Why do Avocados make dogs sick? What to Know

Diagnosis of Avocado Poisoning in Dogs

If you know that your dog has consumed a large amount of avocado or the pit, call your veterinarian. Once you get to the veterinarian, he will check your dog for any clinical signs of distress and do a physical examination. The veterinarian may choose to do a urinalysis, blood work, and biochemistry profile, simply to check your dog’s system and to rule out any underling medical issues.

A definitive diagnosis of avocado poisoning is made by the veterinarian by looking at your dog’s symptoms and having knowledge of exposure and consumption of avocado.

If your dog has ingested the pit, the vet may perform an abdominal scan or contrast x-ray to assess for a blockage.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Avocado?

Allergies develop with repeated exposures over time. If you are frequently sharing avocado with your dog, it is certainly possible for them to develop a food allergy, but this would be considered rare.

Even though the pulp or flesh of avocado is fairly safe for dogs, keep in mind that it can be toxic or harmful for other animals in or around your house. According to the ASPCA, avocado can be toxic to horses, birds, goats and rabbits.

A:Avocado peel, leaves and pits contain concentrated amounts of persin, a fungicidal toxin with the potential to cause serious health problems. These should never be served to your dog. The pulp or flesh of an avocado has less concentration of persin and small amounts are typically considered safe for dogs. Consult with your vet before offering any amount of avocado to your canine.

While there are some health benefits to avocados—including vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants—these benefits can be obtained by feeding other foods that are lower in fat and do not contain the risk of inducing pancreatitis. If you want to give the benefits of avocado to your dog, look for vet-approved prepared foods containing this fruit.

Before serving any new foods, even healthy ones such as fresh strawberries to your dog, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)

First a note about persin. Avocado trees contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This toxin is more concentrated in the leaves, pit and skin of an avocado, but there are low levels contained in the flesh as well. Depending on which parts and how much is consumed, avocados can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and myocardial damage.

Can Dogs Eat Avocado? Benefits and Risks

Avocado contains a toxin called persin, but only certain species of animals are poisoned by persin. While dogs and cats are rarely affected by persin, avocado poisoning can be deadly to birds and large animals (such as cows, goats, sheep). The bigger risk to dogs and cats is a foreign body obstruction in the esophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract if part or all of a large avocado seed is swallowed. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is also possible due to the high fat content in avocados.

Pet birds, including canaries, parakeets, cockatiels, and large parrots, should never be fed avocado as they are extremely susceptible to persin. Signs of poisoning in birds include inability to perch, difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation around the bird’s heart and lungs, liver and kidney failure, and sudden death.

Ruminants and horses can also develop toxicity if they ingest enough avocados or avocado plant leaves. Ingestion can result in mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), swelling of the mouth, head, neck, or chest, and damage to the heart with potential for death.

The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.