poison Control? Because they’ve dealt with thousands of cases where dogs eat avocado.
But not so fast. Avocados are safe for dogs, but there are side effects to consider before giving your dog a few slices.
Side Effects: Dogs Eating Avocado
Most of these dog side effects were also reported when the ASPCA Poison Control investigated their avocado cases. Unless your dog has a sensitive stomach or ate too much avocado, these side effects will be rare.
Upset Stomach in Dogs
According to Dr. Tina Wismer from the ASPCA Poison Control Center, avocados can cause mild stomach aches in dogs. The severity of the upset stomach depends on the sensitivity of the dog’s stomach. In addition, the more avocados a dog consumes, the more likely they are to have stomach pains. Moderation is necessary for all vegetable consumption in dogs, and avocados are no exception.
If a dog is experiencing mild stomach pains after eating avocados, no additional treatment is necessary. Just stop feeding them avocados. For severe stomach pains, it would be a good idea to contact your local vet.
Intestinal Obstruction in Dogs
One part of the avocado that dogs should never eat is the seed, also known as the avocado pit. Cyanide (the same acid found in apple seeds) in avocado seeds are extremely low and may not cause much damage to a dog. However, the large seed can cause a blockage in the dog’s intestinal tract, leading to many other health issues.
A large dog can probably eat a whole avocado and be okay, but giving them the whole avocado without any preparation is not a good idea. Take out the pit and feed them by the slice. The pit can also be a choking hazard for a dog.
Fatty Avocados and Pancreatitis
Dr. Sheri L. Berger DVM has stated a concern about how avocados are very high in fat. This means that if a dog consumes a lot of avocados, they could experience dog health issues associated with eating excessive fatty foods. One of these health issues is Pancreatitis.
The Pancreas is the organ of the dog that helps digest food and controls blood sugar levels. When too much fatty food is consumed, the Pancreas can become inflamed, thus causing Pancreatitis. Help your dog avoid this medical condition by limiting the amount of avocados (and other fatty foods) they eat.
You can try balancing out this fatty food with pineapples, as pineapples are known to treat Pancreatitis.
Health Benefits: Avocados and Dogs
For so many years, humans have been enjoying both the taste and health benefits of avocados. With a large variety of nutrients, avocados are considered to be superfoods. Dogs are like family to owners, so it only makes sense to share these wonderful benefits with them.
Avocados are Loaded With Nutrients
Why are avocados considered superfoods? Let’s look at the surplus of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients in them.
A cup of avocados (150 grams) contains:
- Vitamin K – 35% DV
- Copper – 31% DV
- Vitamin E – 21% DV
- Pantothenic Acid – 42% DV
- Vitamin C – 20% DV
- Potassium – 21% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 23% DV
- Folate – 30% DV
Avocados actually contain about 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but the ones listed above have the highest percentage for daily value. The good news is that a dog can benefit from those nutrients with a few slices of avocados every now and then. And the best part is that they will help your dog battle common dog diseases and illnesses.
The high ratio of Vitamin C also allows your dog to absorb the other nutrients more efficiently. Plus, avocados provide you with 60% more Potassium than bananas.
Avocados Improve Dog Skin and Coat
Avocados are jam packed with Vitamin E and omega fatty acids, which are healthy for hair. This means that they will help give your dog’s coat that nice shine. These two nutrients improve the coat by helping the water in the dog’s body flow through to the hair. With the help of the Vitamin A in avocados, the Vitamin E will help keep the skin on the dog as healthy as can be. Cut up a few avocado slices for healthy smooth skin and a bright shiny coat.
Other foods known to improve dog skin and coat include bananas and eggs.
Sharpen a Dog’s Vision with Avocados
The same Vitamin A that will help with your dog’s skin, has been known to improve eyesight in human and dogs. And although avocado doesn’t contain as much Vitamin A as cantaloupes, cherries and mangoes, it has just enough to make a difference in a dog’s eyesight. This vitamin is ideal for the aging dog that needs a little boost in the health of their deteriorating eyesight. Feed away, but don’t go overboard with it.
Avocados For a Healthy Heart
We all know how fatty avocados are, but don’t worry, at least they’re the healthy kind of fat. I didn’t even know there was a such thing as “healthy fat” until a friend told me about Monounsaturated fat. Unlike Trans fat and Saturated fat, Monounsaturated fat can lead to health benefits like lowering the dog’s bad cholesterol.
This type of fat can also help improve the condition of your dog’s heart. However, if your dog is suffering from a heart condition, avocados should not be a main treatment. Consult with your veterinarian before using avocados as a supplement for your dog’s condition.
Can Dogs Eat Guacamole?
This really depends on your recipe for guacamole. Most guacamole purchased from your local market is not okay for dogs to eat. Let’s break down the traditional recipe of guacamole.
Avocado-based Guacamole contains:
- Lemon or lime juice
- Ripe tomato
Of the ingredients that make up guacamole, onions are the only thing a dog cannot eat. Why not? Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate, which is poisonous to dogs. Although dogs can eat salt, it is highly recommended that they don’t eat it. Tomatoes are actually incredibly healthy for dogs, but make sure to read up on potential side effects before including them.
So unless you have very plain tasting guacamole with salt and onions, don’t feed your dog any guacamole. And, don’t even try to give them the salty tortilla chips.
How Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
The first step would be wash the outside of the avocado fruit and remove the skin. Next, you’ll want to take out the pit or seed of the avocado. It is a choking hazard and could cause blockage in the dog’s digestive tract.
If for whatever reason the fruit is still connected to the stem or leaves, remove those immediately. The thing about the persin toxin is that they are not present in the flesh of the avocado if it is fully ripe. However, persin is highly concentrated in the leaves, bark and stem of the avocado tree.
Cut up a few slices for your dog to try out. If this is your dog’s first time, you’ll want to test to see if there are any severe side effects with your dog. After consumption, observe your dog for the next 24 hours.
Make sure to pay attention to any behavioral changes or stool habit changes. This means to look our for any change in activeness, such as a lack of or excessive energy. Always be on the look out for constipation or diarrhea after feeding your dog human foods. If nothing is unusual, your dog is most likely in the clear.
Feel free to slice up more avocados next time. But remember, avocados are fatty fruits and could make your dog overweight if given to them way too often. Still, a little bit will bring a ton of great benefits for your dog. It’s all about balance and moderation.
Avocado-based Dog Foods
There are certain dog food brands that provide avocado-based foods, such as AvoDerm. The dog owners community have expressed their concern about avocado dog food brands but in the end, their concerns were quickly put down.
Brands like AvoDerm test thoroughly for the persin toxin before packaging. Since they only include the flesh of the avocado (not the bark, leaves or tree stems), it’s no surprise that no persin is found.
Some dog owners prefer those brands because of the dog health benefits mentioned in the article. Many have seen big improvements in the coat and hair of the dog. So if you’re considering those type of products, go ahead!
The Smart Canine is a resource dedicated to providing you with top quality and accurate information. Our team has done thorough research into the way avocado affects your dog. However, The Smart Canine cannot guarantee that your dog will receive health benefits or side effects from eating avocados. Every dog is unique and different, so there is no way for us to be sure. We still recommend you consult with you vet before feeding your dog avocados.