Avocado oil is a popular cooking ingredient that has gained favor in recent years. Avocados are a famous example of food with “good fat.” In moderation, avocados and avocado oil are healthy additions to an otherwise balanced human diet, but what about our canine friends?
You might have heard that avocados are toxic for dogs and that you should not feed your dog avocado under any circumstances. This is a half-truth. The myth persists because of a chemical in the stem and skin of avocados called persin that is toxic to dogs. Avocado meal and avocado oil are both not toxic for dogs and can be consumed in small doses. In this article, we’ll separate fact from fiction and get to the bottom of the avocado debate.
A Persistent Myth
A common myth is that avocados and, by extension, avocado oil are toxic for dogs. Like many myths, there is an element of truth to it. Avocado stems, leaves, and skin have concentrations of a chemical called persin, which is toxic for dogs and causes stomach issues, vomiting, and diarrhea if consumed in large enough doses.
The part of the avocado that we eat and use to make guacamole does not contain significant amounts of persin, and neither does avocado oil, so both are safe for your dog to eat. There are actually some dog foods that contain avocado and avocado oil for their nutritional benefits. These foods are derived from the green fruit part that we usually eat and are therefore completely safe for dogs.
It is important to mention that even the “safe” part of avocado contains some persin, and in large amounts, it could harm your dog. The only way to ensure your pet’s safety is to avoid giving them avocado. Our recommendation is not to feed your dog avocado, but you don’t have to panic if they get a small amount of the fruit. Any time you think your dog may have consumed a hazardous food, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.
Is Avocado Oil healthy?
In short, yes. The longer answer is that you should be careful about giving your dog large amounts of avocado oil because of the high-fat content. Foods that are high in fat pose a problem for canine digestive systems that aren’t designed to handle fatty loads. Pancreatitis is the primary concern and is surprisingly common. This means you should only give your dog small doses of avocado oil. Ask your vet for portion recommendations that are specific to your dog.
If you manage the portion size carefully, avocado oil is a great way to give your loyal friend some key nutrients that might be lacking in their diet. Avocado oil contains vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which are important for your dog’s health. Vitamin E supports a dog’s vision, neurologic health, and reproductive system, and Omega 3 fatty acids are good for reducing inflammation and easing joint pain.
Two Important Asides
Guacamole is dangerous for dogs, but not because of the avocado content. Onion and garlic are both extremely toxic for dogs, and they both happen to appear frequently in guacamole. If your dog eats guacamole, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Be careful not to allow your dog to eat the pit of an avocado. These large, brown pits are choking hazards and also contain dangerous levels of persin. Be extremely careful handling avocados around your furry friends. It’s easy to absentmindedly leave a pit on the counter where an inquisitive pup could easily snatch it.
Avocados and avocado oil are probably best avoided if you want to avoid any complications for your dog. The myth that avocado fruit is toxic for dogs is common, and – although it doesn’t tell the whole story – there is enough truth to it to warrant care. Some dog foods use avocado oil to bolster their nutritional content, but you should use care if you want to give it to your dog yourself. Consulting a veterinarian is always a good idea before you change or add anything to your dog’s diet.
Featured image credit: kerdkanno, Pixabay