Can Dogs Eat Avocados? The Canine Avocado Debate

Avocados are delicious, nutritious, and super versatile. Make sushi, avocado toast, guacamole, avocado smoothies, fried avocado bites, and more! It’s not hard to see why people love avocados, and why they have become a staple ingredient in households around the world. With so much avocado being enjoyed, it’s only natural that someone had to ask: can dogs eat avocado, too? 

Whether or not dogs can eat avocado is a tricky topic that has attracted a certain amount of controversy between dog owners on either side of the argument. Here, we’re breaking down what you need to know about feeding your dog avocado and offering up some tips for safely treating your pup. 

Breaking Down the Controversy

The avocado plant and parts of its fruits (aka avocados) contains a chemical called ‘persin,’ which the plant uses to protect itself from parasitic fungi. Persin is safe for humans but extremely toxic or even deadly to a number of animals. Here’s a quick rundown of common pets and how they are affected by persin:

Animal TypeToxic?Symptoms of Persin Toxicity
BirdsExtremelyHeart damage, respiratory damage, death
CatsMildlyIndigestion, vomiting, lethargy
CowsYesInflammation, death
DogsMildlyIndigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy
GoatsYesInflammation, death
HorsesYesInflammation, death
Mice, RatsYesMammary gland damage, heart damage, death
Rabbits and Guinea PigsExtremelyInflammation, death

Persin does not have the same extremely toxic effect on dogs that it does on some other animals, and most bad reactions to the chemical are limited to stomach problems like vomiting, and diarrhea plus all the things that usually come with a sick dog: lethargy, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping or getting comfortable, etc. 

This is where the controversy comes in. 

Persin is present throughout the plant but is least concentrated in the ripe flesh of the fruits. With generally very little persin in the part of the avocado that we eat, some people feel comfortable sharing a slice with their dog now and then, while some people think it should be avoided altogether. 

So, which side of the argument do you fall on? Let’s take a look at some of the facts. 

Should Dogs Eat Avocados? 

A slice of avocado likely won’t cause your dog any significant harm, but could it cause any significant good?

Avocados are packed with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber that makes them a fantastic addition to the human diet, but far too fatty for dogs to eat regularly. Long-term consequences of a high-fat diet for dogs go far beyond weight gain and can create inflammation, pancreatitis, and cardiovascular disease. 

Again, a single slice of avocado isn’t going to do damage, but it’s worth considering whether you should allow your pooch to develop a taste for these calorie-dense fruits. 

Along with the nutritional concerns of feeding your dog avocado, the un-peeled or whole fruits can be unsafe in a dog’s hands…er…paws. If eaten, the thick, hard skin of the avocado could cause intestinal blockages. It also contains far higher levels of persin than the flesh, which could increase distress. Finally, there’s the pit, which could easily become lodged in a dog’s mouth, throat, or windpipe. 

Basically, avocados are kind of a logistical nightmare, and you ideally wouldn’t want your dog to start seeking out avocados on their own, since they can be a choking hazard if not prepared correctly. 

Safety Tips

If you are dead set on feeding your dog some avocado you’ll need to be ready to do some supervision. Offer your dog a size-appropriate piece, then be sure to watch them for the next 24-48 hours for any signs of stomach issues including discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, or dehydration. Any sign of these symptoms means you should give your pup avocado as a treat again. 

If you see no signs of a reaction, it may be safe to continue giving your dog small pieces of ripe avocado every now and then. Avocado fruit should not be fed as part of a regular diet, and should only occasionally be offered as a special treat. 

If your dog shows signs of really liking avocados, make sure to keep them far out of reach of your pup. This means keeping them away from the edges of countertops, keeping them in the refrigerator, or keeping them in a closed container. 

As always, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet for further information and to consult them on which foods are safest and healthiest for your pup. 

FAQ: Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Still looking for an answer to a specific question about whether dogs can eat avocado? Let’s quickly run down the most frequently asked questions on this topic:

Can Dogs Have Avocado Skin?

NO! Dogs should not eat avocado skin. It is thick, hard to digest, and can cause serious tummy aches.

Can Dogs Have Avocado Pits?

NO! Avocado pits are a choking hazard, and if eaten, could cause serious gastrointestinal distress.

Can Dogs Have Avocado Flesh?

Yes, but only in very small amounts. Remember that some dogs may have a negative reaction to the low levels of persin in avocado flesh and that avocados are not a good source of nutrition for dogs. 

Does Avocado Dog Food Exist?

There is commercially produced dog food that contains avocado. The brand uses avocado flesh and avocado oil as ingredients in its formula, which is carefully balanced to be nutritionally complete. While this may be a safe way to include avocado in your dog’s diet, you should first consult with a veterinarian. 

What Are the Side Effects of Eating Avocados in Dogs

The most common side effects are indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because all dogs are different, some may have no reaction to avocado while others may have a severe reaction. 

Can Dogs Eat Avocado Oil?

Avocado oil is safe for dogs in small amounts. The oils of the avocado do not contain persin, but are still high in fat and should be fed only in limited amounts. A little bit in a treat is no problem!

Can Dogs Eat Guacamole?

NO! In addition to the avocados in guacamole, guac contains high levels of sodium, garlic, and chilis, which should never be fed to your dog. 

Can Dogs Eat Avocado Ice Cream?

No! In addition to the avocados in avocado ice cream, it contains lots of sugar, which isn’t good for your dog. If you want to give your dog a cool treat, serve up a dog-friendly puppuccino or ice cream for dogs

TLDR: Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Yes and no. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to feed avocados to your dog. If you choose to do so, be sure to carefully peel, pit, and portion them before serving, and don’t let it become a habit! Consult with your veterinarian on the best serving size, or to find out where they stand on the avocado controversy!

If you’d like some less controversial fruits to feed your pooch, choose one of these totally safe options: 

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon