Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Is Avocado Oil Safe for Dogs?



Question: Can dogs eat avocados or avocado oil?

Verdict: Only small quantities of the avocado flesh – the pit, skin, and leaves are toxic to dogs.

Verdict Explanation: While it is not typically recommended, avocados can be safe for dogs to consume in small quantities, specifically the flesh, while the pit, skin, and leaves should be avoided due to the presence of persin, a toxic compound. It’s crucial to monitor portion size and be aware of any signs of an allergic reaction.

Parts of an Avocado

  • Flesh of Avocado The flesh of an avocado is rich in healthy fats and nutrients, beneficial in moderation. However, it’s vital to consider individual dog’s dietary needs and potential allergies.
  • Pit, Skin, and Leaves The pit and skin of avocados, along with the leaves, contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can be harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities. These parts also pose choking hazards and should be kept away from pets.

Nutritional Benefits vs. Risks

Avocados offer a complex mix of benefits and risks for dogs.

  • Healthy Fats and Vitamins Avocados are a source of monounsaturated fats, which can support coat health and reduce inflammation. They also provide vitamins E, A, and B6, promoting overall health in dogs.
  • Potential Health Risks The risks include potential weight gain, pancreatitis due to high fat content, and persin toxicity. Symptoms of toxicity include gastrointestinal upset, breathing difficulties, and fluid accumulation around the heart.

Avocado Meal in Canine Diets

What is avocado meal?

  • Avocado meal refers to the ground or processed form of avocado, often made from the dried remnants of the fruit after the oil has been extracted. This meal is typically used as an ingredient in various products, including animal feed and dietary supplements. In the context of dog food, avocado meal may be included as a source of fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats.

A study investigated avocado meal as a dietary fiber source in extruded canine diets, finding it comparable to cellulose in digestibility and fecal characteristics. The researchers found that processing avocado meal during kibble production seemed to destroy and inactivate persin, making the resulting product safe for dogs. The study concluded that dogs could maintain good health with a diet containing avocado meal over a certain period.

Alternatives to Avocados

For safer nutritional options, consider foods like apples, carrots, and pumpkin, which offer similar benefits without the risks associated with avocados.

What about Avocado Oil?

While the fruit itself has its complexities, avocado oil presents a simpler case. Avocado oil is generally considered safe for dogs to ingest. Unlike the whole avocado, which contains the pit, skin, and leaves that can be harmful due to the presence of persin, avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the fruit and is typically free of persin. It retains the beneficial monounsaturated fats and can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet when used in moderation.