No, dogs shouldn't eat avocados. Although a minute amount likely won't harm them, avocados contain a substance toxic to dogs that could be extremely damaging to their healthy, or may even be fatal.
Avocados Aren't a Safe Snack for Dogs
Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause major health problems in many animals, including death. Dogs are more immune to persin than other animals, but it doesn't mean avocados are completely safe for your dog to eat.
Avocado fruit, pits, leaves, and the physical plant all contain persin, making every part of the avocado potentially harmful to your dog. The leaves, as well as the skin and pit of the fruit, contain the majority of the persin. It's also found in minor concentrations in avocado flesh. The exact amount of persin that is fatal is unknown.
Make sure not to allow dogs access to raw, whole avocados. Keep these in a safe place in your kitchen. If you have an avocado tree, you need to be especially careful when it is dropping its fruit. An unsupervised dog could easily get into several avocados beneath the tree and become very ill. Pick up avocados as they fall, don't allow your dog access to the area, and make sure they can't eat or chew on any of the fruit.
Side Effects from Consuming Avocados
If dogs eat too much avocado flesh, it can induce gastrointestinal discomfort and pancreatitis, and because it's heavy in calories, it can also promote weight gain. Additional side effects include:
- Stomach pain
- Heart Damage
The flesh isn't the only concern. Not only does the skin have a higher quantity of the toxin persin, which increases the risk of vomiting or diarrhea even when consumed in small amounts, but it is also rough and difficult to digest. If your dog eats the avocado skin, keep an eye out for symptoms and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Another issue is the mass in the center of the fruit. The avocado pit (also known as the avocado seed) is the big, golf ball-sized object in the avocado's center. When slicing the fruit or mashing it for guacamole, you remove it and throw it away, but keep in mind that your dog might go after it.
Yes, the pit contains persin, but the choking hazard it poses is far more dangerous. The pit is just the right size to become lodged in your dog's throat and obstruct breathing. Even if it passes through the esophagus, the pit can easily become trapped in the intestines and produce a catastrophic blockage. Take your dog to the nearest veterinary emergency room as soon as possible if they consume an avocado pit.
Guacamole is Even More Harmful
The bulk of guacamole contains avocado, which poses the risk of persin poisoning as is. Not only is avocado included in the recipe, additional toxic foods are often present, including onions and excessive amounts of salt.
Onions are a part of the allium family, which contain thiosulphate. When dogs consume onions, thiosulphate is taken into the bloodstream, triggering an oxidative process that causes red blood cells to burst, resulting in hemolytic anemia. N-propyl disulfide, also found in onions, has a comparable effect.
The excessive amount of salt found in guacamole to assist in the flavor humans taste can also be harmful to dogs. When your dog eats salty food, sodium poisoning can develop, resulting in dehydration, tachycardia, and seizures.
Keep a List Handy
If you routinely bring avocados into your home, make sure everyone in your family is aware of the dangers of giving them to your pets. It's a good idea to maintain a list of fruits and veggies that dogs can and cannot eat on your refrigerator so everyone in your family knows. If your dog has a habit of getting into the trash, acquire a dog-proof garbage can so they can't dig through it when you're not around.