Can I Give My Dog Avocado?

Can I Give My Dog Avocados?People love the taste of avocado and so sharing some with the family dog is a surprisingly common question. Obviously this fruit is very healthy but, as a pet parent, you must weigh all the factors before Fido’s feeding time.

The ASPCA states that the avocado can be toxic for animals, horses in particular, but it is safe to say that dogs can partake in small amounts. There are, however, some important pitfalls to avoid when serving this fabulous but fatty fruit to a furry friend.

First off, dogs have digestive systems that tend to not process most types of plant-based foods as well as humans can. So it’s entirely possible that feeding an avocado or two can cause doggie diarrhea or an upset stomach. But probably the most dangerous aspect to this fruit is the pit!

Can I Give My Dog Avocado? Answer: Yes, small portions & remove the pit

Concerns surrounding this fruit are well-founded because it is, in fact, toxic to some animals.

The good news is that avocados are much better tolerated by dogs than horses. Keep in mind though that pure avocado is high in fat and contains a toxin called persin which can be harmful for dogs in large amounts. It is generally agreed that this fruit’s healthy aspects are more in-line with what humans require in their diet.

That said, a well-regarded company named Avoderm has high quality dog food products that incorporate omega-rich avocados which are very healthy for the skin and coat!

Persin Pit & Peel Pitfalls

The avocado does not have to be dangerous when it comes to your pet’s safety. Just understand the pit can be harmful for two important reasons. Any pitted fruit, avocado included, should be prepared by removing any large seeds due to the possibility of a choking hazard. You do not want your dog to have this lodged in their throat! Such an obstruction is entirely avoidable.

The other key reason to remove the avocado’s pit is because it is the source of an oil-soluble compound known as Persin. This is the origin for avocado toxicity and why you may have heard about this fruit being harmful for pets. Just to be safe, also remove the peel or skin prior to serving.

Translation: If you want to share some avocado then be sure to properly prepare it and serve small portions.

Fido and the Fatty Fruits

Another reason to limit the sharing of avocado with your dog is because it contains high levels of fat. Much like olives as well as soybeans, avocados are fatty although it’s a healthy kind of fat. Nonetheless, too much guacamole can certainly make your dog gain unwanted weight. So, regularly providing your best buddy with too much of this fruit is a bad idea.

Listening to Others

Pet owners are notorious for giving out free advice, but their information usually comes from a very limited perspective. So the internet is full of scary rumors concerning avocados, ice cubes and many other things that may or may not actually be harmful for your pet dog.

Sometimes a veterinarian will jump online, to try to clear things up, which is great. In any case, we hope that we’ve cleared up the confusion about sharing an avocado with your dog.

Conclusion on Avocado

You can feed a bit of avocado to your dog despite what you may have heard. The toxicity of this fruit comes from its persin, but this affects horses and birds much more than it does dogs. Just be sure to prepare avocado by removing the seed and skin. Be mindful that it’s very fatty and may pack on the pounds, so sharing only small portions is smart. First, find out if your dog’s digestive system actually agrees with avocados.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary January, 2015

I was feeding my dog some Avocado in the mornings with his homemade meat loaf. He seemed to love it! I did not do this every day but now he has developed a fatty tumor on his back leg. Do you think this may have been the cause? Any input out there?


Jinxy April, 2015

I highly doubt the avocado caused the tumor. I’ve always given my dogs table scraps and yes, that often includes avocados. No problems! There are so many toxins in everything today; that tumor could have been caused by anything, even just plain genetics. The important thing is that you try to give your dog the best life possible. It sounds like you are doing that, so I wouldn’t worry at all about giving him bits of avocado.


Rimbaud September, 2014

Avocados are not toxic to dogs. The ASPCA recommendation is based on old information regarding persin, the toxic chemical in avocados. Not yet knowing the extent of persin toxicity, the general recommendation was to avoid it.

More recent studies have concluded that, while highly toxic to birds, it does not affect dogs (at least not at the amount they’d be able to reasonably consume – same for humans). However, the ASPCA and other organizations have not updated their information. Whether avocados are safe for dogs or not is not controversial (they are – empirical evidence has verified that beyond doubt), it’s only that misunderstanding makes it a controversial topic.

