I’m betting that if you have avocados growing near where you live, you have seen your dog at one time or another snacking on the fallen fruit. If you’ve never seen your dog eat avocado before, then your first response is to rush back home type a search in Google “can dogs eat avocado?”
Because you’ve heard or read “somewhere” that avocados are poisonous for dogs. However, what you will find is masses of conflicting advice. Can dogs eat avocado, or is it terrible for them, perhaps even toxic?
In this article, we will answer the question, once and for all. You will not need to guess or worry if your dog eats avocado by accident.
Let’s talk about avocados and dogs first. Why is the fruit controversial?
The culprit in all this conflicting information is a fungicidal toxin called persin. It’s called a toxin for a reason, and it is harmful to some animals, such as horses, sheep, goats, cows, and birds. Strangely enough, it’s not dangerous to humans and dogs.
Avocado comprises the fruit (flesh), skin (rind), leaves, and the pits. We find persin in all of them. The lowest concentration, an imperceptible amount, of which is in the flesh.
We humans only eat the flesh part of the fruit and dispose of the rest. So don’t give your dogs any of that either. Most dog parents already know never to give their dog the stones or pits from any fruit, not just avocado.
Is Avocado Good for Dogs?
In general yes they are. There are provisos, though.
One such is an allergic reaction. Dogs are just like humans, in the way most foods are harmless but can cause allergic reactions to a minority. It doesn’t make the food itself dangerous. If you are giving your dog avocado for the first time, take it little by little and see if the dog has any stomach or allergic reactions.
A very sensitive dog can develop pancreatitis from eating the fruit. Now, I think a dog owner would know if their dog had these types of sensitivities. It’s highly likely that some kind of sensitivity to food would have shown itself previously. Pancreatitis is dangerous to dogs, so be very careful if you don’t know if they are sensitive.
With any new food, it’s always wise to introduce tiny amounts first, to test if or what the reaction might be.
Is There any Nutritional Value to Give Avocado to Dogs?
As we know avocados are now one of the most popular ingredients in many recipes. We well know their nutritional value. There are many healthy minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, and fatty acids. It’s thought they can also pass these health benefits on to dogs.
The List of Nutrients Include:
- Amino acids
- Vitamins A/ B3/ B6/ C/ and E
Why are Avocados Bad for Dogs?
While an avocado contains anti-inflammatory fats, there is still a high-fat content. One average size avocado contains as many as 320 calories and up to 29 grams of fat. A human or a dog eating too much can put on weight. If your dog has a tendency to “put some weight on” please have a talk to your vet and see what he/she thinks.
As I mentioned earlier about pancreatitis, it’s a dangerous illness and if your dog eats large amounts of the fruit, the fat levels can induce the disease.
As a rule to follow: if there are no allergic reactions, then give your dog avocado as a treat in small amounts. You should look at it as supplementing his normal diet, rather than it being part of it.
Are Avocado Pits Bad for Dogs?
Yes! They are. Don’t feed your dog pits. There is a higher concentration of persin in the pits if he cracks them open. But the chief danger is from the size of the pit. If he somehow swallows it whole it will be a choking hazard. If he breaks into it and swallows the broken pieces, then there is the risk of choking and damage to his internal organs.
Avocado Oil for Dogs
There is a large percentage of oleic acid in avocados. It has both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s said it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. And there is some evidence it can reduce the pain and suffering you get with osteoarthritis.
How much of that translates to a dog’s health, I don’t know. But it can’t harm. Same as with the fruit, it’s best not to overdo it.
Avocado Dog Food
It would seem that avocado is increasingly an ingredient being added to commercial dog food. Their marketing portrays this as an “extra healthy ingredient”.
Should it need to be added to a healthy balanced dog food? Probably not, but it will not harm them. It makes a good marketing pitch because if you’re a dog lover, you want to give your dog the best you can.
If you want to introduce a dog food brand that includes avocado then be vigilant and check for the signs of any allergic reaction. When you introduce a new food brand, there are other ingredients that you might want to factor in which could also cause a reaction, please bear that in mind.
It’s always best to ask the advice of your vet or a pet nutritionist before introducing new human food sources to your pooch. If he has any kind of existing medical condition, then adding a food he hasn’t eaten before might bring up some complications.
If feeding your dog a fruit containing a known toxin (even though the levels are so minute), then choose a different food as a snack, but one delivering the same or similar benefits. I know this is not you, and you’re not going to do this, but don’t feed your dog guacamole. Yes, it’s 85% avocado, but there are some other ingredients in there, like onions, which will harm your dog.
I hope this article has answered questions you might have regarding dogs eating an avocado. Now it’s up to you, please let us know if you feed your dog avocado? We definitely want to hear from you in the comments below.
Brad Davenport would love to live in a world where dogs rule (a kinder more caring society). As an experienced writer about dogs he’s been published on numerous websites. When he’s not writing about dogs you can find him with his wife and son on long walks with their feisty, little Havanese, Biscuit.