Superfood or super risky? Turns out this heated debate has reached a consensus… sort of. Is your dog a fan of avocados or does he completely hate them? Avocados are generally associated with lots of problems in many animals such as cattle, horses, goats, sheep, rodents, birds, and fish. Wait…no dogs on the list?
We all know chocolate and caffeine are toxic for your dog, but does that apply to avocados as well? It is safe to say that avocados have the potential of causing damage to your pup’s health, in some situations. Let’s see which of these situations can actually do harm and how you can avoid them.
The Root of the Behavior
Avocados are known for their monounsaturated fat content and cancer-fighting nutrients in humans. We love guacamole not only because it’s super healthy, but because it tastes delicious too. So how does that work for dogs? While being a good source of nutrients for both humans and dogs, avocados contain persin, a substance found mostly in the leaves of the plant, but also present in the seeds, stem, and fruit. This can cause potential health issues such as mastitis, heart failure, and even death.
Depending on the number of avocados your dog has ingested during a certain period of time, he may be experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, weight gain, obesity, and dental issues. Not only are avocado pits full of persin, they are also a choking hazard. Then why are there so many dog foods that have avocado as an ingredient? It is all about the amount and parts of the avocado your dog is eating. Which means that eating a small bit of avocado will not cause your pup any lasting damage.
The key here is moderation. Avocados are a natural superfood, full of nutrients, crude fiber, and rich in vitamins. They are also high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, antioxidants, and many other essential substances. Giving him the occasional bite will not cause your furry friend to experience such nasty symptoms as long as you stay from its most dangerous parts.
The bottom line is, you need to keep the avocado as a supplement to your dog's diet, rather than a part of his daily meal. Some dogs are just crazy about it, while others just do not enjoy them the same way. It all comes down to taste and routine. Make sure you include all the necessary nutrients into his daily meals, but keep your distance from potential dangers, such as eating too much of one “good” thing.
Encouraging the Behavior
Prevention is the best way to keep avocados out of your dog’s mouth. If he doesn’t find them appealing at all, then you are in luck… at least to some degree. While they may be healthy and delicious, they need to be served with precaution. Make sure everyone in the house, as well as your guests, understand the dangers of feeding avocados to your dog. It is important that you can keep an eye on him at parties where avocado is served, and make sure he does not break into the garbage, where he could find it.
Be mindful of the increase in size and weight of your pooch if you have the habit of occasionally feeding him some avocado. Furthermore, the large amount of potassium found in avocados can cause serious heart issues, so be careful about how much he receives on a regular basis. If you still feel the need to give him some, make sure you remove the pit first, as this can block your dog’s throat, intestinal tract, or stomach.
So, while avocado is not technically toxic, you do want to keep your pup away from the plant material and pit. If you want to play it completely safe, avoid feeding your dog any of the fruit’s parts or any dog food that contains it for that matter.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you insist on treating them with such a delicacy, you need to know the right amount and the right way to do it. Elder dogs can be given half an avocado once a week, while a very small piece will suffice for your little puppy. When you choose to feed them avocado, make sure the pit is completely removed and the fruit is peeled. The peel has no additional advantage to your dog and it can cause digestive problems and stomach upset. You can also get him certain dog foods that contain avocado but do keep an eye on any sudden symptoms or abnormal behaviors.
The avocado is one of the most nutritious fruits out there, but when it comes to your pup, you need to be cautious. Is it dangerous for your dog? Check to see if he likes it in the first place and then take measures to ensure he is not eating too much or the wrong parts of it. The meat or fruit flesh appears to be safe for dogs to consume as it has little to no persin. Consult with your vet if you are worried about any unexpected symptoms and keep him away from any type of potential health risks.