- Scientific Name: Persea americana
- Common Name: Avocado, Alligator Pear
- Dangerous Compounds: Persin
- Toxic to Dogs: Not in small amounts
- Common Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, constipation
Many people love avocado for its creamy texture and its health benefits. But foods that are healthy for people aren’t always healthy for dogs. In fact, several fruits contain compounds that can be toxic for pets like dogs and cats. Avocado does contain a toxin called persin, but generally not in quantities that are dangerous for dogs. Avocado is safe to feed your dog, but only in limited amounts.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Avocado is what many people would call a “superfood” because it contains high levels of a variety of different nutrients. This green fruit is known primarily for its content of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, though it is also rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Here is an overview of the health benefits your dog can derive from eating fresh avocado fruit:
- A 100-gram serving of avocado contains about 160 calories with 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of fat, and nearly 7 grams of fiber.
- The sugar content of avocado is much lower than for many fruits and it only contains about 1.8 grams of net digestible carbs per 100-gram serving.
- Avocado is very rich in dietary fiber which helps to control your dog’s appetite and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in his digestive tract – it may also reduce the risk for heart disease by stabilizing blood pressure and reducing blood cholesterol.
- Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats like oleic acid which has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and may protect against heart disease and cancer.
- Avocado contains high levels of folate, Vitamin B9, which helps to support your dog’s healthy cell and tissue growth.
- Avocado is rich in potassium which is important for blood pressure and hearth health.
- This fruit contains powerful antioxidants like Vitamin E which help to protect against free-radical damage and support a healthy immune system.
- Avocado is rich in Vitamin C, another antioxidant, which supports your dog’s healthy skin and coat while also benefiting his immune system.
- Avocado contains several beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids for eye health.
- The fruit of the avocado is very rich in Vitamin K which is essential for bone health – it can also help to increase calcium absorption which further benefits bone health.
While fresh avocado does provide some health benefits for your dog, it does contain a lot of fat so you should limit your dog’s intake. Avoiding large portions of avocado will also prevent your dog from having a reaction to the persin contained in the fruit.
Tips for Feeding Avocado to Your Dog
As long as you only feed your dog small amounts of avocado at a time, it shouldn’t cause a problem. You should never give your dog the avocado pit, however, because it could become lodged in his throat, causing a choking hazard. You should also be aware that the leaves, skin, and stem of the avocado have more concentrated amounts of persin than the fruit, so only give your dog fresh avocado fruit and only in small amounts. Keep in mind that dogs also have a harder time processing plant products than animal products, so limit your dog’s intake of avocado to avoid digestive upset.
Though avocado is generally safe for dogs, it does contain a toxin called persin which can be dangerous for dogs and cats in very large amounts. This toxin is very dangerous for birds and large animals like horses and cattle but dogs tend to be fairly resistant to persin, however, so it is unlikely to cause a problem. Some of the signs of persin toxicity may include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. If you notice your dog exhibiting these symptoms after eating a large quantity of avocado, you might want to have him checked out by your veterinarian just to be safe.
Homemade Recipes for Dogs Using Avocado
Some dogs enjoy eating small pieces of fresh avocado, but that isn’t always the case. If you want to add avocado to your dog’s diet, try incorporating it into a homemade dog biscuit recipe. Below you will find a few recipes for dog treats you can make using avocado: