Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Probably Not
Whether your dog has eaten an avocado off the tree or a few pieces off your breakfast plate, here’s what you need to know.
brendan-howard-headshot By Brendan Howard Medically Reviewed by Jenna Stregowski, RVT Updated March 29, 2023 Medically Reviewed by Jenna Stregowski, RVT Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print
The tasty avocado, with its big pit, alligator-like skin, and delicious, fatty flesh is a popular raw food treat for foodies and regular folk alike. And given the avocado toast's meteoric rise as a brunch staple across the world, you're probably wondering, can dogs eat avocado?
Generally, you should probably skip feeding your pup the fruit because raw avocados are bad for dogs in many respects. Here's what else you should know about avocado for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Avocado?
If your dog snatches some avocado off the breakfast table or the backyard avocado tree, he could be in some danger of digestive distress or something more serious. But if your dog's food has avocado listed in the ingredients, it should be fine.
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Avocado as an Ingredient
Some commercial dog foods or dog treats include ingredients made from the pulp of the avocado—that soft, green stuff around the pit we enjoy in guacamole. It's OK if your pup's ingredient list includes avocado oil or avocado meal because avocado is often a small, nontoxic ingredient in these foods.
But just because avocado oil or avocado meal is considered safe in your dog's food, doesn't mean he should start eating raw avocados. Quite the contrary, in fact.
dog with background of avocados; can dogs eat avocado? Credit: Valengilda / Robbie Goodall / Getty
A serious issue with raw avocado is the presence of persin, a fungus-killing toxin found in parts of the fruit. While this toxin is not as much of a problem for dogs as it is for other animals, it's still a concern. It can cause damage to your pet's myocardium (heart muscle).
"The leaves, fruit, seeds, and bark of avocados all contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs," says Tina Wismer, DVM, DABVT, DABT, and senior director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
The pit of an avocado poses another threat to your pup: It can create a dangerous obstruction if a dog swallows it. Wismer says the pit of an avocado can get stuck in your dog's digestive tract and require surgery to remove.
In their raw state, avocados contain a lot of fat, which can aggravate your dog's stomach and inflame his pancreas, which can lead to pancreatitis—a painful condition that requires medical attention.
Your dog's pancreas is a crucial organ for digestion and hormone regulation. If you're watching your dog's weight or your dog has a history of pancreas issues, consider other lower-calorie, lower-fat fruits or vegetables like carrots or apples as a safer treat.
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Are Avocados Good For Dogs in Any Way?
If your pup's interest in this trendy green fruit persists, it's best to stay on the safe side and avoid giving any to your dog. Feel free to consult with your veterinarian, though.
Even if you keep the pit and the persin away from him, the high-fat content can contribute to weight gain or pancreatitis. You and your vet will be able to make an informed decision about whether your dog can safely eat avocado based on his health history and specific nutritional needs.
If your garden contains an avocado tree (lucky you!), be sure to keep the fruit out of your four-legged foodie's reach.