Avocados are known as a human superfood – they’re packed with healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.1 So, naturally, if there’s a super healthy food that you love, you want to share its benefits with your dog. But, can dogs eat avocado?
Many human foods are surprisingly toxic for pets, so this is always an important question to ask.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
You should always do plenty of research to find out whether any human foods are safe for your pet to eat. Some foods are actually quite toxic for dogs, including garlic, chocolate, and macadamia nuts.2 That’s why it’s essential you’re vigilant about what gets dropped on the floor around your pets.
So, can dogs eat avocado? Is this human food dangerous for dogs?
Well, it turns out the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
The Real Issue: The Seed
According to the Pet Poison Hotline, the large seed inside the avocado poses the greatest danger to dogs. As you can imagine, this is because it can get stuck in the esophagus, stomach, or even the intestinal tract.3
Any item that can create an obstruction issue is bad for dogs. So a pup rummaging around an avocado tree for a treat isn’t a good thing.
Persin is a substance found in avocados that can be a toxin to some animals, and it’s the most common reason people cite for not letting their dogs have avocado. But as you just read, persin is considered to be much less of a problem than the large pit within the avocado. Now, humans and dogs tend to have a high tolerance for persin, but the substance is considered toxic for other animals like rabbits, birds, goats, horses, and cattle.4
Persin is found in the leaves, skin, and flesh of the avocado, but it is much more concentrated in the leaves. And ingesting persin could actually cause gastrointestinal upset for your dog, even if it’s not toxic. This is still a good reason not to allow your dog to grab an avocado that’s fallen from a tree.5,6
A Potential Issue: Fats
Of course, humans love the avocado because of its great wealth of healthy fats. But high fat foods aren’t great for some dogs. So, it’s important you speak to your vet before adding any high-fat foods to your pup’s diet as they can ultimately lead to pancreatitis in fat-intolerant pooches. This includes the avocado.7
The Benefits of Avocados
All of this aside, some people love to serve their dog an occasional avocado treat (if it’s well tolerated). Why? Because of those same wonderful benefits that humans indulge in them for.
For starters, avocados are high in healthy, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.8 And healthy fats are good for dogs (just as they are for their human pals). For example, they can help relieve a pup’s dry, itchy skin and dull coat.9
Interestingly, there are now some dog foods on the market that even include avocado as an ingredient.
The Bottom Line: Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
Turns out, if your dog eats a little avocado (free of pits, skin, and leaves), there’s likely no real obstruction issue and no reason to panic. Can dogs eat avocado? Some can. At worst, some dogs may end up with an upset stomach.
Other dogs will tolerate small amounts of avocado well, so they can enjoy an occasional slice. What’s most important, especially for your own piece of mind, is talking to your vet about your own pup. This way, you can make an informed decision about whether the avocado is safe for your dog.
If you do decide that your dog can have avocado, organic is always the preferred choice. Make sure the avocado is nice and ripe. Remove the pit, skin, and stems just as you would for yourself. And don’t add anything to the avocado (no guacamole). Serve the avocado slice plain or mix it in with your dog’s regular food.
If this is the first time your dog has tried avocado, start with a small amount. Watch closely to make sure your dog doesn’t have any stomach issues.10
And again, talk it through with your vet before serving your pup this treat.
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