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Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Can dogs eat avocado? NO, dogs cannot eat avocados.

Dog looking at avacado

Why You Should Not Feed Your Dog Avocado

The ASPCA maintains that they are dangerous for dogs. “Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic principle known as persin,” according to Dana Farbman, CVT, of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “The Guatemalan variety, which is the most common variety found in stores, appears to be the most problematic.”

According to the ASPCA, avocados are toxic to a number of animals besides dogs, including horses, rabbits, fish and mice.  As mentioned above, the toxic effects are due to the compound persin, an oil-soluble toxin found in specialized cells (idioblasts) within the avocado fruit, as well as in its skin. In some animals, persin causes damage to the heart muscle cells, leading to heart failure. In other species, it causes an inflammation of the mammary glands.

How Dangerous are Avocados For Dogs?

The toxicity of avocado to dogs is under question. Although one case report indicated that two dogs developed fatal heart failure after ingesting a “large amount” of avocados, most dogs who eat avocado suffer no serious injury. However, until the susceptibility of dogs to persin is further investigated, it’s safest to avoid feeding avocado to your dog. In addition to the possibility he or she will have a bad reaction to the fruit itself, your dog might swallow the pit, which could result in blockage within his digestive tract—and that might require

In addition, the ASPCA includes avocados on the list of people foods that are unsafe for pets, with this warning, “The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.”

With this in mind, many pet parents may wonder why avocados are sometimes included in commercial dog food. This very question was recently addressed on the ASPCA website: “The safety profile of foods and other products formulated with avocado is a difficult question for us to answer definitively, because we do not know specifically how avocados are processed for these foods, what types of avocados are used, or what minimum dose of the toxic principle results in clinical effects. Therefore, we have refrained from making an overall assessment of the safety or toxicity of products that contain avocado.”

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

The Confusion Over Dogs Eating Avocados

To add to the confusion, there are animal experts who believe that fears about avocados are overblown. For some vets the main concern is not poisoning, but potential weight gain due to the fruit’s high fat content and the chocking hazard posed by the large seed.

When we spoke to our vet at Banfield, she said that avocados should be avoided but I think that the main problem is really giving it in large amounts and the pit. I would avoid avocados completely, because I don’t know what kind and what dosage would be appropriate for each kind of dog (for example, smaller dogs might need to be fed a lot less avocado than bigger dogs) and I just dot think it is worth the risk. Some people might say that they have been feeding their dog avocados for years and that it has not had any side effects. Firstly, you don’t know that yet because I think some effects are really long term. At the same time, all dogs are different and just because one person’s dog is healthy does not mean we will all be safe feeding avocados. It is up to you to decide whether you want to risk it but given that ASPCA does not recommend it, I would say steer clear of avocados. It is just not worth the trouble.

In conclusion, for us, the answer to the question can dogs eat avocados is NO they cannot!

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      • Not that you have mentioned this problem, but you seem to be on the same page as I am in regards to food choices for our little friends, and I am having this skin issue problem with my little Yorkie, Kasper. He has no fleas, eats only fish, vegies, brown rice and sweetpotatoes, and lots of fruit. But he itches, itches to the point of losing hair. I am now going to a new vet that gave us an antibiotic NO STEROIDS but he still itches, itches all the time. I am thinking it is a yeast problem and want to treat it with apple cider vinegar….any opinion? I also wash him with Melesab shampoo. Thanks for any help you may offer! Lisa

        • I would recommend dropping the sweet potato and adding good oils like olive or flaxseed to a low allergen kibble like eukanuba sensitive. You might also try going as hard as you can on distraction,.once they learn the scratching it can become a trancelike habit whenever theyre bored or uncertain.

  1. We Beaglebratz just wanted tue add tue this furry much great post. There is a really good dog food that duz contain Avocado and Avocado oil called Avoderm –
    Not shure y our mom switched us tue anuther food butt all the time we were eatin’it – never did haf problemz. BUTT like u sed in your post, the amountz make the difference and the oil and meal r much safer then the actual avocado itself.
    Shiloh’n Shasta

  2. On the contrary, pet rats definately benefit from having avocado in their diet! It provides healthy fats and vitamins, and in my case, after my girls had a bout with a parasite leaving them very thin and borderline anemic, avocado daily bulked them back up within a week! After the realization of the benefits of avocado for pet rats, I added this to their *fruits and veggies* regimen, feeding it about once a week. But please do not (just) take my word for it! Before feeding anything to your pets do your research!

  3. Actually, dogs can eat avocados. They CAN eat anything; it’s whether or not they are good for dogs. My grandfather-in-law has an avocado grove and all his dogs (he has a small herd) have eaten avocados that freshly fell from the trees for years and never had so much as an unwanted itch. I say let them try it. You will know right off if the dog has an aversion to the fruit. If not, no harm.

  4. Thanks for the info, Bunk. My ‘rents LURVE avocados and guacamole but I guess it’s off-limits for me. Actually at my previous house, there was an avocado tree in the backyard. My ‘rents had to be diligent about picking up the fallen avocados because me (and my two Boston Terrier cohorts that lived there, too) would scour the grounds for them!


