Can Dogs Eat Avocados?

By John Martin - April 5, 2023


Avocados are everywhere. They have taken over breakfast spreads all over the world as they are delicious, healthy and Instagram friendly.

As it becomes a common ingredient in our diet, it is extremely likely that your pooch will get its paws on an avocado at some point.

Even though it appears on many lists of dangerous foods for dogs, avocados are actually safe for dogs. Let’s dive into the risk and benefits of eating avocados for dogs:

Is Avocado Safe for Dogs?

Eating a controlled amount of avocado under human supervision is not dangerous for dogs. Avocados have a lot of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for dogs.

Many packaged dog foods also contain avocados. They have fiber, potassium, amino acids and many essential vitamins.

Naturally, this makes the avocado a good source of nutrition. These factors contribute towards bone health, eyesight and fur quality.

However, eating avocados is not completely risk-free.

Do not give your dog too much avocado. Like everything, avocado is harmful in excessive amounts.

Make sure your pooch stays away from avocado pits and if you have one in your home, other parts of avocado plants.

Risks of Eating Avocados for Dogs

The flesh of the avocado fruit is safe for dogs to consume. However, veterinarians advise against giving your dog too much avocado, as it causes problems in dogs with sensitive digestive systems.

The other parts of the avocado plant, like the leaves and bark, are toxic for animals. They haven’t proved fatal to dogs and cats and it would take a large quantity to cause harm to dogs.

Dogs are not very likely to be munching on the avocado leaves or bark, so you don’t really need to worry about them ingesting parts of the plant. Here are the other risks associated with feeding avocado to your dogs:

Avocado Pulp

The reason that avocados pose a risk to dogs is persin—a fungicidal toxin present in the avocado plant. Avocado pulp, pit, leaves and bark all contain persin.

Most animals fall sick when exposed to persin, but dogs are not affected by small amounts of it. Avocado pulp does not have large amounts of persin.

As long as you do not give your pup too much avocado pulp, it should be fine. If you are feeling anxious, monitor your dog for signs of digestive distress like vomiting or diarrhea up to 24 after feeding it avocado pulp.

The rest of the plant contains higher levels of persin, so it is always a good idea to make sure your dog stays away from avocado plants. Sweep away any leaves or branches shed by the plant and don’t let your dog sniff, lick or chew on the plant.

The skin of the avocado also has higher amounts of persin, so make sure you only give your pup the avocado pulp and avoid every other part of the plant.

Avocado Pit

Avocado pits are the large ball-shaped seeds at the center of the avocado. We always remove them while slicing the avocado.

Avocado pits are quite dangerous for dogs. They contain persin, but the choking hazard posed by the pits is the greater danger to dogs.

You might toss the avocado pit in the trash, but your dog could find it later. Always discard the pit safely and out of reach of your pets.

It is just the right size for a dog to accidentally swallow and there is a high probability of it getting stuck in the dog’s airway.

Alternatively, it might pass the airway safely and get stuck in its intestinal tract instead. Either way, it is potentially fatal for the dog.

If your dog eats an avocado pit, take it to a veterinary doctor immediately. The dog might look okay but is much safer to reach the vet before the situation worsens.

Fat Content

Avocados have a lot of nutritional benefits, one of which is a high level of good fats. However, consuming good fats in excessive amounts is also dangerous for dogs.

Dogs with sensitive stomachs should avoid avocados. Eating too much avocado puts stress on the digestive system and leads to gastrointestinal problems.

The high-fat content can also cause pancreatitis—a life-threatening condition for most dogs.

Do not feed your pup large amounts of avocado; it will do more harm than good.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Is Guacamole Safe for Dogs?

If you ever find your dog looking at you with those irresistible puppy eyes while you enjoy dunking your chips in guacamole, do not give in! Guacamole is not safe for dogs.

Avocado is safe for dogs in moderate amounts, but guacamole has many other ingredients that aren’t healthy for dogs.

Guacamole has onions, garlic and salt which are all harmful to dogs. They can cause an upset stomach at the very least and can prove fatal in extreme cases.

Many dogs suffer from serious problems like kidney damage and organ failure after eating these foods. Therefore, we advise you not to feed guacamole to your pup.

