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Avocados are an up-and-coming vegetable. Everyone seems to be finding new ways to enjoy this delicious food, from adding it to their BLTs to putting it on toast. The question is: Will our pups be able to enjoy this healthy treat with us?
The list of fruits and vegetables that we use in our diets is pretty long, and it can be hard to keep track of which ones our furry family members can eat and which ones they can’t.
Even if you aren’t looking to make meals of your own for your four-legged friend, you might be concerned that your dog will get into fruits or vegetables you have around the house, especially if you have a small family member with a habit of dropping food on the floor.
We understand that being a good pet parent can be difficult and overwhelming. As pet parents ourselves, we’ve felt the anxiety and relief that comes with not knowing if something our fur baby got ahold of is dangerous or not and finding out that it isn’t through a little research.
Avocado is a nutritious and delicious vegetable for us, but can our dogs receive the same benefits from avocado that we do? Let’s find out.
Imagine that you have prepared a delicious piece of avocado toast. As you sit at the table enjoying your snack, you notice two big, pleading eyes staring at you, asking for a piece. Can you allow your adorable pup to try some of your avocado toast?
The answer is complicated. Although small amounts of avocado flesh can be perfectly harmless, avocado is a vegetable that contains a substance, persin, that is toxic to many animals, including dogs. Dogs, however, are more resistant to the persin than other animals.
Some experts would advise against feeding your pup avocado since many other, safer vegetables provide the same nutritional benefits. However, it is possible to give your dog some avocado. It’s just best to avoid giving them a large amount.
Persin is a toxin that is supposed to kill fungi, usually a parasitic type, and it can be dangerous for dogs in a high enough amount. Although no one is really sure how much persin would be lethal, large doses of persin can cause damage to the heart muscle, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Usually, the flesh of the avocado has only small amounts of persin. Other parts of the plant tend to have a higher amount of persin. Parts other than the flesh can also present a choking hazard, especially the pit, which is almost the size of a golf ball.
Avocados also have a high fat content, so if your dog eats too much avocado, they won’t be able to process all the extra fat properly, which can contribute to pancreatitis.
Avocados can occasionally be a good treat for your furry friend, as long as you are careful not to give them too much of it at once.
We’ve mentioned that it’s best to serve only small amounts of avocado to your pup, but what exactly does that mean? How much avocado is okay to serve your dog?
It’s usually best to only give your dog a few thin slices of avocado if you decide to add this vegetable to one of your pup’s meals. In such small amounts, the fat content should supplement your dog’s diet, and the persin shouldn’t cause any harm. Just make sure to keep an eye out for allergic reactions or tummy troubles.
Although the flesh of the avocado has only a small amount of persin, other parts of the plant contain a lot more of this toxin, specifically the skin, pit, stem, and leaves.
Most avocados that you buy from the store only have the skin and the pit, with maybe a little bit of the stem, so you don’t really need to worry about the leaves of this plant unless you are in an area where avocado trees are grown.
If there are avocado trees in your neighborhood or on your property, you might want to consider creating safety measures for your pup, like fencing in the yard or keeping your pup on a leash when outside.
At home, you should make sure that any avocados you have are out of reach of your pup. You should also make sure that everyone who is old enough in your household understands the potential risks of leaving an avocado, avocado peel, or avocado pit within reach of the dog.
The pit can also present a choking hazard to your dog since it is pretty big compared to other seeds.
One of the reasons that avocado is so popular is because of the many health benefits that it provides. We know that it’s good for us, but is it also good for our dogs? After all, some foods that aren’t bad for our furry family members aren’t good for them either.
Fortunately, avocados have plenty of health benefits for dogs too. They contain nutrients like:
These vitamins and nutrients keep your pup’s coat nice and glossy, protect your dog’s cells from being damaged, promote bone, skin, and digestive health, and can protect your pup from cancer.
Avocados can provide vitamins, minerals, and fats that are part of a dog’s balanced diet.
We enjoy avocados in many different ways. We use it to make toast, we put it on our sandwiches, and we use it to make a dip for chips. Since avocado is such a flexible vegetable, there have to be plenty of different ways to give it to your pup.
One of the best ways to add avocado to your pup’s diet without the risks of giving too much to them is by purchasing dog food that has avocado meal or avocado oil. These products lack the persin that causes avocados to be dangerous since it is removed in the production process.
If you plan on giving unprocessed avocado to your dog, it is best to give them plain avocado, although you can mix the few slices in with other dog-friendly foods as a part of one of your dog’s meals.
You could also make baked treats or dog-friendly guacamole if you want to try something a bit fancier.
Since there are plenty of ways to serve avocado to your dog, you shouldn’t really be sharing your avocado snacks with your pup. Many of the products that have avocado in them that we enjoy aren’t good for our dogs.
For example, guacamole is a common snack with avocado in it, and you might think it’s okay to share a little bit with your dog since it combines many healthy vegetables. Unfortunately, guacamole also usually has things like onions, garlic, and salt, all of which can be harmful for dogs to eat.
Although avocado does contain a harmful ingredient, the flesh can provide your pets with some nutritional benefits since it only has a small amount of persin. There isn’t enough in the flesh of the avocado to harm your pup, as long as you only give them a few thin slices.
The skin, stem, leaves, and pit contain more of the toxin, though, so it’s best to keep your dog away from those. The pit can also present a choking hazard.
On the other hand, the nutrients in the avocado can help keep your dog’s coat, bones, and eyes healthy, as well as aid your dog’s digestion and protect them from cancer.
Whether or not you give your dog avocado is up to you and your dog’s vet. They can help you figure out whether it’s worth it to add avocado to your pup’s diet. Many other vegetables and fruits have similar nutritional benefits without the risks, so you may choose one of those instead.
If you notice your dog having a negative reaction after eating avocado, whether vomiting or a rash or one of the other symptoms of either allergies or a persin overdose, it’s best to call your dog’s vet. Policyholders of a pet insurance plan provided by Spot can consult with a specialist using a 24/7 pet telehealth service provided by VetConnect™.
A good pet parent will always want what’s best for their pet, and that is why it’s always important to do your research before feeding your pup a new food. A happy dog is a healthy, well-fed dog with a pet parent that loves and cares for them, whether you have a vizsla or a chow chow.
If your dog tends to turn up its nose at a treat that’s been offered many times before, or if you simply want to add variety to their diet, you can try these fruits as well:
Remember that grapes and raisins are never fruits you should feed your dog. These have particular enzymes in them that are toxic to dogs—avoid grapes and raisins around your dog like you avoid chocolate! We have compiled a big list of all the fruits your dogs should eat here.
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