Can dogs eat avocado?
Avocado is often included in different recipes and products for dog snacks and treats, yet it also appears on lists of foods that you should avoid giving to dogs. So what’s the truth about feeding avocados to dogs? Let’s clear up the confusion around dogs and avocado and learn more about the topic, “can dogs eat avocado” with our Trupanion veterinarian.
Can dogs have avocado?
Dogs are omnivores and benefit from many different fruits and vegetables the same way humans do: nutritional value. As long as you don’t give your dog large quantities of avocado at once, and make sure they don’t eat the plant, most dogs will be fine.
The biggest concern with avocados is the pit at the center of the fruit. Dogs are curious and may try to eat anything, which means they may attempt to eat the seed. This could cause a blockage of the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, although choking is rare in pets, it becomes a life-threatening emergency if the pit becomes lodged in a dog’s airway or esophagus.
Is avocado bad for dogs?
Avocados contain a chemical called persin, found in the avocado peel, pit, stem, and plant leaves—which is the reason avocado gets a bad rap. But, as it turns out, our canine friends are mostly resistant to it. Still, it’s a good idea to keep your dog away from the avocado plant to be safe. You should only serve your dog the soft insides of a ripe avocado.
If you are lucky enough to have an avocado tree in your yard, don’t let your dog nibble at it. Clean up any branches, leaves or other debris that fall from the tree. The exact amount of persin that is lethal to dogs is unknown, but in large quantities, it can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage.
The nutritional benefits of avocado for dogs
Though too much avocado can cause problems, a small amount may improve the glossiness of your dog’s coat and support skin health. Omega fatty acids are also good anti-inflammatories and the antioxidants found in avocado may support a dog’s immune system, as in humans. In fact, avocado is actually a good way to get plenty of healthy nutrients into your pet food recipes—as long as you use it in moderation.
The nutritional benefits of avocado include:
- Vitamins A, B3, B6, C and E—good for healthy skin and coat, strong bones, and eyesight
- Omega fatty acids—responsible for a healthy and shiny coat
- Niacin, folate, antioxidants, and potassium—may help fight various diseases
- And fiber, magnesium, and amino acids—good for digestive health and muscle development
However, avocados are high in fat, which has the potential to increase the risk of obesity or pancreatitis. Some dogs have medical conditions that require low-fat diets, while others can develop GI upset, diarrhea or vomiting if they eat too much. This means, as a general rule, only feed dogs avocado in small amounts.
What to do if your dog ate avocado by accident
If your dog does react negatively to avocado, then you should obviously avoid giving it to them. However, your dog may find an avocado and eat it, skin and all, meaning that there is a potential for further problems.
The most likely result of your dog eating too much avocado, or ingesting the skin or stalk of the fruit, is that they will either vomit or have diarrhea. Should your dog vomit or have diarrhea more than one or two times, contact your veterinarian.
What to do if your dog ate avocado pit
If your dog managed to swallow the pit whole, or even to break it into pieces, then obstruction becomes a concern. You should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if they choke on the seed, or if diarrhea/vomiting is persistent and/or worsening. The danger with the seed is that it could become trapped in the throat or cause more problems further down the digestive tract. The sooner your dog is seen by a veterinarian in these cases, the better their prognosis is for a full recovery.
Signs of choking include:
- Difficulty breathing
If you suspect your dog has swallowed an avocado pit, call your veterinarian right away. Unless recommended by your veterinarian, do not try to induce vomiting at home.
Safe avocado recipes for dogs
There are dog foods and treats made with avocado for purchase, but another way to provide your dog with nutritious and tasty avocado treats, is by making them yourself. Check out the dog-friendly avocado recipes below!
- 1 avocado, peeled and pit removed
- 2 cups oat flour
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice your peeled and pitted avocado into the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the oat flour and pulse to combine.
- Add the eggs and pulse to combine.
- Add more flour as necessary to get a workable dough.
- Turn out onto a parchment lined surface and roll to an even 1/4 inch thickness.
- Cut out and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just browned around the edges.
- ⅓ cup mashed avocado (skin & pit removed)
- ⅔ cup peanut butter (make sure it does not contain xylitol)
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup oats
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Blend all of the wet ingredients together, then add in the remaining dry ingredients and combine to form a soft dough.
- Using a spoon to measure out even portions, roll the dough into balls and then flatten each ball onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely before serving, then store in an airtight container.
The bottom line
With any human food, you always need to be mindful when giving to your best friend. By talking with your veterinarian, following their recommendations, and monitoring your pet, you pet can enjoy a tasty avocado treat from time to time.
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