Avocado toast is an absolutely scrumptious way to treat yourself, but you may be wondering how risky it is to eat this food around your pup, lest they sneak a taste.
The answer, as (almost) always, is complicated.
My Dog Ate Avocado—Are They In Danger?
This depends on what part of the avocado your pup ate, and how much.
Avocado Fruit Flesh & Skin
First of all, yup, avocados are a fruit!3 The flesh is the delicious inner part that we’re piling onto our toast or mixing in guac.
Certain varieties of avocados are toxic to birds and some mammals, due to a special plant toxin called persin. In these animals, persin can cause severe disease and death1. However, we actually find that dogs do not seem to have the same problem.
Only one case study from 1994 reports two dogs in Kenya who may have gotten severely sick from possibly eating a lot of avocados (though the link to avocados was not confirmed)2. Many dogs will tolerate a bite of avocado flesh with no issues. The most likely adverse reaction after eating avocado flesh is some gastrointestinal upset.
Avocado skin (say, if your dog gets into the trash) isn’t going to poison your dog either, but the skins don’t digest easily, so they can cause choking hazards or potentially contribute to obstructions.
Related Article: Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
Avocado Seed (Pit)
Avocado pits are definitely the most dangerous part of the avocado for dogs. Pits are large and round—the perfect size and shape to cause an intestinal obstruction, which can result in a life-threatening emergency. If yours is an avocado-eating household, make sure to dispose of the pits somewhere your dog can’t find them! If you know (or suspect) that your dog ate an avocado pit, you should call your vet ASAP.
Avocado Fat Content
Although avocados are not toxic to dogs, they do contain more fat than the average fruit3. Excess dietary fat can cause pancreatitis in sensitive dogs4. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, and it can range in severity from mild gastroenteritis (intestinal infection and inflammation) to severe disease requiring hospitalization.
For this reason, you probably want to avoid deliberately giving avocado as treats. So, final answer: It’s not a great idea for a regular treat, but if your dog snuck a bite of avocado flesh there is no need to panic. If you are worried or your pet is acting strangely, however, never hesitate to call up your vet or a veterinary ER to consult specifically about your dog and what they ingested. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Can My Dog Eat Guacamole?
The guac is extra (bad for your dog), so no, they really shouldn’t.
Guacamole often contains onions and garlic. These are true toxins for dogs and can cause serious illness even in small amounts.
What Can I Give My Dog Instead Of Avocado?
Although avocado exploded in popularity in recent years—and they do offer a lot of health benefits for humans in the form of healthy fats, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants—there are plenty of other options better suited for your pup’s health.
Check out this list of dog-friendly human foods and remember to always discuss your dog’s diet with your veterinarian first!
This article has been reviewed by Margo Hennet, DVM.
Margo Hennet, DVM, cVMA, and veterinarian at BARK is a canine nutrition, health, & wellness connoisseur. She has a combined 10 years of experience in clinical medicine, research, and education—that’s 70 dog years of know-how—and graduated from Colorado State University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She completed specialized training in internal medicine prior to working as a general practitioner in Colorado, has authored peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, holds certification in veterinary medical acupuncture, and is a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and American Veterinary Medical Association.
1Peterson ME and Talcott PA. Small Animal Toxicology, Third Edition. St. Louis, Elsevier, 2013.
2Buoro IB, Nyamwange SB, Chai D, Munyua SM. Putative avocado toxicity in two dogs. Onderstepoort J Vet Res 1994, 61(1):107-9.
3“Avocados, Raw, California,” FoodData Central, US Department of Agriculture, 3 March 2022. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171706/nutrients
4Brooks, W. “Pancreatitis in Dogs,” Veterinary Partner, 3 March 2022, https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspxpid=19239&id=/mariv/default.aspxpid=19239&catid=102896&id=10134873&ind=1611&objtypeid=10/mark.html/default.aspx?pid=19239&catId=102899&id=4952412&ind=223&objTypeID=1007