Thursday, March 26, 2009

Avocados: Poisonous For Dogs Or Nutritious Treat?

Are avocados poisonous for dogs or a healthy and nutritious treat? That is the day's question. Last week we wrote a post about National Poison Prevention Week that included information about avocados being toxic for dogs. After reader Adri commented that her two Dachshunds eat avocados on a regular basis and that she was not aware of possible negative effects, I decided that a follow up post was in order.

First, let me stress that Adri is not alone. A lot of pet guardians allow their pups to have avocados. Some lucky California folks just have an excess of them in their yards. Others intentionally incorporate the fruit into their dogs' diets to enhance their coats. There is even a popular brand of pet food called AvoDerm. All this would lead people to believe that avocados are fine for dogs.

The experts, however, tend to disagree. The ASPCA maintains that they are dangerous for dogs. "Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic principle known as persin,” according to Dana Farbman, CVT, of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “The Guatemalan variety, which is the most common variety found in stores, appears to be the most problematic.”

In addition, the ASPCA includes avocados on the list of people foods that are unsafe for pets, with this warning, "The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal."

With this in mind, many pet parents may wonder why avocados are sometimes included in commercial dog food. This very question was recently addressed on the ASPCA website: "The safety profile of foods and other products formulated with avocado is a difficult question for us to answer definitively, because we do not know specifically how avocados are processed for these foods, what types of avocados are used, or what minimum dose of the toxic principle results in clinical effects. Therefore, we have refrained from making an overall assessment of the safety or toxicity of products that contain avocado."

To add to the confusion, there are animal experts who believe that fears about avocados are overblown. For some vets the main concern is not poisoning, but potential weight gain due to the fruit's high fat content and the chocking hazard posed by the large seed.

So, what's a dog guardian to do? I would suggest discussing the avocado conundrum with your own vet. Personally, I do not feed them to Greta and Dewey - partially because Greta had an allergic reaction once, and also because I try to ere on the side of caution. Although many pet parents report no negative side effects from their pooches' avocado consumption, it's important to recognize that all dogs are different. For more perspectives on the avocado dilemma, check out this story.

83 comments:

Adri said...

Hi! Thanks for the information. I told my family what I had read on this blog a few days ago and they were as surprised as I was to hear this, which was new for us. I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the avocado fruit is starting to grow now, so I will have to do something about it soon. Since the avocado tree is in my garden my dogs choose to eat the fruit when it falls and they really love it, so they eat a lot! My two dachshunds are 5 and 6 years old now and they have been eating avocado since they were little and I was unaware of the potential harm to their health this may cause. So thank you very much again for warning me and the rest of the readers about this issue! My family and I will take precautions. Bye bye ^^

ihearthounds said...

Hi Adri,

I'm glad you were able to get the scoop on avocados. I'm definitely not an expert, but I tend to take the ASPCA guidelines pretty seriously, so if they list something as a hazard, I listen. Also, I once gave my dachshund Greta a piece of avocado as I was making dinner (this was a few years ago when she was more mobile and would stand underneath me begging in the kitchen!). Later that night, she began to get really agitated and bite at her fur and hind legs. We couldn't figure out what was causing her discomfort and it wasn't until the next morning that I thought of the avocado. Sure enough, when I looked online I discovered that they can be toxic for dogs. Luckily Greta was fine, but it was a learning experience for sure. Anyhow, I'm thrilled that you found my blog all the way down in Buenos Aires. BA is on our shortlist for a future trip! I have heard nothing but great things about it - the food, the architecture, the arts and culture, etc. I will have to tell Greta and Dewey that they have new Argentinian pen-pals!!!

The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

thank you! i had wondered about this for quited some time!

Kelley said...

Thanks for the help -- Oscar, my Corgi just happily consumed 1/2 the Florida avocado variety before I spotted him with it in the yard -- it explains why Felix came in, but Oscar stayed in the heat.
I suspect he's done it before as a couple of weeks ago, he proudly deposited a mysteriously cleaned seed in my hand, so I'm not too worried, but will watch more closely from now on.
Years ago on New Year's Eve, my Newfoundland ate an entire box of chocolate truffles.
No vet open in Pittsburgh, but the Allegheny County Poison Control Hotline was up and I was advised to give him Hydrogen Peroxide - 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog.
I had some and gave him 14 teaspoons and within 4 minutes, all of it came right back up undigested.
I've kept some ever since and used it on Oscar when he ate a plant I couldn't identify.
Two teaspoons later, up came the green goo in 1 minute flat and all was well.
I tell my dog owner friends to keep some HP under the kitchen sink for emergencies.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the discussion on this topic. I note that many pet owners report no problems but wonder if there are any pet owners who do report them. for that matter are there any studies that report them? Precisely what empirical evidence exists to suggest they might be problematic? Surely the ASPCA's basis for the guidelines is not purely theoretical, yet I cannot find any science on the subject...

exhaustedboomer said...

