Avocado has taken the world by storm in the last few years. This versatile fruit is a hit that’s often added to salads, served straight on toast or combined with other ingredients to create a hearty guacamole. With avocado becoming more and more commonplace in our households, the question “can dogs eat avocado?” has cropped up more than once!
If you’re wondering if your dog can join you in snacking on the nation’s favourite superfood, keep reading. Find out if avocado is good for dogs and more in our guide.
Can dogs eat avocado?
This is a bit of a tricky question, but the answer is that it’s best not to feed your dog avocado. We suggest erring on the side of caution because avocados contain Persin, a fungicidal toxin. It’s known to result in serious health issues and, in extreme cases, death in larger animals such as cows and horses. Dogs are more resistant to Persin than other animals, but it can still cause health issues when given in large amounts.
Persin is mostly located in the leaves and bark of the avocado plant and in the pits and skin of the fruit, but it is also found in the flesh of the avocado in a less concentrated amount. With this in mind, all parts of an avocado can potentially be hazardous. The Persin content is also higher in un-ripened fruit.
While Persin toxicity is unlikely in dogs, it’s still best to avoid the risk. And since avocado can also cause other issues such as stomach upsets, we suggest avoiding avocados entirely and offering your dog safer fruits that don’t come with these health risks.
What happens if my dog eats avocado?
Small amounts of avocado flesh are unlikely to cause problems. As regards toxicity, the flesh is the part that contains the lowest levels of Persin. However, larger amounts of avocado are riskier, and there is one published report of two dogs developing heart failure after eating a lot of avocados over a long period.
If your dog does eat a large amount of avocado at once, it is more likely that they will develop vomiting or diarrhoea, as avocados are high in fat which can potentially cause a stomach upset. High-fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis in dogs, a very serious condition.
Another concern is that the pit or stone of an avocado can be a choking hazard or potentially cause an obstruction in the gut, so ensure your dog can’t get their paws on this. If you grow avocado plants in your home or garden, make sure they’re out of paws’ reach.
If your dog has eaten some avocado, keep an eye on them for any symptoms or changes. If you spot anything concerning, take your dog to the vet.
What about dog foods that contain avocado?
The only occasion where avocado is good for dogs is when it’s in a complete and balanced commercial dog food. These products will usually contain avocado oil or avocado meal, which is where the flesh is dried and ground. Neither of these ingredients contain a significant amount of Persin, and they are completely safe for your dog to eat at the levels used in the dog food. In fact, these avocado products can actually be a good source of vitamins A, B6, C and E, as well as fibre, which is excellent for digestive health, and fatty acids, which are important for coat and skin condition.
Now you know the answer to “can dogs have avocado?”, and although your dog can’t enjoy a dip of guacamole or a slice of your avocado on toast, there are still loads of safe human foods your pup can enjoy! Check out our useful daily feeding guides for more information.