    • Judith Twitchell on

      I often pet-sit for my children when they are out of town. I just looked up to see if it would be okay to give my two canine charges cucumber since I had more than I could use, and found that cucumbers are especially nutritious and desirable for dogs. These two will devour & appreciate anything put before them. I cut the cukes into large chunks, and to my surprise, they turned up their noses at this delectible treat! They just wandered around the house with them like they were tennis balls, lol. Eventually, they either ate them or hid them in some inaccessible (to me) spot. O.o

  5. I have heard it’s mostly the peel and pit of the avocado that is where the real problem lies in the dog’s digestion. My dog ate some of the meat recently and it didn’t affect her at all – and she’s a very small dog.

    But I am sure that dogs are like people in that some dogs can eat something, and some dogs have a problem with it.

    • That is a fair assessment. Foods that are outright deadly are often the exception rather than the rule, but I believe it is a best practice to avoid feeding your dog that which might possess a trace of danger. For that reason, we categorize avocados in foods to avoid.

  6. Sammy and Monkey enjoy their avocados. They never eat they pit or skin but they love it mixed with their veggies, rice and meat. 🙂 Neither one has had any issues in consuming avocados. 🙂

  7. There’s a good chance the 2 skinny stray dogs who showed up on my doorstep (in Miami) survived by eating the avocados that fall into the alley near my house. They pick up the pits whenever they get the chance, and I of course take them away…

  8. I live in a country house in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I’ve had German Shepherds all my life (9 dogs total) and all of them have eaten the fallen avocados from my 3 avocado trees. They eat them on a daily basis, sometimes several avocados when they’re so ripe they fall a lot. None of my dogs have ever had any of the supposed troubles described here, and all of them have livd pretty long lives by GSD standards (13 – 16 years)

    • Thanks for sharing. We have found dog treats with avocado as the ingredient, so we too have been skeptical about the danger of avocado. We will certainly look into updating this post.

    • Brian in Chile on

      This has been my observation too about dogs and avocados. Dogs love avocados. If they were so bad for them I don’t think this would be the case. I have to wonder about this article. See my post below.

    • Here in Hawaii, my three dogs have eaten avocados their entire lives. With so many avocado trees, papaya trees and macadamia nut trees in my yard, it’s difficult to get them to eat dogs food some times! Macadamia nuts are said to be toxic to dogs but I’m more worried about my dogs breaking their teeth when they chew on the very hard shells. Avocados are a favorite with them, they would rather carry an avocado around than a ball ! I try to pick up the avocados before they can actually eat them but with five trees in my yard , I find a lot of avocado pits. My adult rescue dog is having a weight problem and she barely eats a cup of good quality kibble a day. Mystery solved; she eats macadamia nuts and avocados all day long and has a broken tooth to show for it. All the dog owners I know who have avocado trees have dogs that love to eat avocados. So far my vet hasn’t heard of any problems other than overweight dogs from this. Maybe it’s the different varieties of avocados that grow here, mainly Sheffield (sp)and butter avocados. At least their coats are very shiny?

  9. Brian in Chile on

    I am not so sure that avocados are bad for dogs. I lived in Guatemala for a while and I noticed that when there was a big storm and some avocados had been knocked off the trees the stray dogs would gobble them up like manna from heaven. Admittedly, stray dogs cannot be too choosy about what they eat, but I think if avocados were really bad for them, they would not have consumed them with such gusto. For having eaten a “poison” they didn’t seem to be any worse off for it the next day.

    • A hungry dog will eat anything. In the case of our pug, Bunk, he will anything -regardless of his level of hunger. Additionally, our post is based off of several outside resources and not off personal experience. In fact, I believe someone previously submitted a comment about how their dog regularly ate avocado fallen from a tree. I think the main problem with avocados is the pit, which is supposedly very harmful. Like with anything you read on the internet about dogs, talk to a vet or other health professional before making any serious decisions.

  10. Who will be dumb to give a dog the seed of an avocados so it can eat it.
    Just the fruit it self can it really hurt them in small amounts.

  11. Hey! This is a well-written article but I think that you are making it sound worse then it is. In the original ASPCA article that you are quoting from it does say “While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we DO NOT expect to see serious signs of illness”, which you left out. And it emphasizes that the bad parts of avocados are the seed and the peel. I don’t think anyone should feed their dog copious amount of avocados, but personally I feed my dog around 2 avocados a week and we’ve seen a significant decrease in a skin condition that has plagued him since he was a puppy. Anything in excess is bad of course but I wouldn’t completely warn people off something that could potentially be helpful.

    Here is the link to the ASPCA article:

  12. Not to go against what you are saying, but it would be good to look out if future research can clarify this. Our many dogs ate avocados off our trees in Kenya all the time (for over 20 years). Some were more keen than others. The ones that were had them regularly when it was the season – they never seemed never to have a problem. The only ones who had a problem with this was us! We wanted some too!

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