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Can Dogs Eat Avocados?

Avocados can be a nutritional powerhouse for humans. They contain potassium, which can aid with blood pressure, and beta-sitosterol, which can help lower cholesterol levels. And that’s just the beginning. Creamy, wholesome, satisfying—there’s no question about the many benefits of avocados for humans. 

But are avocados good for dogs? 

No. If your dog consumes any of the skin, leaves or pit of an avocado, it could be deadly. Avocados contain an antifungal compound called persin, which is most highly concentrated in the skin, leaves and pit (or seed) but can also be found in the flesh. If your dog consumes any part of an avocado, immediately contact your veterinarian or call the pet poison control hotline. 

Why are avocados toxic to dogs?

For many animals, persin is a deadly toxin. While dogs are more resistant than some other animals to the toxic effects of persin, it is unknown exactly how much they can have before suffering from adverse effects. 

Existing health issues can also be exacerbated by consuming avocado. Pancreatitis is a common illness in dogs, and the rich fats in avocados can cause your dog to become susceptible to the disease—or have a flare-up. Symptoms of an outbreak can include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, lack of appetite and ”prayer position”—where your dog may lower their head to the floor and stick their rear end in the air. 

Signs of avocado poisoning

As pet parents know, dogs can be particularly skillful when it comes to sneaking food. Contact a veterinary medical professional if your dog eats avocado. Signs of distress may include:

  • Vomiting If your pet is repeatedly vomiting, consult your veterinarian—even if you didn’t see them consume anything hazardous
  • Diarrhea You should seek medical help whenever your dog experiences diarrhea for more than 24 hours. If you know they’ve ingested something potentially toxic, seek help immediately 
  • Abdominal pain Symptoms of abdominal pain can be whimpering, lack of energy, curling up to protect their stomach or a swollen belly
  • Lethargy If your ordinarily active pup is laying down, not moving and not responding to your commands, seek medical attention
  • Refusal to eat This could be a sign of pain or a blockage

What to do if Your Dog Eats Avocado

If you’re prepping a meal, drop a morsel of avocado on the floor and your dog slurps it up before you can react, there is a low risk of any adverse effects. Consult your veterinarian to be on the safe side, and be on the lookout for the potential signs of distress mentioned above. If they eat the skin, leaves or the pit, however, contact your veterinarian or pet poison control immediately. The pit not only contains a concentrated amount of persin but can also cause a blockage that will likely need to be surgically removed. It’s also a choking hazard.  

How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Avocados

Here are some examples of how to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to avocados.

  • Educate Make sure everyone in your household knows what your dog can and cannot eat. Avocados and dogs do not mix well. Printing out a guide and posting it in a high-traffic part of the kitchen may help your family and friends remember what they can and cannot feed your pet. It may also be a good idea to ask them not to give the dog people food in general 
  • Eliminate If your dog has a habit of snacking on scraps from the garbage, buy a lidded trash can with a firm seal. This can help eliminate the temptation brought about by pleasant aromas—pleasant for your dog anyway—that may have them nosing around in the rubbish bin. Consider taking the toxic skin, pit and leaves of an avocado directly to the outside garbage bin—as long as your pets don’t have access  
  • Training Making sure your dog is adequately trained and listens to your cues is one of the best steps you can take to deepen your relationship with your dog, make your life easier and help ensure their safety. Teaching your dog not to consume anything without permission can help save them from many dangerous foods. Many neighborhood Petco Pet Care Centers offer dog training. You can opt to take the classes virtually, one-on-one or in a pack

 

» MORELearn about fruits and vegetables that dogs can and cannot eat.

FAQs About Dogs Eating Avocado

Yes. Avocados contain a chemical called persin that is toxic to animals. This chemical is most concentrated in the skin, stem and seed (or pit) and can be found in smaller amounts in the flesh. Never feed your dog any part of an avocado.

Generally, a small piece of avocado flesh will not harm your dog. Veterinary experts aren’t sure how much avocado is safe for dogs and how much isn’t, however, so err on the side of caution. If your dog consumes the flesh, give your vet a call for advice and monitor your pet for symptoms of stress like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or loss of appetite. If your dog eats avocado skin, leaves or the seed, immediately contact your veterinarian or the pet poison control hotline.

Do not feed your dog any part of an avocado. If they accidentally consume some, call your vet or poison control.

Reviewed by Petco’s Animal Care, Education and Compliance (ACE) Team

Petco’s ACE team is a passionate group of experienced pet care experts dedicated to supporting the overall health & wellness of pets. The ACE team works to develop animal care operations and standards across the organization and promote proper animal care and education for Pet Care Center partners and pet parents, while also ensuring regulatory compliance.