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Corgi smelling an avocado

The essentials

  • While avocado flesh has less persin, it can still be too much — It might seem okay to give in small quantities, but the flesh of the avocado can still cause health issues in dogs. It is best to avoid feeding it altogether.
  • Avocado oil is a good alternative for your dog — Avocado oil does not contain any of the fungicidal toxin persin that causes the flesh and other parts to be dangerous. Large quantities of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids make it a good addition to your dog’s food.
  • Make sure to dispose of your avocado waste properly — If your dog is known for getting into trash and eating hidden treasures, ensure that your trash with avocado pieces is secured. The pit, skin, and leaves can be dangerous or lethal.

Can dogs eat avocado? The quick answer: absolutely not.

Avocado flesh is known for being a healthy fat with plenty of nutrients that can help humans, but it is not the same for our pets. Downright lethal to animals like birds and livestock, it is best to keep avocados away from your dog.

The skin, leaves, plant, and pit contain high levels of persin, which can cause stomach issues like diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly pancreatitis. Additionally, the pit runs the risk of becoming lodged in your dog’s intestinal tract, needing surgery to clear.

The nutritional content of avocados 

There is no doubt that avocados provide a lot of health benefits for humans, including:

  • Vitamins and minerals. Avocados are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, fiber, B vitamins, and other nutrients like potassium.
  • Healthy fats. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help with lowering cholesterol.

Persin toxicity and avocado

Avocados have a naturally occurring, oil-soluble toxin called persin. It is largely concentrated in the fruit’s leaves, bark, seeds, pit, and skin but spreads into the flesh. Persin is not harmful to humans and is used in laboratory studies to kill cancer cells.

The same cannot be said for dogs. Consuming even small amounts of persin can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Persin can lead to difficulty breathing, organ failure, and even death in other animals, like birds and livestock.

Benefits of avocado for dogs

While there is no benefit to feeding your dog the fruit itself, avocado oil and dog foods containing avocado oil are very healthy for your dog. You can add a tablespoon of avocado oil to your dog’s kibble for benefits like:

  • Omega fatty acids for a healthy coat. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your dog’s coat nice and shiny while also helping to decrease inflammation in their joints.
  • Vitamin E for skin health. Vitamin E can help your dog’s skin by keeping it from drying out and becoming flaky. It also helps to keep their coat glossy.

Health risks of feeding avocado to dogs

Some sources will make it seem that small amounts of avocado won’t hurt your dog, but the American Kennel Club has found that some dogs suffer from severe toxic reactions with tiny amounts.

  • Persin toxicity. The large amounts of persin in avocados can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal tract issues.
  • Choking hazard. While containing high amounts of persin, avocado pits are also a choking hazard. It can get lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestines. If your dog swallows the pit of an avocado, it is important to get immediate medical attention.
  • Pancreatitis. With a high fat content, avocado flesh could cause health issues for your dog, leading to weight gain and possibly pancreatitis.

🚨 Please contact your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately if you suspect that your dog has eaten an avocado pit, flesh, or a whole fruit. 

There are foods that are well-known for being dangerous for your dogs, like garlic, onions, and grapes and raisins. It is important to check with your veterinarian to see if different foods are dog-safe before giving them as a treat.

Frequently asked questions

Can dogs have a little bit of avocado?

While the AKC says that a small amount of avocado is okay for some dogs, it is best to avoid it altogether to save you and your pup unnecessary worry.

How much avocado is good for dogs?

Avocado should be avoided, but avocado oil may be very good for your dog. The oil does not contain toxic persin, and it can offer various health benefits including healthy skin, glossy coats, and decreased inflammation of the joints and skin.

What parts of the avocado are harmful to dogs?

The stem, leaves, skin, and pit all contain high amounts of persin, with the pit being a dangerous choking and bowel obstruction hazard.

Why shouldn’t dogs eat avocados, grapes, or onions?

Avocado contains persin, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. Grapes contain toxins that can cause kidney failure. Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage and break down a dog’s red blood cells, causing anemia .

How can I give my dog avocado oil?

Some dog food brands, such as AvoDerm, have avocado oil in their ingredients. Additionally, adding a tablespoon of avocado oil to your dog’s food can work to provide key nutrients.