The Right Way to Feed Avocado to Dogs

There are risk-free ways to feed your dog avocados. Here’s how your pup can enjoy the nutritional benefits of avocados without suffering any ill effects:

Small Portions

Feed only small amounts of avocado to your dog. Do not make it a part of their daily diet.

You already know that persin and high-fat content levels are not good for the health of your dog. Avocados should be an occasional treat, not a part of every meal.

Plain Avocado

Only give plain avocado flesh to your dog. Do not give them guacamole or any other avocado dishes.

Avocados have high-fat content and aren’t the easiest to digest. Giving your dog a fancy avocado dish will only make it harder for them to digest.

The other ingredients in the dish might not be healthy for your dog. Always keep a list of toxic ingredients and avoid all foods that may contain any of these ingredients.

Just the Flesh

Remember that other parts of the avocado plant have high levels of persin. If you have an avocado plant or tree in your vicinity, make sure your dog always maintains a safe distance from it.

Diligently remove the skin of the avocado and dispose of the pit and the skins in a place where your dogs can’t get at them.

The avocado skins can cause stomach upsets and the pit is a choking hazard—a little carefulness on your part could save your dog’s life.

If you suspect that your dog is experiencing harmful effects from eating avocados or any other part of the plant, call the Animal Poison Control helpline immediately.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Kiwi?

Keeping Your Dog Safe

Here are a few things you can do as a responsible pet owner to keep your dog safe from toxic substances:

  • Educate all the members of your house on the foods that are unsafe for dogs. Tell them the correct method of feeding avocado to your dog and remind them to keep the avocado skins and pits away from the dog.
  • Keep a list of foods that are dangerous to your pets handy. You can stick it to the refrigerator so that you or someone else taking care of your pet can consult it while preparing food for your pup.
  • Most dogs love rummaging through the trash and munching on food that they aren’t supposed to eat.

    If your dog does this too, get a dog-proof trash can. It will save you the trouble of trying to determine what your dog ate and if it needs medical attention.

    You also won’t need to be constantly vigilant and don’t need to worry about your dog going fishing in the trash and eating something dangerous.

Packaged Avocado Dog Food

Since avocado is all the rage right now, a lot of dog food companies have created avocado oils, meals and healthy dog food. They are advertised as being free of persin and perfectly safe for dogs to consume.

While they may be safe for dogs, it doesn’t mean that they contain no persin. Much like avocado flesh, they contain small amounts which aren’t harmful to dogs.

Commercial dog foods may actually be a good source of vitamins and fiber, which are beneficial to dogs. They also improve the condition of their skin and coat.

In any case, the best way to determine if a certain dog food agrees with your dog is by feeding it and observing your dog’s behavior.

If you see your dog experience any symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, itching or excessive panting, stop giving them the avocado dog food. Go back to a tried and tested dog food that doesn’t have any side effects.

Bear in mind that the side effects your dog experiences may not be caused by the avocado. Commercial avocado dog foods are made with avocado oil or avocado meal, so they contain very small amounts of avocado.

Always check the label for the list of ingredients so that you know exactly what your pet is eating. You should consult your veterinary doctor to find out if your pooch is allergic to any of the ingredients.

Safe Foods

Avocados are safe for dogs when consumed at moderate levels and provide a lot of nutritional benefits too. However, they pose a significant risk to your dog’s health.

There are many foods that your dog can safely snack on. Fruits like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pears and apples are all safe for dogs and offer amazing health benefits too.

Vegetables like carrots, kale, beets, broccoli, celery and cucumber are all cheap and healthy foods that contain a lot of fiber, antioxidants and minerals. You can prepare them in a variety of ways like steaming, blanching or pureeing.

A very easy way to prepare a fruit or veggie snack for your pup is to puree it and pour it into an ice tray. You will have a refreshing, healthy treat for your dog that takes no time to prepare.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Applesauce?

Parting Thoughts

Avocados are not toxic for dogs. But they do need to be handled with caution.

Like most foods, avocados are only good for dogs in moderate amounts. You need to be careful not to overindulge when you feed your dog avocados.

As long as you keep your dog away from the toxic parts of the avocado plant, there is no reason that they would suffer any harmful effects from eating avocados.