The one real caution about avocados is that they’re very high in fat, and pose the same risks as other high-fat foods (obesity, gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, etc.), so should be fed in moderation if at all. That’s not because of toxicity, but purely because of fat content.


Shawna September, 2014

The fat controversy is being debunked as well. Not just with avocados but with all foods. They’ve known for some time now that it is starchy carbohydrates, due to their effects on blood sugar, that are the real culprits in obesity, gastrointestinal upset (due to a protein called lectins in these foods – such as gluten in wheat), high triglycerides etc. High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for pancreatitis.

The Journal of Nutrition has a study showing the lowering of carbs in a canines diet also lowered triglyceride levels. There is no research that I am aware of linking quality, non-rancid dietary fats as a cause of pancreatitis including for dogs.

There’s a new documentary out called “Cereal Killers”. The high fat, very low carb diet eaten by the lead character improved all health parameters in that person. Dr. Oz just recently had Neurologist Dr. Perlmutter on demonstrating how carbohydrates damage the brain and more quality fats should be eaten to replace starchy carbohydrates in the diet. There is so much more data out there as well.


Mark November, 2015

Fat can be a contributing factor in pancreatitis, no matter the quality. By the way, there is no known cause of pancreatitis. Cereal Killers, a documentary focusing on humans, doesn’t address canines.


Shawna November, 2015

Hi Mark. I would agree that elevated fat in the blood (hyperlipidemia) is a risk factor but there is no science linking healthy dietary fats to the cause of pancreatitis (or fasting triglycerides). Like protein and kidney disease, they need to be watched when the disease is in place but that is much different than the cause of the disease, with one exception. High fat, higher sugar and low protein diets do cause pancreatitis but this would be rare as there are no AAFCO compliant diets that would meet this nutrient profile.

My source is the NRC book “Nutrient requirements of Cats and Dogs, National Research Council”. I’m not able to link the quoted data but it can be found online if Googled. The Journal of Nutrition has two great articles demonstrating protein being a wonderful weight loss nutrient for canines.

Fat was moderate in both studies but it is the carbs affect on triglycerides that I’d like to highlight (note the affect on triglycerides for dogs is the same as for humans). The article’s title is “High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs.”

The first paragraph of the discussion reads, “Several studies showed the potential benefits of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet on reducing body weight in humans (6,7). These diets are also associated with decreases in serum TG as compared to diets high in carbohydrates. The results of the study reported here suggest that these same benefits can also be obtained in dogs fed high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.”

Since high triglycerides, also known as hyperlipidemia, is a risk factor for the inflammation that becomes pancreatitis, a high carb diet can be a potential cause even though once the pancreas is inflamed a higher carb diet is the recommended diet to deal with the symptoms (not the inflammation that is pancreatitis though).


Mark November, 2015

Where can I find the science linking what quality of fat may or may not contribute to pancreatitis in canines? I have never read any differentiation between fats regarding this subject. I am specifically looking for data regarding pancreatitis in dogs.

Bret May, 2015

ASPCA’s website now lists Avocado on their “Foods that are hazardous to Dogs” page. However, it says dogs are not especially sensitive but could get tummy discomfort. That avocado meal and oil found in dog food should be okay. The pit, however, can cause a dangerous blockage.


Shawna February, 2014

The Pet Poison Helpline is staffed by experts such as “clinical toxicologists, veterinary toxicologists, clinical pharmacists” etc. They say this about avocado in dogs and cats. “Avocado contains a toxin called persin, but despite the rumors, avocado is not poisonous to dogs, nor likely to cats”.


Terry August, 2013

If avocados are so bad, what about the dog food Avoderm? Avo as in avocado. I used to feed this to my dogs, I have a Great Dane that’s 11 1/2 yrs old, but have since gone to Canine Cuisine. Not because I had problems with Avoderm, but considering her age, I wanted what was best for her. This is a great site by the way, lots of good info for us dog lovers.


Tori August, 2013

We had a Rottweiler that loved avocados and he was on premium dog food twice a day. He was a hoss! But boy did he love those avocados.


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