Avocados are often celebrated for their numerous health benefits. Over the last few years we’ve seen a growth in their popularity, and not just with avocado toast. You can often find them on restaurant menus on salads or in dips, or perhaps you buy them for yourself to make guacamole or just scoop out and eat right out of the skin.
But what about our canine pals? Can dogs eat avocado? Avocados often appear on lists of foods that you should avoid giving to dogs, but are they actually something we can share?
While we may not be sharing that spicy guac with our pets, could a few slices of healthy-fat filled avocado in your dog’s bowl help boost health? Let’s get the scoop.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado
Can dogs eat avocado? The flesh of the fruit? Definitely!
In fact, it’s actually a really good way to add valuable nutrients. Avocado contains healthy fats and fatty acids, as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. These nutritional benefits include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Amino acids
Things like fatty acids, niacin, potassium, and folate are essential for your dog’s healthy coat/fur, and vitamins A, B3, B6, C, and E are good for bone health, skin and fur health, eyesight, and a host of other things.
Ok, so why the concern? Why will you often see avocado on lists of foods that are not good for dogs?
Well, avocados contain something called persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can cause serious health problems – even death – in many animals, especially horses and birds. However, dogs are far less bothered by this compound, and avocado flesh contains low levels of this chemical – a negligible amount for most dogs.
Additionally, as an avocado ripe, those amounts decrease, so when sharing, only share ripened avocados. If it’s too hard for a good guacamole, it’s too unripe for your dog – let it sit a little longer.
But just stick to the flesh. Avocados hold the highest concentrations of persin in their leaves, thick skin, and pits. You don’t eat the leaves, skin, or pits of avocados, so don’t give these to your dog either. And speaking of pits, obviously these post a choking hazard, so you should never give those to your dog!
How to Feed Avocado to Dogs
Avocados are relatively easy to feed. Many dogs enjoy the taste and texture, so just adding it on top of her regular food is probably the easiest way. In fact, you don’t even have to do that. When you’re scooping it out of the skin for yourself, give some right from your hand – it’s a healthy and nutritious treat.
Other ways to feed it include:
- blend some up in a smoothie with some other fruits and pour some over your dog’s food
- freeze that smoothie in smaller portions and give these pupsicles as a treat
- lightly scramble up some eggs and stir in some avocado
How much is a good amount? Can dogs eat avocado every day? Depending on the size of your dog, even a full avocado a day is fine for a medium sized dog. But we believe rotation is key, so a few tablespoons a few times a week is a great way to get all those healthy nutrients without overdoing it.
Also, keep in mind the nutritional make-up of avocados. One medium-sized avocado contains about 320 calories and 29 grams of fat. Yes, it’s the “good” fat, but it is still fat that must count towards your dog’s daily nutritional intake. Therefore, if your dog needs to lose weight, or has pancreatitis, perhaps keep avocados off the menu.
Avocados are great for us, and if you’re careful, they can be great for your dog too! Don’t be scared off by the naysayers – there is a lot of value to adding a little avocado to your dog’s dinner!
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!