Pet parents are often torn about whether it’s safe to feed avocado to their dogs. And rightly so — there’s plenty of misinformation available about the health benefits and dangers of dogs eating avocados. So, can dogs eat avocados?
Avocados can be consumed by dogs, and because they contain healthy fats and nutrients, they can serve as a healthy way to boost your dog’s food. But there are a few important safety protocols to follow, and dog owners must understand all the parts not to feed and how much to feed.
In this article, we’ll cover the parts of the avocado that are dangerous for your dog to consume, the health benefits of avocados for dogs, and how much avocado to feed a dog.
Are Avocados Safe for Dogs?
While the meat of avocados is generally safe to feed your dog, you’ll want to make sure to avoid feeding the avocado pit and skin, and the leaves of the avocado tree. The avocado pit poses a major choking hazard and can get stuck in your dog’s intestinal tract, causing a life-threatening blockage.
Also, the avocado pit, skin, and leaves contain a fungicidal substance called persin, which is toxic to dogs if they ingest enough of it. Persin is also found in the avocado flesh but isn’t concentrated enough to be a concern. It’s much more concentrated in the avocado leaves, pit, and skin of the avocado plant.
This means you’ll want to avoid feeding your dog the avocado pit, skin and leaves to avoid any unwanted side effects. Be sure to consult your veterinarian or pet emergency hospital if your dog has ingested any parts of the avocado she shouldn’t or is showing signs of gastrointestinal upset after consuming avocado.
Because persin is in the flesh of the avocado, pet parents will want to make sure to feed only small amounts to their dog. Too much avocado can cause gastrointestinal upset, as large amounts of persin can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Avocado also has a high fat content and is high in calories. Dogs who cannot tolerate additional fat in their diet, or who have pancreatitis, should avoid avocado altogether. While an avocado contains healthy fats, dogs who cannot absorb excess fat will be prone to gastrointestinal problems if they consume too much avocado or other fatty foods. Also, if your dog is prone to obesity or is trying to lose weight, then it might be a good idea to skip the avocado until your pooch’s weight is under control.
Here's the bottom line: Avocado fruit is safe to feed to your dog in moderation. Only feed your dog a small amount of avocado flesh, and be sure to avoid the pit, skin, and leaves. If your dog can't tolerate extra fat in the diet, avoid feeding them avocado.
What Are the Health Benefits of Avocados?
Avocado is a very healthy fruit that is rich in nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex vitamins. Avocados are most known for their healthy fats content. These beneficial fatty acids found in avocados are not only anti-inflammatory but can also improve heart health. You don’t need a lot of avocado to benefit from its nutrients. For example, even 1 teaspoon of avocado is loaded with folate, beta carotene, lutein and more vitamins and minerals mentioned below.
Vitamin E: This is a critical vitamin for a dog’s skin and coat health. It also can reduce oxidative stress and cellular damage throughout the body. Because it is an antioxidant, vitamin E also supports overall immune system function and lowers inflammatory responses in the body.
Native Pet's Relief Chicken Chews are also packed with Vitamin E and can help alleviate your dog's joint pain and improve their long-term joint health. They're a great option if your dog is getting older.
Niacin: Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is necessary for energy metabolism and helps support brain function and neurotransmitters. Niacin is a very important vitamin that repairs DNA if it gets damaged.
Lutein: This carotenoid (a pigment that acts as an antioxidant) is only found in plants. It has many anti-inflammatory properties and can help greatly in improving your dog’s eye health. It’s also been shown to aid or even prevent age-related diseases.
Folate: Folate is part of the B vitamins (B9), and it’s critical in helping control anemia while supporting the other B vitamins as they help with the many systems in a dog’s body. Folate is necessary to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow and to convert carbohydrates to energy.
Is Avocado Oil Safe for Dogs?
We've learned that the flesh of the avocado is safe for dogs in moderation and has various nutritional benefits. But what about avocado oil? Can dogs eat avocados in this form?
Like avocado flesh, you can feed your dog avocado oil in moderation. It's packed with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation in the body and help with skin and coat health. But it's fairly high in fat content, like avocados themselves, so your dog could have an upset stomach if they eat too much.
If you want to give your dog avocado oil, try sprinkling a bit over your dog's normal kibble. It's a good way to give your dog's meal a little nutritional boost. Plus, it can entice your pooch into eating if they're a picky eater. Another option is to use an oil product made just for dogs, like Native Pet's Omega Oil.
How Can Dogs Eat Avocados as a Healthy Treat?
The best way to feed avocado to your pup as a healthy treat or regular addition to your dog’s diet is to avoid feeding large amounts. In this case, large animals should not necessarily eat more avocado. Stick to feeding your dog small amounts to minimize the risk of toxicity. Two or three bite-sized chunks are more than enough to give your dog a tasty treat without risking their health.
Remember to cut avocado flesh into small, bite-sized pieces to make it easy to swallow and minimize your dog's choking risk.
Can dogs eat avocados in other foods? Avoid store-bought guacamole — this human food usually has additives like onion and spices that are not safe to feed to your dog. And it's safest to skip other common avocado meals, such as avocado toast. However, you can make your dog a high-quality homemade dog-friendly guacamole by mashing avocado and adding in dog-friendly fruits and vegetables.
Overall, feeding avocado (flesh) to your dog is safe and has many health benefits. Stick to these guidelines we’ve given you so when your dog eats avocado, he can easily digest and absorb all the nutrient benefits of avocado.For more wellness advice, join my Community on Dogly where you can ask questions and get 24/7 access to me and other certified experts across dog nutrition, training and behavior, and wellness. Visit the Native Pet blog for more great insights into your canine companion's health and nutrition.