From making avocado toast to guacamole, smoothies, and so much more, avocados are a beloved fruit. For this reason, when there was a shortage, it was a trending topic as restaurants wondered what to replace it with on their menus. It is not just humans who love the green fruit; dogs too have been known to enjoy it. Some canines even go looking for the delicacy in the neighbor’s backyard but have you ever wondered how safe it is for your furry friend to eat an avocado? A quick Google search shows the numerous advantages it has on human health; hence most people assume dogs must benefit too. To answer the question “can dogs eat avocados?” here is all you need to know.
In Moderation, It’s Healthy
Dog Food Care published an article enlightening the public on the benefits of avocados for dogs. As per the article, the fruit’s pulp is a great source of vitamin B3, which is useful in treating inflammatory skin conditions in canines. Also, nearly 70% of avocados contain oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid usually found in olive oil. In humans, this acid helps to lower blood pressure, and in dogs, omega fatty acids affect every cell in the body. Therefore avocados contribute to the health of the skin, coat, eyes, brain, heart, and intestines. They even boost immunity. A dog with a wound that has stayed for long without healing can benefit from eating avocado because omega fatty acids also impact how quickly a wound heals. Avocados have vitamin C, which plays a critical role in collagen production. As a result, having your furry friend feed on avocados will greatly lower the chances of developing hip dysplasia, spinal disorders, and degenerative joint disease. According to Rogue Pet Science, holistic veterinarians have embraced vitamin C so much that they recommend it for dogs suffering from different illnesses. The vitamin boosts immunity; thus, ideal for any dog exposed to contagious diseases. Your dog will also benefit from the vitamins E and K from avocados. Vitamin E helps in cell function and metabolism. Without it, your canine could develop muscle and eye degeneration, as well as problems with reproductive health. On the other hand, vitamin K is essential in synthesizing coagulation proteins that are instrumental in blood clotting. A deficiency of vitamin K, therefore, causes excessive bleeding. A dog that ingests rat poison is likely to die because of anticoagulant poisoning because rat poison inhibits the ability to utilize vitamin K. Avocados also have folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. Folic acid is essential in red blood cell production and DNA synthesis. Magnesium plays a huge role in the amount of energy a dog has because the mineral is involved in energy production in the cells. Therefore, your dog’s muscle health is directly impacted by the amount of magnesium in the blood. A dog without enough potassium will be lethargic and have a poor appetite because the mineral is necessary for voluntary and involuntary muscle contraction as well as nerve impulses.
The Risks of Feeding Your Dog with Avocado
While the benefits of avocados are compelling, you should still be careful about letting your dog feed on avocados. According to Dog Time, all parts of an avocado contain persin, a toxic substance to birds and animals. Although it is found in the stem, seed fruit, and skin, the levels are higher in the pit and skin. A dog that consumes avocados in great quantities is likely to ingest a lot of persin and develop persin toxicity. It is also important to note persin levels are higher in unripe avocados than in ripe ones. So, even if you feed the fruit to the dog, ensure that the small quantity is from a ripe avocado and keep the unripe ones out of reach. Unfortunately, it is not known the exact amount of persin that can be fatal to your dog. Even if persin does not kill your dog, the pit is a choking hazard that could lead to death. While some avocados have smaller pits, others are much bigger, and your adventurous dog might want to play with them. If the pit gets stuck in the throat, it presents a blockage issue in the airways meaning that your dog can barely breathe. One sign that the dog is choking is excessive coughing. You will also notice the dog pawing at the mouth and looking scared. Prolonged choking can result in losing consciousness and death, but Animal Emergency Center published some maneuvers to save your pet’s life. You can be careful and discard the pit and only feed the pulp to the dog, but even then, the fatty acids can be too much for your furry friend. Excessive fatty acids will result in digestive and gastrointestinal problems that can be life-threatening in the worst-case scenario. The vitamin B complex in excessive amounts can also pose health problems; for instance, too much vitamin B6 leads to muscle weakness characterized by poor body movement control.
How Much Avocado is Too Much for a Dog?
Since toxicity will depend on the amount of avocado consumed, it is best to control how much a dog eats. The amount of avocado a dog can eat is dependent on the animal’s age, size, and overall health. However, Native Pet warns that large dogs do not necessarily have to consume more of the fruit. Two or three bite-sized pieces are enough for a dog to snack on without putting its health at risk. Remember to cut the avocado in pieces to minimize the risk of choking. You can judge how much fruit is enough based on the calorie intake required; it usually depends on a dog’s weight. For instance, a 90-pound dog is only allowed between 110 and 135 calories in treats per day. Since half an avocado has 114 calories, that could be enough for such a dog. However, as always, before including anything in your dog’s diet, it is best to consult with the vet.