Not sure how to solve this dilemma I have a 100 year old avocado tree in my backyard that drops avocados the size of almonds continually. the squirrels love them and eat them regularly. and also shake them down from the tree. never seen any problems with the squirrels. now my newest rescue dog (a husky mix) has started eating them, skin and all. What is the science behind the toxic warning? why wouldn't the squirrels be affected? besides continually trying to gather them up, how do I stop the dog from eating them?

Anonymous said...

We live in Hawaii where avocados abound. My dog eats them frequently with no visible effects.

Anonymous said...

I find this strange, my dog charlie loved avocado's and jumped to pick one right out of the tree everyday. and a small chihuahua that would also scavenge the area for any. they both passed away not to long ago but not from avocados but of age. 14 outstanding human years. i just bought a doberman and she is always eating the avocados as well. I'm going to keep a eye on her see if she gets sick
thanks!

Anonymous said...

I found out that my chihuahua/mini-pin had consumed the fleshy part of a small whole avocado that had rolled off the table after a grocery shopping trip. This was several days ago and he seems fine, but maybe he was lucky. I'll be more careful in the future. I've also heard that grapes are toxic to dogs too.

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks for this information..
My dogs wont touch the stuff so I am pretty safe here.
Just a word about giving hydrogen peroxide if your dog eats anything that it shouldn't... This can be very harmful if you use this after your dog has swallowed something 'caustic' as you would not want them to vomit on this occassion. If you are at all worried about what your dog has eaten it is important that you speak to a vet or an advise line before giving your animal any treatment.. Thanks x

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Julia Petrova said...

Thank you for this information!

Lorraine said...

My pup, without our knowing, ate a whole avocado with skin, (spit out the pit) yesterday, and showed no signs of problems. He was his usual, hungry, playful self and is perfectly fine today. It must be a effect that varies by dog. I feel very lucky he's ok.

thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

I live in Florida and have a large avocado tree in my backyard. You know, the kind where that you have so many each season that you can't even give them all away. My dogs, Lab and Aussie Cattle dog, have been eating them off the ground for years. Never a problem.

Anonymous said...

My healthy 3 year old pug, Rocky, helped us clean up a guacamole spill 2 years ago. I found him, already gone, by early afternoon the following day. No signs of injury, just some diarrhea nearby. We had NO idea that avocados were considered toxic. I wouldn't take the chance! We did not have an autopsy performed, so my husband (an M.D.) and I have simply surmised the cause of his untimely death.

Lisa said...

My dogs have been eating avocados from our trees their entire lives. Our Great Dane loved them (died a 8 1/2 - a good life for a Dane), our Terrier Oliver loved them, and now our latest round of dogs eat them, too! Our Aussie Mix Lulu is 12 or 13 now, and she waits under the tree every Fall for them to ripen. She eats at least 2 a day.

That said, we have the smooth avocados in our yard, not the bumpy ones you find in stores. Perhaps that has something to do with it. I asked my vet and he said that if they're handling them okay, it's okay for them to eat them. Just watch out for the pits.

I'm sorry to hear about your pug. Oh my goodness, that is such a sad story. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

My Raw Self said...

You may want to read what Victoria Bountenko has to say on the subject:

http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/showpost.php?p=632295&postcount=1

Tanya Keenan said...

Hi Aleesha,

Thank you very much for that link. It was very helpful. The fact that this recommendation comes from pet food manufacturers says a great deal indeed.

I make my own organic raw dog food, and they freaking love it!! I have a Dachshund/Beagle mix and my housemate has much larger dogs. All have eaten avocado with no ill effects.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure about this. You might want to ask your vet but I have had several dogs that have eaten avocados and never had a problem. I am wondering if the problem in this study is the actual avocado or the skin? I had a Husky and Lab-pit mix that lived for 17 years and ate avocados every spring and now I have a Coton de Tulear who eats them too. Just saying....

Alicia said...

We live in Guatemala and our two dogs are bringing us an avocado each day, asking us to open them. They then consume leaving the skin and pits. They are two happy healthy raw eating dogs!!!

Anonymous said...

I have two rat terriers who eat avocados as a treat all the time, half each and have never showed ANY signs of problems. I personally went to a Vet in a big animal hospital to ask and she told me that over time it ruins their livers, but she seemed to pull that out of thin air as she stumbled with her words and that isnt even mentioned here. All the different warnings and none of them match up with eachother all the while so many dogs eat them all their lives with no effects. Something tells me that avocados are actually good for them and prevent certain things which is why the money hungry pet industry is trying to turn people off of them. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

I looked on this site cause I wondered after letting my 3lb. Chihuahua help me eat a steak sub w/ avocado on it, I wondered if it would make him sick due to the seed rule, i knew that alot of fruit w/ seeds can hurt your dog, but he is perfect and didnt eat alot of it anyways . I would better be safe than sorry so I looked this up, I really think it depends on the dog but they can eat it just not the seed, like many other things. Im thankful for the sites though for providing info for all of us animal lovers, my lil pups is like a child to me, Im sure many of you feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

When ever my girlfriend Lisa cuts into a avocado our dog Polly lets out a little moan! Has anyone else experienced this?

lisamcgu said...

Thanks for all this! It is interesting to hear real world comments. I have a newfoundland puppy who has been eating about 1/2 an avocado each day and LOVING it. Wow, if dogs know whats good for them or not, they sure seem to love these things. And I started this because I know someone with an avo orchard that started having them picked professionally and her dogs could no longer eat them off the ground as they fell and they lost noticeable weight! That was enough for me to give them to my growing pup (now 4 mos old) and the fact that avocados are supposed to be the oldest true fruite on the planet evolving into one of the few items you could live on without eating anything else, they are so full of nutrients and oils and everything you need. Super healthy, too bad about the bad ingredient in them. Maybe its like my uncle who won't eat tomatoes because he is afraid of the belladonna he says is in there ...

Anonymous said...

We have an avocado ranch of 100 trees. We have gone through 5 dogs in the last 21 years. Most lived to be at least 14 years old. I guess the worst part has been ocassional diarrhea, but I don't know if it is from the avocado. There is no way we can keep the dogs away from the avocados. They hide them in the ground and dig them up when they are ripe.

Ruth said...

I suspect that type of avocado, as well as size of dog/quanitiy consumed, and maybe even WHERE the tree was grown can all make a difference. It would certinally explain some of the varying results seen. At any rate, the seeds of many fruits aren't safe for dogs (and not because of a choking hazard), even when the fruit itself is, so it wouldn't surprise me to discover that the majority of the problem would be the pit rather than the fruit.

Anonymous said...

I formerly lived in San Diego, CA and had 2 acres of avocado trees (a mix of Hass and Fuerte varieties.) We had 2 malamutes and 1 husky. All three ate the avocados that fell off the trees, but only after they had softened/ripened. We also had many coyote that came into the grove to eat the avocados whenever our dogs were confined. The dogs and coyotes were inclinded to eat only the ripe fruit after it fell to the ground (when it was soft/ripe). They didn't eat much of the skin and never ate the seeds. It appeared that all benefited with healthier coats and no ill effects were noted.

AiredaleLady said...

I have always been careful of the avocado seeds because they can cause a blockage, and I have never given the skin because it really tastes bad. But the meat of the avocado: I think it helps their coats, and my dogs love it.

The ASPCA also says to never feed lightly cooked or raw meat, raw eggs, garlic, and milk. Let's see, my dogs eat raw meat every day, and live to ripe old ages (recently lost our 15 year old girl, but that was age, not raw meat, and she had beautiful teeth to the end with no dentistries). My dogs get raw milk, a raw egg yolk and white, and ground eggshell every morning(they won't eat the whole egg shell otherwise and egg is a complete protein if you feed yolk, white, and egg); they get some garlic, not much, in the summer to stave off the bugs.
I think these sites over state what foods are dangerous because they think if one part is bad, the others must be bad; and others overstate it because they do not realize that dogs have the stomach acids and a digestive system designed to eat raw meats and raw pickings.

Harold said...

I've got a Rotty and an Akita and they both love the avocados from our tree in the yard.

They don't eat them frequently, mostly because the birds get to them before the dogs do, I'd say a couple a year, if that. I've never noticed a problem so I recently cut down a few avocados and added it to there dog food and they really ate it up. I mostly did it because my Akita doesn't always eat and I figured this would get him eating and boy was I right. Tonight though, I thought I'd take a look and see what the world wide web had to say and I came across your blog. After reading it I've decided to stop feeding it to them, especially since I live in Guatemala, and you wrote that Guatemalan avocados were the most problematic.

I can't really tell if it's harmful or not but I'd rather be on the safe side. My Akita sure will miss it, though.

Thanks for the info.

Scottish with Welshish said...

Our younger Corgi adores avos, and finds them when out on our walks. We try to keep picking them up, but when she finds one, off she goes with it in her mouth; you cannot get near her, nor will she come inside until it is gone mostly. Last nite we let her come in with one, something new, and she made a mess, but loves them. I will be cautious now about too much allowed, and picked a bag full today.

Latoya Hawthorne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Latoya Hawthorne said...

