Read time: 4 mins
31 Mar 2023
Back in the culinary dark ages (or the 1970s, as they're sometimes known), an avocado was an exotic idea. It appeared – if anywhere – in a questionable partnership with prawn cocktail. But today, there's been an avocado renaissance. (An avonaissance? No, you're right, doesn't quite work).
Avocado now crops up smashed on toast, nestled in salads and even in face masks. Long gone are the days when this exotic fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, just like the tomato) was consigned to guacamole duty with our nachos. Now it’s a trendy, healthy addition to our human diet.
But can dogs eat avocados? There seems to be divided opinions on this one.
No, avocados are not good for dogs.
Whilst many believe that avocados have a lot of the same benefits to dogs as they do to humans, including being high in omega 3 fatty acids, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Avocados can be poisonous to dogs.
However, small amounts are unlikely to cause problems.
The main pet-parent concern is based around a toxin called persin. Persin is found lurking in every part of the fruit – the skin, the stalk, the flesh and even the golf-ball-sized stone. It’s a toxin that can cause serious reactions like vomiting, diarrhoea and, in very extreme cases, death.
There are higher levels of persin to be found when the fruit is unripe – it reduces as the fruit ripens. So, some think feeding their dog the ripe flesh is safe, but we’re not 100% sure that’s the case.
No, we do not recommend that dogs eat avocado flesh.
Research shows that even if you prepare it properly and keep all the difficult-to-digest parts away from the bowl, feeding it to your dog can still cause stomach upsets.
It’s a pretty fatty fruit too, which isn't a great choice for pooches keen to keep their figures or manage joint disease. Though it's considered ‘good fat’ of the sort that can lower cholesterol in humans, it’s still fat and too much of it is never a good thing. Especially for dogs with diseases like pancreatitis or irritable bowel disease (IBD) who need to keep a firm paw on their fat intake.
It’s certainly a polarising issue, and your vet will be able to offer you more in-depth advice that’s specific to your dog. But, until there’s more research and the benefits are proven, we’d recommend steering clear. The potential issues relating to gastrointestinal discomfort and illness far outweigh the possible benefits, in our opinion. And who wants to risk their four-legged family member’s happiness (or tummy health), really?
There are plenty of other options to get your pooch’s tail wagging, including our nutritionist-approved recipes. They're balanced and complete, so your dog doesn't need any side dishes (of avocado or otherwise) to make them feel full and keep them healthy.
If you do want to reward your pup with something crunchy and fresh, opt for sweet carrot or juicy apple. And if there's any change in the avocado research, we'll keep you pupdated.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten avocado, it is important to act as quickly as possible. Here’s what you should do if it happens:
Identify how much avocado they have eaten
If you see your dog eating avocado, remove it as quickly as possibly but also try to gauge how much they have eaten. This is very important in deciding whether or not they require medical attention. This is dependent on their size and body weight. Typically, bigger dogs will be able to withstand bigger quantities of avocado and vice versa.
If you did not see how much avocado your dog has eaten, it is always best to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet for a check.
Keep an eye on their behaviour
If something is wrong, your dog will start to show signs of being unwell. If you notice any of the following symptoms of avocado poisoning it is important to get medical attention immediately:
• Wheezing and difficulty breathing
Contact your vet
If you are concerned about your dog eating avocado, it is best to contact your vet to help put your mind at ease. They will be able to advise on the best course of action based on how much avocado your dog has eaten and their symptoms.
If your dog has eaten a lot of avocado and it has been less than two hours since they ate it, your vet may advise you to bring your dog into the practice so that they can induce vomiting. They may also give your dog medication to minimise the risk of avocado poisoning. As a last case scenario, they might advise you to leave your dog in their care overnight so that they can be on hand for any medical attention.
Contact the team at Butternut Box
If you subscribe to Butternut box, you can contact our free 24/7 Vet Nurse Helpline for further guidance and reassurance if you are worried about your dog’s wellbeing.