is avocado safe or poisonous for dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Yes and no. Avocados, when peeled and pitted, are acceptable for dogs to consume in moderation, and they could even offer some health benefits. However, careful preparation and moderation are crucial. 

An avocado is a tropical fruit that originates from the avocado tree (Persea americana), native to Central and South America. It has a distinctive pear-shaped or oval appearance, with a rough, textured skin that can vary in colour from green to dark purple or almost black when ripe. 

The inner flesh of the avocado is creamy and smooth, ranging in colour from pale yellow to vibrant green, depending on the variety. Avocado is known for its rich and buttery taste, making it a popular ingredient in various culinary dishes, such as salads, guacamole, sandwiches, and smoothies. While avocados are enjoyed by many humans, it's important to note that they can be toxic to certain animals, including dogs, due to the presence of a substance called persin.

Persin is a natural fungicidal toxin found in avocados (Persea americana). It is produced by the avocado tree as a defence mechanism against fungi and pests. Persin is present in varying amounts throughout the avocado plant, including the leaves, bark, pit (stone), skin, and, to a lesser extent, the flesh of the fruit. 

In avocados, the concentration of persin is higher in parts like the leaves, pit (stone), and skin. While the amount of persin found in the flesh is generally considered low and safe for humans in typical consumption, it can be harmful to certain animals, such as dogs, horses, birds, goats, and rabbits.

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What are the symptoms of a dog eating avocado?

Symptoms of avocado ingestion in dogs can vary based on factors like the amount consumed and the individual dog's sensitivity. While some dogs might not show any noticeable symptoms after eating a small amount of ripe avocado flesh, others can experience adverse reactions.

  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Vomiting, diarrhoea, or stomach discomfort may occur due to the presence of persin, which can irritate the digestive system.
  • Lethargy: Dogs might appear unusually tired or sluggish, possibly due to the body's response to the avocado's compounds.
  • Difficulty Breathing: In rare cases, dogs may experience breathing difficulties, though this is more common when larger quantities or parts with higher persin concentration are ingested.
  • Myocardial Damage: Some dogs might develop heart-related issues, especially if they consume avocado parts with higher persin content, leading to symptoms like irregular heartbeat or weakness.

The onset of symptoms after a dog eats avocado can vary widely based on factors such as the dog's size, the amount of avocado consumed, and the individual dog's sensitivity to persin. In general, symptoms may start to appear within a few hours after ingestion, usually within 6 to 12 hours.

What amount of avocado is toxic to dogs?

The exact amount of avocado that is toxic to dogs can vary depending on factors such as the dog's size, breed, overall health, and individual sensitivity to the toxin persin found in avocados.

As a general guideline, it's best to avoid giving avocados to dogs altogether to prevent any potential health issues. Avocado pits (stones) are particularly risky due to their size and hardness, posing a choking hazard or risk of intestinal blockage.

Can dogs eat guacamole?

No, it’s not recommended that dogs eat guacamole. In addition to the potential of illness from toxins in avocados and fats from large amounts of avocado pulp, guacamole typically contains added ingredients that are not safe for your dog, such as salt, onions and garlic.

What to do if your dog eats avocado?

If you suspect or know that your dog has consumed avocado, it's important to take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being.

  • Contact Your Veterinarian: Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Describe the situation and provide details about how much avocado your dog has eaten and whether it included the pit (stone), skin, or only the flesh and any symptoms your dog is experiencing.
  • Observe and Monitor: Watch your dog closely for any signs of adverse reactions such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, or any other unusual behaviour.
  • Do Not Induce Vomiting: Do not try to induce vomiting in your dog without consulting a veterinarian. Inducing vomiting without proper guidance can potentially worsen the situation.
  • Follow Medical Recommendations: Depending on the severity of the situation,your veterinarian might recommend inducing vomiting if ingestion was recent or suggest bringing your dog in for an examination.

Remember, early intervention and seeking veterinary advice are crucial if your dog has ingested any part of an avocado. While mild symptoms might pass on their own, some cases could lead to serious complications.

What are alternative safe natural treats for dogs?

When seeking safe and natural treats for dogs, there are numerous alternatives to avocado that provide both delicious flavours and health benefits. Opt for treats made from ingredients like:

Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins and fibre, dehydrated sweet potato treats are both tasty and nutritious.

Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants, blueberries can serve as a flavorful and safe treat option.

Carrots: Crunchy and low in calories, raw carrots are great for dental health and satisfying chewing instincts.

Pumpkin: High in fibre and low in fat, steamed pumpkin is gentle on the stomach and promotes digestive health.

Doggy Crisps 

Doggy Crisps made from dehydrated sweet potato are a wholesome natural treats for your dog. Nutrient rich, highly digestible, low fat and a great source of energy.

Peanut Butter

Dog safe Peanut Butter made without xylitol or palm oil, is a nutritional powerhouse. Spread onto LickiMats or enrichment toys, Peanut Butter is a great protein boost packed with health fats for a source of energy.  Peanut Butter contains Omega-3 fatty acids which aids joint health for your dog’s overall wellbeing. 

With Wags and Woofs,

Laura, Dolly & Reggie

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