Maybe. Peeled and pitted, avocados are fine for dogs to eat and may even provide some health benefits, but they must be served in moderation and prepared with care.
First a note about persin. Avocado trees contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This toxin is more concentrated in the leaves, pit and skin of an avocado, but there are low levels contained in the flesh as well. Depending on which parts and how much is consumed, avocados can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and myocardial damage.
Additionally, as they are dense in calories and with a high fat content, consuming the flesh of avocado in large quantities has the potential to lead to GI upset and pancreatitis and also to weight gain. Another concern is the stone at the center of the fruit, which may cause choking and intestinal blockages.
Even though the pulp or flesh of avocado is fairly safe for dogs, keep in mind that it can be toxic or harmful for other animals in or around your house. According to the ASPCA, avocado can be toxic to horses, birds, goats and rabbits.
Benefits of Avocado for Dogs
While there are some health benefits to avocados—including vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants—these benefits can be obtained by feeding other foods that are lower in fat and do not contain the risk of inducing pancreatitis. If you want to give the benefits of avocado to your dog, look for vet-approved prepared foods containing this fruit.
What If My Dog Eats Avocado
Things happen, and despite your best efforts, your dog might get hold of this fruit. Here is what you need to know about how to respond for consumption of each part of an avocado.
Flesh: Since avocado flesh is mildly toxic to dogs, a slice of peeled avocado is unlikely to make your dog sick, says Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP, but consumed in larger quantities or avocados eaten whole (stolen from your counter or gathered dropped from an avocado tree), it can be a concern. If you dog does eat avocado in any amount, keep an eye on them for 24-48 hours after eating avocado flesh, and report any vomiting, diarrhea or decreased appetite to your veterinarian.
Skin: Not only does the skin have a larger concentration of the toxin persin and therefore poses a greater risk of vomiting or diarrhea even if eaten in smaller amounts, this outer layer is tough and difficult to digest. If your dog manages to eat the skin of an avocado, watch for symptoms and consult your vet immediately.
Pit: The pit of an avocado doesn’t digest particularly well in a dog’s intestinal tract and might cause a gastric or an intestinal blockage. Once a dog eats an avocado pit—if the dog’s system is not able to process it—the pit will become stuck partway through the intestinal tract. Always contact your vet for recommendations soon after the pit is ingested. If you notice your dog is vomiting, straining to poop, in pain or acting lethargic, have them examined by a veterinarian right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Is avocado poisonous to dogs?
A:Avocado peel, leaves and pits contain concentrated amounts of persin, a fungicidal toxin with the potential to cause serious health problems. These should never be served to your dog. The pulp or flesh of an avocado has less concentration of persin and small amounts are typically considered safe for dogs. Consult with your vet before offering any amount of avocado to your canine.
Q:Can dogs eat avocado pit?
A:No, dogs should not eat the pit of an avocado. Aside from being a choking hazard and potentially causing intestinal obstructions, avocado pits also contain a more concentrated amount of persin than the fruit’s flesh.
Q:Can dogs eat guacamole?
A:No, it’s not recommended that dogs eat guacamole. Aside from the potential of illness from toxins in avocados and fats from large amounts of avocado pulp, guacamole typically contains added ingredients that are not safe for your pup, such as salt, onions and garlic.
Q:Can dogs eat avocado peel?
A:No, dogs should never consume avocado peel which has a higher concentration of persin and if eaten by accident can be very difficult for your pup to digest.
Q:Can dogs eat avocado oil?
A:While oil as a high fat content, yes, dogs can eat avocado oil as it does not contain the toxin persin.
Best Dog Foods With Avocado
Before serving any new foods, even healthy ones such as fresh strawberries to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)