While humans may love them on just about everything, avocados have long been a controversial topic in the pet health community. While it appears that the general consensus feels avocado, in small doses, isn’t harmful, we decided to check with a few respected sources to get their opinions.
According to the ASPCA:
While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we do not expect to see serious signs of illness. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel. Ingestion of the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care. Avocado is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit. We would generally not expect avocado meal or oil present in commercial pet foods to pose a hazard to dogs.
According the the Pet Poison Helpline:
Avocado contains a toxin called persin, but despite the rumors, avocado is not severely poisonous to dogs. The bigger risk to dogs is a foreign body obstruction, which can occur if the dog swallowed the whole large, round avocado seed; due to size alone, this seed can get stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract of dogs.
Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: In dogs and cats: mild.
Common signs to watch for:
- Lack of stool production
If you suspect your pet has avocado poisoning, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for treatment advice.
According to the AKC:
Dogs are more resistant than other animals to persin, according to veterinarians, but that does not mean avocados are safe for dogs. All parts of the plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and avocados are frequently listed among the top ten people foods that are dangerous for dogs. When it comes to avocados, the biggest danger is the pit. Not only are avocado pits full of persin, they are also a choking hazard. If you suspect your dog has swallowed an avocado pit, call your vet immediately.
The Bottom Line:
While accidentally eating a small bit of avocado fruit probably won’t cause your dog any lasting damage, you should still monitor your dog closely if you suspect he has eaten avocado, and it is always better to play it safe and give your vet a call.