I've heard avocados were bad for dogs. We have an avocado tree in our yard in Los Angeles. My puppy has learned not to play on the side of the garden with the avocado tree. Yesterday, however, he got into my avocado dip as I walked away, thinking he was asleep. I heard him licking so he didn't have too much. It's now 4:35 am and my daschund has a case of diarrhea and vomiting. He's still active and wants to play. He just went back to bed. If the symptoms continue later today I will take him to the vet.

Anonymous said...

This article helped me a lot. I had been feeding my jack russell terrier beneful fiesta (contains avocados) and he kept throwing up and was lethargic for about 3 days. He had no problems eating the plain beneful. I did the research and found out about this issue and it makes sense. I do not think that commercial dog food companies should put something potentially dangerous in their food. They got a nasty letter from me.

Sita said...

A comment on the person who feeds Baneful - I think the problem is everything else in that food except the avocado. You look at those ingredients and that's what stands out to you? Perhaps check other resources for what is healthy for your pup, I think a good rule of thumb is, if the commercial food comes from Walmart, you don't want to feed it.

Anonymous said...

Along with this discussion, I just saw an ad for a new Beneful dog food called Healthy Fiesta. It not only contains avocado, but tomato as well. I thought that both were at least potentially toxic to dogs (I am also allergic to avocado!), and wondered why these ingredients would be highlighted in the ad. Our vet and pet info had always said to avoid both foods with our mixed breed, Kaia, to be safe, so we did. I think we will continue to do so in the future, though I have recently read that the tomato fruit is less harmful than the rest of the plant unless consumed in very large amounts. I suppose the discussion continues!

Anonymous said...

My dog loves avocado. He gets very happy when I ask him if he wants some avocado, runs to me with joy and has never had any problems with them. If he does not eat something,I know it is not right for him. He has showed this to be true, gave him some treat from a good dog food co. and he did not want to have anything to do with it!!! I called co. and found out it was tainted! He loves bannans also!!! I will not give him avocado any more, do not want to take a chance of a problem for his health down the road!! Love my dog Monty!!!

Anonymous said...

Last night my dog ate my taqiutos with guacamole and now is asking for salsa. Haha . She loves avocandos.

Star said...

From what I've heard, the skin and the pits should be avoided. They are not good for dogs. The fruit itself seems to have conflicting data. For the pug who died apparently after guacamole... it may or may not have been the avocado. Even though I let my dog eat some avocado occasionally, I wouldn't give her guacamole because of all the other ingredients in there that's not good for dogs at all. Some contain peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic...plus, I'd think that it's way too salty for them. It might've just been a combination of everything... :/ Also, a dog's size matters...my dog (doberman) could probably eat a hershey's milk chocolate candy bar and be just fine (although I would never try it... :P ), but a smaller dog may need to go to the vet after eating the same thing. As far as the ASPCA, they will of course err on the side of caution. Otherwise they're the ones who will get in trouble. They will warn against anything that even has the potential to be harmful for your dog. That's not to say that they shouldn't be taken seriously, they should, but in the end common sense (and some investigating) is probably enough. Raw meats can certainly make dogs sick, I'm not saying that they will, but they can. Wolves in the wild aren't exactly models of perfect health. They have parasites, they have diseases...and dogs are susceptible to them as well. Of course their digestive systems are much better equipped to handle that stuff than ours, but that doesn't mean they're immune to disease. If they were, the salmonella pet food scare wouldn't have been an issue, right? Even if it passes through them, the bacteria and parasites remain in the stools so if you have children running around or playing in the yard, they could get sick from it that way. I have known people who have fed their dogs raw their entire lives and had no problems. I also know people who have had dogs die from health conditions due to a poorly managed raw diet and people who have had their dogs get sick from raw meat AND people who have had their dogs die after choking on raw bones. Either way, it's something to really research on, make an effort to research both sides of the argument and make as educated a decision as you can. Also, garlic keeping away bugs has been disputed as a myth. I haven't really researched a lot on it to comment other than the fact that there are probably safer home remedies to use compared to raw garlic which has been proven to be toxic in large amounts. My dog gets garlic occasionally but it's always cooked to flavor a meal I'm making for her and never in large amounts. Anyhow, we all want the best for our dogs so in the end what's most important is to do as much research as we can, go at it with an open-mind and make the best decision we can off of that.

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shelterme said...

Maybe the avocado issue is due to each individual dog's physical reaction to the fruit. Kind of like allergic reactions to peanuts or bee stings. If your dog already ate some avocado and is fine then there's probably not going to be a problem. But if there's never been avocado eating, don't start since the animal could have an adverse reaction. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

My dog's stomach is acting up after eating avocados. Other than that she seems fine. I haven't noticed diarrhea yet.

Anonymous said...

