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Help! My Dog Ate an Avocado!

Avocados sliced in hald on a wooden table

Dogs are well-known for eating pretty much anything and everything that they can get their paws on – including random fruit, like the ever-trendy avocado. So, your dog ate an avocado?

There’s no need to panic but if your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of poisoning or being ill, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

Here is the breakdown of possible dangers and exactly what you should do if your dog eats an avocado.

Avocado’s – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

If you are also one of us who thinks that Avocado is a veggie, then let us clear that it is a fruit. It has become quite popular because it is uber-healthy with tons of healthy fats, plenty of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Not to mention its fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. Needless to say, it’s as healthy as it is tasty. That does not mean that you should work them into your dog’s daily nutritional plan because it also contains a not-so-animal-friendly ingredient – Persin. 

What is Persin?

Woman with hands raised in a questioning gesture.

Although the avocado does contain a toxin called persin, and it is highly toxic to other animals such as birds, horses, and goats, dogs are surprisingly (and thankfully) mostly resistant to it. But, any reaction is going to depend on your dog breed and what part of the fruit that he eats. The leaves, stems, seeds, and pits all have much higher concentrations of persin than that of the flesh. Remember that not all dogs are the same and yours might be more sensitive to the toxin than others. The pit could also be a potential choking hazard.

Bottom line: If your dog has snatched a slice of your avocado toast, he will likely be fine. Avocado flesh or fruit is relatively safe in small amounts. However, if he has managed to get a hold of the pit or any other part of the plant, it is time to make a visit to the veterinarian.

How Much is Too Much?

a lot of avocados stacked in a pile

If you choose to feed fresh avocado to your dog, it should be kept as a special, once in a while treat and it should never be part of his daily diet. Commercial diets that have avocado oil or meal in their ingredient list are in safer amounts and rarely contain any persin. Any kind of fresh avocado treats should really be kept to a minimum. A bite or two, at the most.

Possible Dangers

Yellow and black warning tape

As already stated, persin poses a risk, but only if eaten in large quantities or if consumed from the leaves, seeds, or pit of the plant. Although not likely to be life-threatening, the vomiting and diarrhea caused by persin poisoning could become dangerous very quickly, especially the fast dehydration that commonly occurs with gastrointestinal upset. Common Symptoms of Persin Toxicity in Dogs:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Constipation

What to Do If Your Dog Eats an Avocado Pit?

black and white dog with stethoscope on blue background

Choking on a whole avocado or from the pit is a very real danger. Not only does eating the pit expose your dog to persin toxicity, but the sheer size of it could also very well cause airway obstruction or an intestinal blockage. Both of which are life-threatening and should be addressed by a medical expert as soon as possible.

If you believe that your dog is choking (coughing, wheezing, gasping for breath, losing consciousness) – you can attempt to perform The Heimlich Maneuver on your dog.

  • For Small Dogs: Place your dog on his back, securely in your lap. Apply firm pressure directly beneath the ribs using the palm of your hand. Pump five times quickly. Repeat as necessary. Remember to check the mouth after every set of five.
  • For Big Dogs: Pull your dog up into the ‘wheelbarrow pose’ using his hind legs. Firmly wrap your arms around his abdomen, beneath the rib cage. Using your fist, thrust up and forward five times. Check his mouth for blockage. Repeat as necessary.

Even after removing any blockage, your dog needs to be examined by a veterinarian after any choking incidents.

Things to Keep In Mind

All dogs are not the same. While the majority of dogs are fine eating small amounts of avocado, others might be sensitive to it. Those with food allergies are also at risk of having a dangerous reaction. Although avocado can be highly nutritious for your dog, you should always consult with your family veterinarian before introducing anything new into their diet.

Whether intentional or not, dog eating an avocado is rarely going to be a life or death situation. In fact, as we talked about earlier, they can be packed full of nutrients, but until you know for sure that he will not react negatively, avoid them. There are plenty of other, proven-safe, foods that can be fed with no worries at all. The risk, no matter how small the overall risk is simply not worth it.

In short, a dog eating an avocado likely isn’t going to die and will probably have no issues at all, but he doesn’t need it, so why take chances with our precious friends and family members?

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