We, humans, have found many ways to incorporate avocados into our everyday meals – as a substitute for margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and sour cream. In some countries, people even eat avocados as dessert. Its creamy texture makes for exciting dishes, which is why many cooks find ways to use it in their recipes.
The fruit is even more popular thanks to its rich taste and unique health benefits. However, this begs the question, are avocados also safe for our pets? If you love bringing avocados into your home, could you possibly be putting your animal companions at risk by doing so?
With avocado being a nutrient-rich fruit and source of good fat, it’s understandable why people can’t get enough of it. However, as with all the foods we put into our bodies, we must also eat it in moderation.
The avocado tree is known to contain a toxin called persin. Although relatively safe in small doses for humans, persin is often associated with animal toxicosis that’s proven to be harmful, and in some cases, fatal to certain animal species.
There is a high concentration of persin on the fruit’s leaves, pit, and skin, as well as traces of it on the avocado flesh. The Merck Veterinary Manual highlights the Guatemalan avocado variety as highly toxic, while the most at-risk with regards to the said toxin are avian species.
Is Avocado Safe for my Pets to Eat
Before you let your dogs eat avocado, educating yourself on its effects, might save their lives in the long run. The American Kennel Club (AKC) says ingesting avocado can result in several health problems for some animals. Vet Sharon Gwaltney-Brant from the University of Illinois says dogs are more resilient to the toxicity of avocado. At the same time, animals like cockatiels, canaries, rabbits, horses, and sheep do not fare as well.
Dr. Ahna Brutlag, veterinary services director at Pet Poison Helpline, says dogs and cats that have ingested avocado in small amounts are relatively safe. What poses a more massive risk to dogs is when they eat non-consumable parts of the avocado plant or when they swallow the large seed found at the center of the fruit. These instances could be a potential cause of choking and obstruction in the intestinal tract, stomach, or esophagus. In more copious amounts, avocado consumption may cause myocardial damage in dogs. Its high-fat content may also result in gastrointestinal problems and inflammation of the pancreas.
It is best to give your dog little amounts, to reduce the health threats posed by avocado consumption. At the same time, limiting their access to the fruit or plant itself may also protect them.
Your pet dogs may eat avocado, but be sure to exercise caution when doing so. Also, do not let other people feed your pets without your supervision, and always inform other members of your household on the list of foods toxic to your dog. It may also be useful to train dogs only to eat what you give them. An untrained dog eats just about anything, especially when their owners are not watching. It is paramount to have their favorite treats ready so that they won’t go looking for food in places that may expose them to toxic chemicals.
What Should I Do if my Dog Ate Avocado
Avocado flesh, in small quantities, does not have any hazardous effects on dogs and cats. But should they accidentally ingest its other more toxic parts, you must know what to look out for and what to do when the need arises.
If you have knowledge of your dog’s consumption of avocado, and it is causing concern for you, watch for symptoms that involve abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you also suspect that your dog has swallowed an avocado seed, do not wait for it to be passed by the dog naturally.
Prolonging it inside the dog’s body can put your pet’s life in danger. Act fast and immediately bring your pet to a veterinary for a proper work-up. A quick response to this kind of situation may also help prevent the need for surgery later. To be prepared for cases of choking, educate yourself on first aid for animals. The Heimlich Maneuver works on dogs as well.
How Much Avocado is Bad for Dogs
Persin in small amounts will not have any harmful effects on dogs. According to the Whole Dog Journal, a medium-sized dog may be given one avocado as a treat or snack. Exceeding the said amount may lead to several health complications. However, AKC says the amount of persin fatal to dogs remains unknown. As a rule of thumb, do not let your dogs eat anything known to have toxic compounds. Regardless if experts say it is considered safe, your dog still can have an adverse reaction to avocados and other types of human food. They can exhibit food allergies in some instances, making it safer to feed them high quality and vet-approved dog food instead.
It is also worth-noting that avocados have a high content of good fat. This fat content, when in moderation, is suitable for humans, but may cause severe problems in dogs diagnosed with pancreatitis or those in need to shed some pounds.
Take note that a medium-sized avocado has more than 300 calories and more than 25 grams of fat. Before you let your dogs eat avocado regularly, better to ask your vet first if they have any current health conditions that may be aggravated by the added fat.
Apart from high-quality dog food, it is a must to let dogs eat other healthy options. If don’t like purchasing commercially processed dog food, you can make your own pet food by preparing healthy meals using ingredients that do not have persin and other harmful chemicals. Some examples of human food that’s proven safe to eat for your dog include carrots, apples, white rice, chicken, peanut butter, turkey, blueberries, bananas. However, it is essential to avoid using seasonings and oil, as these also have undesirable effects on dog health.
Why Does Avocado Have Strings on It
Maybe you’ve noticed how not all avocados look and taste the same. Some avocados have a smooth texture, while others are stringy. It might be unusual for some people, but these types of avocados are not uncommon.
In an Explore Health article, horticulturist Mary Lu Arpaia, Ph.D., says these avocado strings should not be a cause for concern. These strings are vital in the cultivation of avocados, as they carry water and nutrients into the fruit. Also called “vascular bundles,” they serve as the fruit’s plumbing system. The only instance it is not safe to eat stringy avocados is when they are black or are showing signs of rot.
Related Topic: (Important Facts) To Know On How Much Teeth Does A Dog Have