I have a large pitbull about 90lbs who loves these fruits and has been eating one ocassionally here and there for most of his 3 yrs of life and up until a few days ago some city workers came by and trimmed an avocado tree by my house and didnt realize they were dropping avocados into my dogs run.....and he ate about 4 of them and he swelled up like a balloon and was in major pain he had difficulty breathing and even moving... I thought i was going to lose him.....he seems to be doing better today but i have been watching him constantly and giving lots of fluids and very soft foods like rice n chicken broth and seems to be doong the trick he looks happy now still bloated from what seems like liquid in his chest and stomach area bur has gone down tremendesly....i would recomend everyone be careful with the "amount" of avocado that ur dog is allowed to eat if he makes it through this they are definately off limits cant imagine going through this again....

Anonymous said...

We have an avocado tree in Kathmandu, Nepal. The dogs did not eat the avocado fruit for years. Then I mixed the fruit with rice and fed it to them. Ever since then, one dog drags the fruit out of the garden and licks away till all the pulp is gone. Knowing he's a very finicky dog, i doubt he would eat anything toxic. Also he's extremely moderate about the amount of food he consumes so he's not going to over-gorge on avocado. But whatever is in it is making him very happy. So far so good and he is looking healthier by the day... albeit a little more pudgier than before. If there are any health effects, i would suspect it would be tied to weight gain rather than toxins.

Anonymous said...

Lots of information and experience here, but still no honest answers. Interesting to read how some are affected and some not. I was curious because my kids have avocados growing in a planter and as they've grown, our Boxer continuously munches on the leaves. It's gotten to the point where he seeks the plants out when we've moved it and he attempts to eat the leaves. Luckily, we've never encountered a problem other then a potting soil all over the house as he ripped one right out of the pot once. Was worried about toxicity. Thanks for all the info!

Iris S said...

I have a beautiful black lab that LOVES avacado!!! I usually mixit with the food I cook for her (rice, oatmeal, potatoes, carrots, broccoli) or her Purina 1 kibble. Just as with us humans, everything in moderation. Even my little kitty loves it ;)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy'd the read and thought to post. Our little dog got a hold of half an avocado a few days ago. He got some of the skin and the whole half, not the seed.

Poor little guy was sick for 14 hours every 2hours loosing it, was about 5 hours after eating it. :/

Talked with the vet on the phone and we reviewed the past day's events and when avocado came up he said that was likely the issue also noting type of avocado has to do with levels that a pet could take from the fruit. Also noting we have a small dog likely added to it.

Just an FYI..

Anonymous said...

I have a German Sheppard cross who just loves avocados. He picks them up under the trees and runs and hides to eat them. He eats the skin and all. We have the smooth skin variety. He has never been sick. However, this dog has severe dysplasia and I have noticed that natural remedies for humans with arthritis often contain avocado extracts, so I just let me eat his avocados during the season. I couldn't stop him anyway. My other dogs are not interested in avocados. As for weight gain, I don't believe that avocados make you fat. I also eat them every day in the season and if anything, I tend to loose weight. It all about good fats & bad fats and avocados are a wonderful food.

Anonymous said...

I side with those that think the avocado concerns are overblown and think the pits and high-fat content are the biggest worry, but they only mentioned the weight gain and choking risks. The pit could easily cause a painful and potentially deadly intestinal obstruction. And the high fat content could cause painful and possibly fatal pancreatitis.

Obviously avocados make some dogs sick, but the ASPCA only mentions vomiting and diarrhea as problems. Practically anything can cause vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs, particularly items that are high in fat or that the dog is unfamiliar with--even some commercial dog foods.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that some non-canine species (including horses and cattle) are very sensitive to the toxin in avocados, that only some varieties seem to be a problem, and that parts of the plant other than the flesh of the fruit have higher levels of the toxin.

Bron said...

To everyone who says "But my dogs love avo!" and think that means that it is not harmful for them, I have a friend who loves shellfish. If she eats it she lands up in hospital. I love a big fat slice of cake and I love the taste of KFC. Neither of those are good for me although they are delicious. Your dog does not magically know whether something is good/bad for him just through the taste.
For those of you whose dogs eat avo and do not suffer any ill effects (that you are aware of....) well, you are lucky. Long may that continue, and I hope that your dogs continue to be unaffected. Personally, I'd rather err on the side of caution than take a chance with my pets life. I'd advocate caution with the amount of avo I fed to any dog, and I would be particularly careful if the dog was a smaller breed. There are other things that one can use for healthy coats, such as Omega 3 oils. Why take a chance?

Anonymous said...

Here is a veterinary medicine journal article that discusses avocado toxicity, among other things:
Title:
Some food toxic for pets.
Source:
Interdisciplinary toxicology [1337-6853] Kovalkovičová, Natália yr:2009 vol:2 iss:3 pg:169 -176
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2984110/?tool=pubmed

Excerpt:

Avocado
Avocado fruit, pits, leaves and the actual plant are all potentially
poisonous to dogs, along with other pets like cats,
mice, rats, birds, rabbits, horses, cattle and goats, among
others.
Persin is a fungicidal toxin found in both the fruit and
leaves of the avocado tree (Persea americana). It has been
isolated only recently and discovered to kill breast cancer
cells. It has also been shown to enhance the effect of the
breast cancer fighting drug Tamoxifen. This could potentially
reduce the necessary dosage of current cancer drugs.
Persin is however highly insoluble, and more research will
be needed to put it into a soluble tablet form.
Feeding avocados to any non-human animal should be
completely avoided. The lethal dose is not known; the effect
is different depending upon the animal species. Avocados
will trigger fluid accumulation in the lungs and chest,
leading to difficulty breathing and death due to oxygen
deprivation. Fluid accumulation can also occur in the heart,
pancreas and abdomen (Buoro et al., 1994). High fat content
of avocado can lead to pancreatitis.
Clinical signs
The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting,
diarrhoea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation
around the tissues of the heart and even death. Birds
seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound
and the symptoms are the increased heart rate, myocardial
tissue damage, labored breathing, disordered plumage,
unrest, weakness, and apathy. High doses cause acute
respiratory syndrome (asphyxia), with death approximately
12 to 24 h after consumption. In lactating rabbits and mice
non-infectious mastitis and agalactia after consumption of
leaves or bark was observed. In rabbits cardial arrhythmia,
submandibular edema and death after consumption of
leaves occur. In cows, horses and goats mastitis after consumption
of leaves or bark was observed.

Anonymous said...

I bought Benaful fiesta(contains avocado) for my 5 yr old Pug and she has been sick since she ate it, vomiting for 3 days and now dehydrated and weak. I just happened to come across a list of foods not to give dogs and saw avocado on that list, Benaful will be getting a call from me tomorrow, why would you put something fatal in dog food?

Anonymous said...

It seems that maybe it affects some dogs. If your dog has always eaten them and had no reaction I don't see the point of worrying. But for those people that have never given your dog avocado, why start. It's really best to feed your pets regular pet food and treats to be safe. The dog food with avocados is probably safe, but if your dog has a reaction that is not the company's fault. Maybe some dogs are just allergic avocados like some people are allergic to peanuts and fish.

Anonymous said...

My 2 labradors have enjoyed them for years with no problems whatsoever. I am very careful to keep the stem, the skin, etc away from their food....just the fruit. Great for their coats too.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that there is simply not enough research done in the area of canine nutrition to make a definitive and specific statement about avocado ... Or chocolate Or grapes or any of the other myriad things we are warned against. What's more, the research that is done is disparate and lacks cohesion.
My dog eats Every kind of food - regardless of what I choose, or choose not to feed her. Most dogs do. It hardly ever kills them. That said, I won't be feeding avocados, chocolate or raw salmon to my dog anytime soon but I won't freak out if she does happen to eat them. Oh, and I Will continue to feed her raw meat, bones and organs...
Let's hope that blogs like this one and the people who read them can encourage dedicated research on the subject of what really is - and isn't - good for our beloved pets!

Anonymous said...

nobody knows the real answer to this, so please do not feed avocado to your dog.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe avocados are "poisonous." Working the Rare Fruit Growers booth at this year's fair I was shocked at the number of people who stopped to looked at the collection of avocado varities and share their stories of their dogs eating the avocados from their trees. Some of their dogs gained extra weight. All of them gained gorgeous coats. Obviously not a double blind placebo study, but I personally heard enough stories first hand and have seen how much my own dog enjoys avos and how gorgeous her coat is becoming (she has dry skin)that I question the wisdom of the blanket statement from Mt. Olympus that avos are toxic. Prove it, please. Citing the pit, leaves and bark as dangerous seems silly too. Hopefully pet owners are smart enough to figure that out on their own. I find it ironic some of the web sites that say avos are toxic to dogs advise it's safe to feed dogs pet food. Really? Dead stripped of nutrient kibbles with long shelf lives? Dead food produces dead dogs. Just as dead food produces dead people. I see grapes listed as toxic too. I would never give my dog grapes but my mom had one when I was a child that couldn't get enough grapes and lived to a ripe old age.

Jules said...

My Mum used to feed her dog kitchen scraps of all kinds, including avocado because her dog love it. I warned her but she continued to feed it to her. She lived to the ripe old age of 16!!

Anonymous said...

My dogs eat our low-hanging avocadoes. They love it. No problems, thank God. Maybe it's more of an allergy in some dogs that have a negative reaction.

Anonymous said...

We live in Hawaii where Avo trees are everywhere, and my dog has been eating them for 6 years and never had a problem. She just scavenges for them and brings them home.

Anonymous said...

There really should be a better study about this. Sounds like a lot of fear mongering. Anyone who has had an avocado tree in there yard and a dog will tell you that the dog loves avocado and have had no ill effects. Also, avocado poisonous to rats? Yeah right. Tell that to the millions of rats in Hawaii. If avocados are so poisonous to rats we wouldnt have such a rat problem!

Anonymous said...

I have two dogs. One Airedale Terrier mix, one Pitbull Terrier mix. Both weigh 50lbs. I am a landscaper by profession. Last week I trimmed an avocado tree, and brought the trimmings home to dispose of in my own greenwaste receptacles. I threw many avocados for the dogs to chase/eat as we were having fun spending the day in the sun. Link, the pit, ate who knows how many. At least 5. Skiffy, didnt have as many. They both bloated up from eating so many, they usually only eat 1 1/2 cups of dry food in one sitting. This was more so I thought nothing of it. I always inspect their droppings to make sure they are healthy. Link began to have diarrhea days later. Now both dogs are very ill. They are drinking more water than normal, and Link especially drinking TONS of water, he ate the most avocados. Skiffy the Airedale is having trouble with his motor skills. He tried walking down two steps and completely fell down. He has no strength to even catch himself. Link cried all night last night and is in ALOT of discomfort. Link had a faster heart rate than he does today. Skiffys heart rate was not fast yesterday but is today. It seems like Link is a day ahead of Skiffy, probably because he ate more. They both are drinking and eating. They are both in good spirits but just worn out. Today is christmas eve and they ate the avocados thursday the 20th. I am sitting with the both of them comfortably warm in the house. Link is getting better which shows me that Skiffy will also. Either someone poisoned them or they are both reacting to the avocado. I AM NEVER LETTING THEM HAVE AVOCADO EVER AGAIN. NOT EVEN ONE BITE.

Anonymous said...

My Lab snuck a few slices off of the counter today so I wanted to check to make sure they were ok for him to eat. He seems to be fine, no loose stool or belly ache. He scarffed it right up and was begging for more, but after reading some of these horror stories this will be the first and the last time he snacks on avo! Totally not worth the risk.

Gay Adams said...

I feed my dogs (pit bull and a Pomeranian) and my 13 yr old cat avocado at least twice a week. Neither have ever displayed any type of illness from eating avocado. I on the other hand have experienced intestinal problems from eating certain avocados.

I feed them a variety of fresh fruit and veggies because I don't consider it people food but food. As I move away from processed foods I'm moving my fur babies away from them also.

Elizabeth said...

We live on an avocado orchard in Australia. Our dogs have helped themselves for the last 35 years. Each dog has lived to 8+ years with no problems. In fact the clever dogs, find them and then bury them until they are ripe enough to eat. Enjoy.

Emma said...

I feed my 2 (corgi/jack cross and a patterdale terrier cross) about 1.8th of an avocado each day, no skin, no seed. they wait for it while i am juicing. their coats are healthy and shine and sammys itchy skin has disappeared. they love them and have been eating them for about a year now with no adverse effects. its still a worry though.

Guineagog said...

I grew up in Jamaica seeing all our dogs eat fallen avocados. Thay obviously loved them and no side effects!

Anonymous said...

If there were onions in your guac, it was probably that. Onions are toxic to dogs.

Fumb Duck said...

I used to have a grandpa in a nursing home once. He loved to smoke and i used to buy two packs of smokes for him every day. Every day i passed them to him and he would smile and laugh and pat my back. He lived to the ripe age of 79, but that was old age.

Anonymous said...

I just had to rush my 7 month old Aussie/ GSD puppy to the vet for uncontrollable tremors and eventually a seizure. I knew she must have eaten something bad because it came on so fast. When I returned home without my dog, I looked around to see what she made have consumed and found the pit to the rotten avocado I threw in the garbage this morning. It was the kind with the bumpy skin. I believe that this is what has caused her problems. I am praying that she survives and can be treated. Please don't let your pets eat avocado! Especially this kind! I am heartbroken and hope that my negligence has not caused me to lose my pup... Always better safe than sorry!

Anonymous said...

It has been found to be an unfounded rumor that avocados are poisonous to dogs.

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/avocado/

Peej said...

I farm avocados and have never observed any problems with my dog eating them. I do not intend on stopping this part of my dogs diet as he seems to really enjoy them. I also notice the coyotes in the area feeding on the fallin fruit regularly. Personally I feel this is a whole lot of bunk, perhaps it is a breed sensitive issue.

Anonymous said...

