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Why Can’t Dogs Eat Avocado?

We all know that dogs and chocolate don’t mix. But what about the ever-so-healthy avocado? Believe it or not, even if we want to give our pooches the benefits of this healthy fruit, it will make them sick. But why can’t dogs eat avocado?

 Dogs can’t eat avocado because of a fungicidal toxin present in the fruit called “persin.” This toxin, while able to be broken down and absorbed by humans, cannot be digested by dogs and a number of other types of animals. It will make your dog very sick to eat, and in high quantities, can even be lethal. 

 If you want to learn more about why dogs can’t eat avocado, what will happen to them if they do, and what to do if your dog accidentally eats avocado, stay tuned for the rest of the article. 

Avocados are the millennial health-food of the new generation, and with an increase in pet owners wanting to give their animals whole, real foods, many are wondering if they can share these benefits with their furry friends. 

 But unlike humans, dogs aren’t able to digest the fungicidal toxin called “persin” that is present inside this fruit (even in small quantities), and it can lead to some pretty serious health consequences if they eat it. 

While concentrations of persin are highest by the skin and pit of the avocado, persin is still present in literally every single part of the fruit. It’s extremely important that in addition to avoiding feeding your pup the skin and pit, that you also avoid giving them any part of an avocado. 

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Avocado?

What Happens to Dogs if They Eat Avocado?

If your dog has a strong stomach, and only ate a tiny bit of avocado, there’s a chance nothing will happen at all (the best outcome possible.) Not every dog is equally affected by this toxin, but in great quantities, it will cause negative health effects no matter how tough your dog’s stomach is. 

 Avocado (or persin) poisoning in dogs can present itself in a number of different ways, including: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • A buildup of fluid in the lungs and chest 
  • Myocardial damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Weight gain
  • Death (in extreme cases)

 While lethality is unlikely unless you have a small dog or your dog ate large quantities of the fruit, these symptoms are all clearly pretty scary things to see happening to your dog regardless. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to make sure you look up every food you’re about to give to your dog to make sure it’s safe for them to eat beforehand. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Avocado?

No matter how hard we pet owners try to keep our dogs from things that might harm them, all your dog thinks about is how hungry they are. Not only that but if a pet knows something is forbidden, they take it as all the more reason to engage in it when you aren’t around. It happens to the best of us. 

 Let’s take a look at what you should do if your dog ate avocado based on a couple of different scenarios. 

If Your Dog Had Very Little Avocado…

Watch your dog’s progress over the next few days to see if any concerning symptoms develop. Chances are, especially if you have a big dog, your dog will be okay after eating a little bit of avocado. 

 Call your vet to confer with them about the necessity of a visit. Chances are, they’ll tell you to keep an eye on them for a while, but make the call anyway just to be safe.

If Your Dog Had a Lot of Avocado/Ate the Pit or Skin…

Do not waste any time. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If your dog has eaten an entire avocado, skin, pit, and all- make an immediate emergency trip to the vet. If there are any remains of the avocado left, take that with you to the vet as well so your vet knows how much your dog had.

 You can call beforehand to get a second opinion, but as a general rule of thumb, making an immediate visit is your safest choice, as the persin concentrations are highest in the pit and skin of the avocado, posing a real danger to your pooch’s health. 

In Summary

Eating avocado is extremely dangerous for dogs due to the presence of a fungicidal toxin called “persin,” and it’s important to keep it away from them at all costs. If they do eat it by accident, watch their progress and call your vet or make a visit depending on how much they ate. Good luck!

For more information on what foods your dogs can and can’t eat please see our guide here.

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