Avocados are the biggest food trend of the decade. In fact, people are using this fruit in almost every recipe, including smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and even sushi.
If you’re also a fan and you regularly bring avocados into your home, then you might want to know whether this delicious fruit is safe for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Avocados?
The answer is a little complicated because the avocado pit, skin, and leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative called persin. Even the flesh of the avocado contains persin but in a less concentrated amount.
Some animals, like horses, can have an adverse reaction to persin. But dogs are more resistant and can handle small amounts of avocado in their diet.
Thus you can occasionally feed your dog a few chunks of avocado flesh, but should avoid the pit and the skin. Also, if you have a backyard with an avocado plant, it would be best to ensure your dog doesn't eat anything that falls to the ground, including stems or leaves.
Health Benefits of Avocado Flesh
Below are four amazing health benefits of feeding a small portion of avocado flesh to your dog.
1. Provides Vitamins
Avocados are considered a superfood because of their impressive nutrient profile. They’re especially rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system by increasing the activity of the white blood cells and the production of antibodies. This vitamin can also help promote joint health and prevent arthritis in older dogs.
Additionally, avocados contain small amounts of vitamin E, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K.
2. Rich Source of Minerals
Avocados are full of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. These minerals help support various important functions in your dog’s body. For example, calcium helps support the growth of healthy bones and teeth, and magnesium helps promote muscle health.
3. Can Support Digestive Health
Avocados contain dietary fibers that can support your dog’s digestive health. They help maintain regular bowel movements by preventing diarrhea and relieving constipation.
Fiber also gets fermented into fatty acids that prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria and support your dog’s gut health.
4. Improves Skin and Coat Health
Avocados are full of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. These are good kinds of fat that support the immune system, which in turn helps prevent and heal various skin allergies and improve the overall quality of the skin and coat.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also have many other positive effects, as they promote brain development and eye health in puppies and support cognitive function and joint health in older dogs.
Avocado as an Ingredient in Commercial Dog Food
Some commercial dog foods contain avocado oil and avocado meal (dried and ground avocado flesh). These ingredients are considered safe for dogs because neither of them contains a significant amount of persin. In fact, these ingredients can have many health benefits as they provide nutrients, dietary fibers, and fatty acids to your dog’s diet.
Additionally, you can directly buy dog-friendly avocado oil and sprinkle a few drops on your dog's kibble meal occasionally.
What About Other Dishes Made With Avocado?
Since avocado flesh is considered safe for dogs in small amounts, it doesn’t mean you should feed them dishes made using avocados. Guacamole, for example, is a popular avocado dish that often contains onion and garlic, which are toxic for dogs.
Even avocado salads and sushi might contain other ingredients and seasonings that could harm your pup’s health. Thus it is suggested to only feed the plain avocado flesh to your dog.
How Much Avocado to Feed a Dog?
Portion size is very important when it comes to feeding avocado to your dog. It’s because, in addition to the low concentration of persin, avocado flesh is also high in fat, which can lead to many gastrointestinal problems for your dog.
So, how much avocado is safe for dogs?
The correct answer varies depending on your dog’s breed, age, weight, and health conditions.
If you have a big healthy dog, you can feed them around 2-3 bite-sized slices of avocado flesh as an occasional treat. You can also consult with your veterinarian to determine the exact amount of avocado to feed your dog.
Dangers of Avocado Skin & Pit for Dogs
The avocado pit and skin contain high concentrations of persin, which is why it’s never recommended for dogs. But apart from that, there are also concerns about indigestion.
The skin of the avocado is thick, and it can be difficult to chew and digest for dogs. You should be extra careful about the pit of the avocado, as it can get lodged inside your dog’s throat or digestive tract. They might even need surgery to remove the pit from their body.
Thus when storing avocados in your home, ensure they’re unreachable by your dog. If your dog has a habit of getting into the trash can, you should also avoid throwing away the skin and pit in the garbage.
If in case your dog accidentally eats avocado leaves, pit, or skin, take them to the veterinarian or pet emergency hospital.
Furthermore, if you’re unsure whether your dog has eaten any part of the avocado that can be harmful, look out for the following signs of avocado poisoning:
- Stomach upset or diarrhea
- Constipation or straining to poop
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Decreased appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms of avocado poisoning, consult a veterinarian.
Avocados are delicious and healthy fruits that you can add to your dog’s diet. In small amounts, these fruits can provide many nutritional benefits and enhance your dog’s overall health. But be careful about the skin and pit of the avocado. Even while storing the fruit or throwing out the skin and pit in the trash, ensure it’s inaccessible to your dog.
If you have any further doubts, please consult your veterinarian before feeding avocados to your dog.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about feeding avocados to a dog.
1. Can Dogs Eat Avocados?
Yes, dogs can eat a small amount of avocado flesh occasionally. But you should avoid feeding the skin, pit, leaves, and stems as they contain high levels of a toxic fatty acid derivative called persin.
If in case your dog accidentally eats these harmful parts of avocado, take them to a veterinarian.
2. Can a Dog Eat Guacamole?
You should avoid guacamole that contains onion and garlic, which can be toxic to your dog’s health. You can, however, feed them guacamole made using dog-friendly ingredients.
3. Can a Dog Eat Avocado Pits?
No, dogs should never eat the avocado pit as it contains large amounts of persin, and it can also get lodged inside their throat or digestive tract. This can lead to a serious life-threatening condition as they might even need surgery to remove the pit from their body.
4. How Much Avocado Can a Dog Eat?
It depends on your dog’s breed, age, weight, and health conditions. If you have a big healthy dog, you can feed them around 2-3 bite-sized slices of avocado flesh as a treat occasionally.
The best thing would be to consult with your veterinarian to determine the exact amount of avocado to feed your dog.