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The quick answer: Maybe. Though it’s generally safe for dogs and cats in small amounts, it’s best to be greedy with your avocado and keep most of it to yourself.
Avocados contain a toxin called person, which is mostly concentrated in the leaves but can also be found in the fruit and pit. Persin poses a significant threat to birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and large animals like horses, cows, and goats. However, it only poses a mild risk of gastrointestinal upset in cats and dogs.
Benefits of avocado
Peeled and pitted avocado is safe in small amounts (think the equivalence to a few blueberries). Avocado contains healthy fats and other nutrients that support a lustrous coat, such as potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E. There are even some dog foods on the market that contain avocado as an ingredient.
Hazards of avocados for dogs
The biggest risk to a dog, if they are able to swallow it, is the avocado pit. Avocado pits not only contain persin but pose a serious choking hazard. Swallowing an avocado pit can cause a blockage in a dog’s throat, stomach, or intestines. For cats and smaller dog breeds, most avocado pits are too big to fit in their mouths.
Though your dog or cat may be able to get away with a few nibbles of plain avocado, consuming larger quantities can cause tummy aches, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog or cat experiences severe symptoms, be sure to seek veterinary care.
While on the topic of avocados, it should also be noted that guacamole is completely off limits for pets since it often contains onions and garlic, which are toxic to pets.
What about avocado oil?
Avocado oil is another source of healthy fats and is safe for your pet to consume in small quantities. Drizzle a teaspoon of avocado oil over your dog’s food once a week for the anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs.