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So, can dogs eat avocado? The answer is a complicated no and yes. On the one hand, some parts of the avocado plant are deadly to dogs. On the other hand, avocado might be OK for certain dogs. Basically, avocado remains the center of controversial debates, even among dogs.

Of the many beneficial fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat, avocado, frankly, is at the bottom of the list. We’ll break down why some avocado advocates think differently and when avocado can be harmless.

Can Dogs Have Avocado? Why Avocado Is Bad for Dogs

According to the American Kennel Club, avocados can be bad for dogs because they contain a fungicidal toxic called persin, which can cause:

●      Vomiting

●      Diarrhea

●      Decreased appetite

●      Heart damage and even

●      Death.2

If your dog has gotten their paws on your stash of avocados, call your vet if they exhibit any of the above symptoms.

Persin is most potent in the avocado tree itself, the skin, and avocado pit. Still, the avocado flesh does contain small amounts of persin, though there isn’t enough research into how much avocado is fatal to dogs. Avocados also have high fat content, which can cause pancreatitis in dogs, a serious illness that elderly dogs are especially prone to.

Deconstructing The Avocado

Every dog owner should be aware what risk each part of the avocado poses:

●      Flesh: Avocado flesh itself is mildly toxic to dogs, so don’t panic if your companion manages to steal a small slice of peeled avocado. Just keep an eye on them for 24 to 48 hours, and watch for the symptoms listed above.

●      Skin: Aside from the leaves, the skin has the highest concentration of persin. Additionally, the skin is highly fibrous and difficult to digest. Pay close attention to your dog if they’ve consumed avocado skin in any amount and contact your vet.

●      Pit: If your dog consumes an avocado pit, call your vet right away. Avocado pits are a serious choking hazard and cause for intestinal obstruction, which requires surgery to remove.

●      Avocado trees: If you’re blessed to live in avocado country, make sure you train your dog to avoid fallen avocados and their leaves. Stay aware of any constipation or straining, as your dog may have ingested a pit and need emergency medical attention. Seriously, invest in a trainer — it may save your dog’s life.

When Is Avocado Good for Dogs?

We all know that dog with the stomach of steel. They seem to easily digest trash and may sneak an avocado here and there. According to the American Kennel Club, every dog responds differently to persin. Your dog may do just fine with a small avocado snack here and there.2

The health benefits of avocados can largely be attributed to their healthy fatty acids and are not unique to this singular stone fruit. Given its stellar reputation and fanbase among humans, you may notice some dog food products and supplements that name avocado meal and oil in the ingredients list.

You should talk to your vet before making changes in your dog’s daily diet.

FAQs About Dogs and Avocados

Can dogs have guacamole?

No—dogs should not eat guacamole. The large amounts of avocado flesh, and its associated toxins, combined with onions, garlic, jalepeño peppers, and salt would pose a risk to your dog’s health.

Can dogs have avocado oil?

Yes — dogs can safely eat avocado oil. Interestingly, avocado oil is free from persin, making it safe for dogs to consume in small amounts. Like with any additional oil supplemented with pet food, limit the quantity to spare your pup any gut irritation.

Supervise Any Amount of Avocado Consumption

Between the toxins, potential for choking, and surgery, the safest bet is to avoid avocados altogether. More importantly, train your dog to avoid fallen avocados if you have the human benefit of avocado trees in your backyard.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t always control what our dogs choose to view as food or chew toys. Find out how pet insurance works for you for routine exams and emergencies alike. For an added layer of protection, consider adding a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 American Kennel Club, Anna Burke, 2020