Psst Are you a brand, artist, shelter, or dog looking to get on Dogly?
Avocado is one of those fruits that is questioned a lot if it’s something that should be fed to dogs or not. Many people question if it’s safe and if it’s even nutritious for a dog.
Is it safe or not to feed avocado to your dog?
The short answer is yes, avocado flesh is safe to feed your dog. You can take these precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t have any bad side effects of eating avocado.
Avoid Feeding the Pit, Skin & Leaves
You want to make sure to avoid feeding the avocado pit, skin, and leaves to your dog. The avocado pit poses a major choking hazard and can get stuck in your dog’s intestinal tract causing a life-threatening blockage.
Persin, a Fungicidal Substance is in Avocado
The avocado pit, skin, and leaves contain a fungicidal substance called persin, which is toxic to dogs. Persin is also found in the avocado flesh but is not as concentrated as it is in the avocado leaves, pit, and skin of the avocado plant. The entire avocado tree contains persin but again, there is less in the avocado flesh itself.
Because persin is present in the flesh of the avocado, you should make sure to feed small amounts to your dog as too much avocado can cause gastrointestinal upset. In large amounts, persin can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Aren’t Avocados High in Fat?
Yes, avocado contains a high fat content and calories - 77% of their calories comes from fat. Dogs who cannot tolerate additional fat in their diet, or who have pancreatitis, should avoid avocado as a whole. While the fat in avocado is considered healthy fat, dogs who cannot absorb excess fat will be prone to gastrointestinal problems if they consume too much fatty food such as avocado. Also, if your dog is prone to obesity or is trying to lose weight then it might be a good idea to skip the avocado until your dog’s weight is under control.
Type of Fat in Avocados
Avocados contain mostly monounsaturated fat and some saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Most of that monounsaturated fat is oleic acid which is the same fat found in olive oil. Is this fat healthy for dogs? It is not unhealthy for them but is not something that is required in their diet. It can be beneficial for cardiovascular health and potentially skin health. Monounsaturated fat also provides energy, and aids in the digestion of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. “These fats do not promote increases in cholesterol concentrations per se in dogs and cats as they do in humans. Although they may be bad for humans, they are simply facilitative in dogs and cats.” - AVMA
What are the health benefits dogs can gain from eating avocados?
Avocados are rich in many nutrients and healthy fats. Remember the Chronometer tool I showed you how to use in the banana session - you can view all the nutritional information for avocados the same way.
You don’t need a lot of avocado to gain the nutrients from it, for example 1 teaspoon is loaded with folate, beta carotene, lutein, plus the vitamins and minerals mentioned above.
Vitamin E: is a critical vitamin for a dog’s skin and coat health. It also can reduce oxidative stress and cellular damage throughout the body. Vitamin E also supports overall immune system function and lowers inflammatory responses in the body.
Niacin: Niacin, Vitamin B3, is necessary for energy metabolism and aids in continued support for brain function and supporting neurotransmitters. Niacin is a very important vitamin that repairs DNA if it gets damaged.
Lutein: is a carotenoid that is only found in plants. It has many anti-inflammatory properties and can help greatly in improving your dog’s eye health. It’s also been shown to aid or even prevent age-related disease.
Folate: is part of the B Vitamins (B9) and is critical in helping control anemia while supporting the other B Vitamins as they work to support many systems throughout a dog’s body. Folate is necessary to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow and to convert carbohydrates to energy.
When to Incorporate Avocado in Your Dog’s Diet?
The best way to feed avocado to your pup as a healthy treat or addition to your dog’s diet is to avoid feeding large amounts of the avocado flesh. Size does matter when it comes to how much food a dog can consume but in this case, large animals should not necessarily eat more avocado.
- Stick to feeding your dog small amounts and avoid large quantities of avocado whether you add a piece to their dog food or feed it as dog treats.
- Don’t feed store bought guacamole
- Never feed the pit, leaves, or skin
If your dog is very high energy or a working dog then avocado could be an ideal energy and nutrient dense treat. Anytime you introduce a new food to your dog be sure to take it slow and wait to see how the dog does after a small piece of avocado.