Avocados have become an extremely popular health food in recent years. Avacado recipes are popping up everywhere online and they are incorporated into heaps of dishes at restaurants. Avocados have a ton of health benefits for humans, but what about for dogs?
Can dogs eat avocados? Are they good for dogs or are they toxic? It can be challenging to know which humans foods dogs can consume safely and it is important that proper research is done before you go ahead and give your pup a special treat.
The simple answer is that dogs should not eat avocados as they contain a certain ingredient that can be toxic. Let's take a closer look at dogs and how avocados affect them.
Sings of a Dog Who is Experiencing Avocado Poisoning
If your dog has gotten into an avocado, guacamole, or something else with the bright green goodness in it, there are a few different signs and symptoms to look out for if they have consumed too much of the fruit.
Most of the time, your pup will not have access to enough of the avocado fruit to experience any extreme poisoning. The only time this may happen is if they get into a huge tub of guacamole or find an avocado tree where they have access to many fruits in one sitting. Most dogs will only experience mild stomach upset if they happen to have a sensitive stomach and don't react well to persin - a toxic chemical that affects some animals.
If your dog has an upset stomach, it can be anywhere from mild to severe symptoms. They can have vomiting, diarrhea, loose, wet, or soft stools, and they may not have an appetite for their meals or treats. Some dogs will be tired, lethargic, not have a ton of energy, or will just not be their happy and normal selves.
The biggest concern about an avocado is if your dog accidentally swallows the large pit inside of the avocado. This is such a big issue because it can cause an obstruction. Signs of an obstruction would be excessive vomiting, not drinking water or eating food, sluggishness, weight loss, weakness, and diarrhea. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on how bad the obstruction is.
History of Dogs and Avocados
Many owners have been giving their dogs the flesh of avocados for many years due to their many health benefits. Avocados have a high concentration of healthy fats that are wonderful for your dog's fur coat and skin. It keeps their skin healthy and their fur coats strong and shiny. This superfood contains crude fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and B6. These all help with your dog's overall heart healthy by making their heart stronger. Fiber will help with your dog's digestive track.
Furthermore, these creamy green fruits also contain potassium, folate, niacin, fatty acids. Avocados are great for improving your dog's immune system due to their high antioxidant levels and they also provide a natural source of plant protein to help your dog grow healthy and strong. That is, of course, if your dog doesn't have a sensitivity to them!
Science Behind Dogs and Avocados
There is quite a lot of debate in the medical and scientific world about whether or not avocados are toxic to dogs. Some sources claim that avocados are indeed toxic to dogs and have the potential to harm the animal. However, many other sources state that avocados are safe for most dogs to consume in small quantities, although since avocados can cause some stomach upset in dogs there are better fruits and veggies to give your pup.
The medical director of the ASPCA claims that they see many dogs who have eaten avocados and most of them only experience some very mild stomach upset like nausea, diarrhea, and some vomiting. She claims the biggest concern is the pit of the fruit because this can cause a bad intestinal obstruction in your dog.
The reason why some sources claim avocados are toxic to dogs is that they contain a chemical called persin. Persin is mostly concentrated in the leaves of unripe avocados. Persin is the main ingredient to cause any intense poisoning or extreme stomach upset in dogs if they are exposed to it. The only way a dog may be exposed to this chemical is if they have access to the whole unripe fruit, like from an avocado tree.
Avocados found in supermarkets, in guacamole, or even in dog food are only using the flesh of the avocado - not the leaves, stems, or the pits. Many studies have been done on dog foods that actually contain avocado, like oil or meal. After the studies, it was found that dogs had no adverse reactions to avocado oil or meal in the dog food.
Since the toxicity of avocados only come from persin found in the leaves, pit, stems, and skin, giving your dog the flesh of an avocado is generally found to be safe and healthy in smaller and controlled quantities.
Training Dogs to Eat Avocados Safely
There really is not much training you have to do with your dog in order for them to eat the flesh of an avocado safely. In fact, most of the "training" you will do will actually involve you!
If you decide you would like to give your dog some avocado during the week because of all the numerous health benefits, you must make sure you are preparing the avocado for your dog correctly. Make sure you only feed your dog the flesh of the avocado and not any of the leaves, skin, pit, or stem that may be attached to the fruit.
To serve, cut the avocado in half with a sharp knife. Use the knife to twist out the large pit in the middle of the avocado and discard. Take a spoon and carefully scoop out the bright green flesh of the avocado, leaving all pieces of the skin behind. Be sure the only part of the fruit you have is the bright green flesh.
Your dog may like to eat pieces of the avocado like a treat or you may have more luck getting your dog to eat the avocado if you mash it up and mix it with his food. Start with smaller amounts of avocado to make sure your dog does not have any adverse effects from the fruit, especially if your dog has never eaten any before. If Fido does ok with a small amount after a day, feel free to increase the amount of avocado you give your dog.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 02/16/2018, edited: 04/06/2020