Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
With many fruits and vegetables being safe and healthy snacks for dogs, people often ask, “can dogs eat avocado?” It’s a great snack for humans, and touted as being very healthy.
However, what’s healthy for humans isn’t always the same for dogs. A dog’s digestive system doesn’t work the same way as ours, and things that are delicious and/or healthy for humans don’t work the same way for a dog.
So what about avocado?
Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat avocado—sort of. There are some complications that come with doing so, and feeding your dog avocado requires extreme care that many owners don’t realize.
Is It Safe?
Avocados have persin in them, which is a fungicidal toxin. This can be very dangerous to some animals, especially horses and birds, who should never be fed avocados.
There’s a great debate about the safety of giving it to a dog. Dogs tend to be more resistant to persin than other animals, so small amounts of avocado shouldn’t do them much harm. However, if given in large amounts, it can still cause problems.
Is It Healthy?
If given in small amounts, avocado is indeed a healthy snack for dogs that doesn’t contain too many calories. You should be safe if you want to give your dog a little bit of it every now and again, though it isn’t advisable to make it a regular snack.
How Much Can I Give My Dog?
Treats should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily calorie allowance, however, avocado shouldn’t even make it up to that much. While large breeds of dogs can handle a little more than small, it’s safest to only allow them a small piece.
Because they have plenty of healthy fats, acids, vitamins, and minerals, avocados do have health benefits for dogs. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re giving your dog avocado, it’s likely doing them some good.
Because it’s so rich in nutrients, it’s a quick and dense way to get your dog a bunch of things they need.
The main risk of feeding a dog avocado is the chance they will be poisoned by the persin. As long as you keep it to small amounts, it shouldn’t happen, but dogs can counter-surf or get into things they shouldn’t — and if you have avocados lying around, you should always be on the lookout.
Symptoms Of Poisoning
Symptoms that your dog might be poisoned include:
What To Do
If you see any of these symptoms in your dog — or think they got into too much avocado, and are worried symptoms will appear — you should call your veterinarian right away. They’ll be able to assess how much avocado was consumed and if a visit is necessary.
If it’s out of office hours, or on a weekend, call an emergency veterinarian who will be able to advise.
How To Serve Avocado Safely
Your dog should never eat the stem, leaves, and bark of the avocado, which contains the highest concentration of persin. Only ever give them the flesh. Remove the skin and the pit.
Even if you have a big dog, they should only be allowed a small piece even when you’ve done all of this.
You should only be giving them plain avocado. Many people think it’s okay to feed their dog guacamole, but guac has a ton of ingredients that are most definitely toxic, such as garlic powder. If you’re going to feed your dog avocado, make sure it’s the plain fruit they’re getting, as you have to take into account every single ingredient going into your dog’s body.
Although avocado has some health benefits, some people still don’t want to risk poisoning and would rather feed their dog other healthy fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, there are some great alternatives that have similar health benefits and none of the risk.
The following fruit is safe to feed your dog:
- Apples (with seeds and stem removed)
- Blueberries, one of the best fruits to give your dog
Under no circumstances should you ever give your dog grapes, as they can be extremely toxic.
Some vegetables also contain health benefits, and these are the best to give your dog that have none of the avocado risks:
- Carrots (pro tip: frozen carrots make great teething toys)
- Asparagus (cooked, and with the end cut off)
- Sweet potato
So, can dogs eat avocado? All in all, feeding your dog a piece of avocado won’t cause them too much harm. However, some dogs can be more susceptible to poisoning than others, and too much can certainly do harm. If you want to play it safe, pick one of the alternatives for all of the health benefits with none of the risk, and never give them guacamole!