Health & Wellness
We are all about letting dogs in on food trends (like barkuterie boards, for example) but avocados are one popular bite that you may want to avoid giving your pup. While they can technically eat the “meat” part (what we use to make guacamole), there are certain parts of this veggie that can cause your dog harm.
(Always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)
Most dogs eat avocado meat without any issues but, even with that said, this food may not be worth feeding to your dog. (As always, talk to your veterinarian before you indulge your pet.)
If you decide to serve your pup avocado, skip the skin, pit and stems, as they contain a toxin called persin. Dogs (and cats) are rarely affected by persin (so don’t panic if your dog accidently gets a hold of something they should avoid), but it’s best to keep these factors out of paws’ reach anyway. And note that persin is poisonous to birds and other animals such as cows, goats and sheep.
Another reason to avoid avocados is because of their high-fat content, which may lead to an upset stomach or pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). Pancreatitis can cause the following signs:
• Abdominal pain
Keep in mind that an avocado pit (which a dog may mistake for a ball or toy) is also a choking hazard or, if swallowed, can get lodged in the intestines causing an obstruction.
If you think your dog is choking, look out for pawing at their mouth, gagging or retching, coughing, turning blue, silence or collapsing. When a dog is choking, it’s important to act fast. Swipe their throat using your finger, perform the Heimlich maneuver or do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Read our article to learn how to act fast in emergency choking situations.
Unfortunately, avocados may not be the best choice for your pup. Luckily, there are many more treats to go around. If you want to share a treat of a similar texture with your pup, try boiled summer squash or baked butternut squash. Just hold the butter, oils, salt and other seasonings and wait until cool to serve. Squash mirrors the texture of avocado without the fat and is a healthy, high-fiber, low-calorie alternative. Just remember treats should not exceed 10% of your pet’s daily calories — your vet can help you decipher the best treat serving size for your dog.
RELATED: Can dogs eat broccoli?
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If you think your dog ate an avocado pit, skin or stems contact your vet (especially if you notice any vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy). When introducing your dog to new foods it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan, so you can act fast. Here are some quick steps to get you started:
• Write down the address and phone number of your nearest animal emergency room.
• Post the Pet Poison Helpline number (855-764-7661) in a convenient location and save the number to your phone’s contact list.
• Keep a pet first aid kit in your car and house.
• Organize and have all of your pets’ medical records and vaccination information handy.
Next time you’re preparing a piece of avocado toast, it’s OK to be selfish and keep it out of your pup’s reach. Luckily for them, there are several other sharable, pup-friendly foods.
We’re confident that they aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.