You were slicing an avocado for your Cobb salad, and your black Labrador Retriever scarfed up a slice that slid off the cutting board. You panic.
Are avocados poisonous to dogs? Should you take your dog to the emergency clinic? Or are avocados actually good for dogs?
Relax and take a deep breath. It is likely that your pup will be just fine. Here’s everything you need to know about dogs and avocados.
Can Dogs Have Avocados?
Here’s a breakdown of each part of an avocado and whether dogs can eat it.
Avocado pulp is not toxic to dogs, and there are some health benefits to eating the flesh of an avocado—including vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants. However, avocados are also high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the digestive organ called the pancreas. In some cases, this condition can even be fatal. Some dogs can develop pancreatitis even if they only eat a small amount of avocado pulp.
You can give your dog the same benefits that they would get from avocados by feeding them other foods that are lower in fat and do not come with the risk of pancreatitis.
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—if their system is not able to process the pit—it will become stuck partway through the intestinal tract. If this happens, the only treatment is to surgically remove it—just as if it was a rock, rubber ball, or any other indigestible object.
Avocado Leaves, Bark, and Skin
The one known poison in avocados is persin. Dogs and cats do not appear to be sensitive to this poison, although other animals certainly are.
Persin is a natural antifungal compound that can be produced within the avocado plant. The levels of persin vary between different types of avocados and other external factors. It is present in the leaves, skin, seeds, and fruit of the avocado.
Ingestion of large amounts of persin might bother a dog’s stomach, but your dog would have to eat a lot of leaves, bark, or avocado peels. Although dogs might eat the pits, not many dogs will sit down to graze on a meal of avocado leaves.
Can Dogs Eat Guacamole?
No, dogs should not be given guacamole. One of the things that makes it so tasty to humans is all the additional ingredients that are added to it, like onion, garlic, and salt. Garlic and onion are dangerous for dogs, and salt is not healthy for them. It might be okay to share a small amount of avocado with your dog, but guacamole should stay off limits.
Can Dogs Have Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil isn’t toxic to dogs because it does not contain persin, and it’s high in the anti-inflammatory compounds of vitamin E and omega fatty acids. However, it’s still not considered safe for dogs. This is because it’s very high in fat, which can trigger pancreatitis in susceptible dogs. It is safest to avoid it altogether.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Avocado?
Allergies develop with repeated exposures over time. If you are frequently sharing avocado with your dog, it is certainly possible for them to develop a food allergy, but this would be considered rare.
What To Do if Your Dog Eats Avocado
Dogs that develop pancreatitis often start with mild signs of vomiting, which can progress to become life-threatening with time. If your dog has eaten the pit or appears to be choking on part of the avocado, this is an emergency, and you should go to an emergency facility as quickly as possible.
How Vets Treat Dogs That Ate Too Much Avocado
Most dogs that have eaten too much avocado and are showing signs of gastrointestinal distress are treated with fluids and medications to try and relieve their discomfort.
If your dog seems to be having more severe symptoms, your veterinarian will likely recommend a blood panel as well as x-rays. If pancreatitis has developed, your dog will probably need to stay in the hospital for treatment with IV fluids and injectable medications to relieve the inflammation in their pancreas.
Fortunately, eating too much avocado is uncommon in dogs. However, if your pet did eat a lot and starts showing signs of an upset tummy, it is likely time to visit the veterinarian to determine the proper treatment.
Featured Image: iStock/SolStock
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