Avocados are touted as a nutritious and delicious snack for humans, but can dogs eat avocado? The answer is yes and no. Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause serious health problems— even death—in many animals. According to veterinarians, dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals, but that doesn’t mean avocados are 100% safe for your dog to consume.
Persin is present in avocado fruit, pits, leaves, and the actual plant, so all of these parts are potentially poisonous to your dog. Exactly what amount of persin is lethal isn’t known. In large amounts, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage. Avocado flesh’s high fat content can lead to gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis in dogs if they eat too much, and because it’s calorie-dense, it can also lead to weight gain. Another concern is the stone at the center of the fruit, which may cause choking.
If you frequently bring avocados into your home, make sure the members of your household are educated about the dangers of feeding these and other human foods to pets. You may even want to print out a list of fruits and vegetables dogs can and can’t have to keep on your fridge. If your dog tends to get into the trash, invest in a dog-proof garbage can, so that he can’t rummage around when you aren’t looking.
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat steak bones?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat quinoa?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see what other foods, such as cherries, grapes, and onions, could be harmful to your dog.