RE Anonymous's comment - "My healthy 3 year old pug, Rocky, helped us clean up a guacamole spill 2 years ago. I found him, already gone, by early afternoon the following day."
If it wasn't the avocado, the onion would've killed him. It's possibly the most toxic food a dog can eat.

Anonymous said...

Both my dogs, a lab and a German shepherd have taken to eat avocados that fall from a tree on our backyard. Diarrhea and vomiting for the GS, and just vomiting for the lab. The GS is more sensitive, but we have to do something about it, the tree is full with the fruit. I do not want sick dogs for months eevry year.

Anonymous said...

I live in Calfornia and my 4 yr old American Cocker Spaniel loves the avocados from my tree. After eating them I've started to notice that he gnaws at his paws, he has discharge, like gummy tears, in his eyes, and his ears swell up like a boxer's cauliflower ear when he's eaten at least two avocados. I've started taking them away from him and seen a significant decrease is swelling, gnawing, and discharge. -Pam

Anonymous said...

Freak ones get a life, let sleeping dogs lie and let avocado eating dogs eat. Can't you trust them to know what is safe.

Aponi said...

There are several things about avocados as well as most foods that can be dangerous. The tannin in the seed, for instance, is toxic to people and animals. How much damage it does depends on proportions - how much tannin, the size of the animal, how much it might be diluted with other foodstuff, how healthy the animal is (how strong is the immune system, liver, etc. as well as how many other toxins have accumulated over time), and individual sensitivity. The fruit of an avocado is loaded with fats that can go rancid when exposed to too much air, heat and light. The fruit itself can be infected with a toxin just like any other food source can. All of this is common sense. We don't need some company or agency to tell us this (or maybe those lacking common sense do). A fresh, ripe, untainted avocado is not toxic to a healthy animal when given in moderation - just like for humans. Guacamole is NOT equivalent to a fresh, ripe, untainted avocado. It is a processed food with avocado as an ingredient, so the effects of guacamole do not equate to the effects of an avocado.

Nohelia said...

My dog eats avocados when they are at the season directly from the tree, he's carefull about it, he doesn't eat the seed, then he eats sweet lemon he's also carefull about that one too, he gets the rind away from the fruit, he also eats guayabas. When he doesn't have any of these, he eats large grass, he search for it on the backyard because it's not the common tipe. All of these makes my brother says he's not a dog but a cow :) I think he knows what to eat, he's been 7 years with me, he is a "saguate" and we don't put fertilize.

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Anonymous said...

I let m y dog lick the bowl of guacamole that was basically empty, Just what was left after transferring it to smaller bowl. A couple hours later, he became violently ill and threw up twice until he emptied everything in his stomach. Wow I never knew avocado could make a dog so sick!

Anonymous said...

Straight for the ASPCA website:
Scientific Name: Persea americanaFamily: LauraceaeToxicity: Toxic to HorsesToxic Principles: Toxic to horses, cattle, goats, and birds. Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic principle known as persin. The Guatemalan variety, a common one found in stores, appears to be the most problematic. Other varieties of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential.
Clinical Signs: Birds, rabbits, and some large animals are especially sensitive to avocados, as they can have respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death from consuming avocado. While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we do not expect to see serious signs of illness. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel. Ingestion of the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care. Avocado is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit. We would generally not expect avocado meal or oil present in commercial pet foods to pose a hazard to dogs and cats.

Barb said...

Many years ago I had a butterball golden retriever who probably ate several avocados a day because we lived in an avocado grove. Tonight I found two halves of an avocado seed on my puppy's bed (I have 3 trees, different varieties, in the yard). She just barfed twice and seems kind of listless but her gums look ok. Trying to decide if I should take her in since 2 days ago I took her in for a mushroom and we had to induce vomiting and give charcoal. My yard is full of many things that puppies shouldn't have and I have been trying to watch, but....

VERONIKA SIECZKO said...

Two weeks ago we adopted a miniature poodle mix from the pound. We brought her home and all was great! Then, a week after being at home, she collapsed and almost died on us. Within a matter of seconds she went from zipping thorough the house to full distress, white gums, shriveled tongue, breathing problems, and shock... Went to the ER with her, and she was in anaphylactic shock along with a severe liver infection. Until just now, I could NOT figure out what had happened or caused her to have this allergic reaction. 2800 dollars later, and much research, I find that the avocado tree is POISONOUS to dogs. Having a daycare at home, I keep a VERY CLEAN and up kept yard, I assume she ate a wilted leaf that fell from the tree around her dog run...

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I live in Guatemala and the local dog rescue takes the dogs (sometimes as many as 15 at a time) onto the local farmland for runs (coffee fincas, which are shaded by avocado trees). The dogs log avocados and eat them constantly, even chewing on the shells. There's never any negative effect. My dog (originally rescued in the USA) doesn't seem to have problems either. Surprised to see that others have had problems.