Pug licking an avocado

For a dog, side efffects of eating avocado include vomiting and diarrhoea.

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My dog ate avocado

By Dr. Stephanie Holmes BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAECC MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

Due to its toxicity and its ability to choke a dog, your pet should steer clear of avocados.

If a dog has eaten an avocado, you should probably call a vet for advice. Avocados contain persin, which is a fungicidal toxin. It is found in the whole plant, but concentrated most in the leaves, skin and pit, with only a small amount in the flesh of the fruit. This toxin is protective to the plant but poisonous to many animals to varying degrees.

Are avocados toxic to dogs?

Avocados are toxic to dogs to a certain degree. Dogs can occasionally tolerate a small amount of the flesh, as this contains the lowest amount of persin. Yet you must never allow your dog to eat the skin, pit or leaves of the plant.

How much avocado can hurt a dog?

It is actually unknown exactly how much persin is lethal to a dog. In large amounts it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and damage to the heart muscle. Due to avocados' high fat content, they may also cause a risk of pancreatitis, which is very painful for a dog, and in some cases can lead to multiple organ failure and death. The pit of the avocado, apart from containing relatively high levels of persin, also poses a risk as a foreign body and can cause choking or intestinal blockage.

Are avocados poisonous to dogs?

They do contain a toxin that can be poisonous to dogs. Infrequent, small amounts of flesh may be OK. Larger amounts of flesh, the pit, skin or plant itself are likely to lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, and have the potential of causing pancreatitis and heart damage.

What are the symptoms of avocado poisoning in dogs?

Vomiting and diarrhoea are the most common sign. Stomach pain, such as standing hunched up or stretching out the front legs, is often seen. Weakness and lethargy may be observed. In severe cases of toxicity, which are rare in dogs, your dog may also show signs of problems with breathing or a soft cough due to heart failure.

What are the causes of avocado poisoning in dogs?

If your dog has only eaten the flesh of the avocado but is unwell, it is most likely due to the high fat content, which has caused irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. But this may also cause pancreatitis, which can be a serious condition. If your dog has eaten the skin, pit or part of the plant, then the signs may be due to the toxin in an avocado, persin. Sometimes the signs may be due to a blockage or obstruction, if the pit has been swallowed whole.

How do you diagnose avocado poisoning in dogs?

A diagnosis may be made on history taking alone, if you know your dog has eaten an avocado. If you have not seen your dog eating anything that it shouldn’t, then a physical examination, blood tests and imaging (including ultrasound or s-ray) may also be needed for diagnosis.

What treatment is there for avocado poisoning in dogs?

Treatment will depend on symptoms, severity of disease and what has been eaten. Mild vomiting and diarrhoea in an otherwise well dog may be treated under the direction of a vet at home. Some dogs may require hospitalisation for treatment, including a drip. If a pit is causing an obstruction, then an operation to remove the pit may be required. If toxicity is causing heart problems, then specific drugs to help the heart work and reduce fluid build up will be prescribed by your vet.

What are the side effects of a dog eating avocado? 

Most commonly the side effects would be vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and lethargy. These are usually caused by the high fat content, but may also be caused by persin (the anti-fungal toxin) or a physical blockage due to the pit.

What shoud I do if my dog just ate an avocado pit? 

If you think or know your dog has just eaten the pit of an avocado, take them to the vet immediately. The pit poses a couple of risks to your dog. If the pit is large but the dog is small, it may get stuck at the back of the throat. This may potentially block the airway, thus suffocating the dog. More often the pit may get stuck in the oesophagus (food pipe) or further down in the stomach or intestines. These scenarios will likely mean your dog will require an emergency operation to remove the pit. If the pit has been chewed into smaller pieces before swallowing, the main risk would be from the persin toxin poisoning your dog.

Is it dangerous if my dog ate guacamole?

Generally speaking a small amount of guacamole probably won't harm your dog, as most dogs can tolerate small amounts of the flesh of the avocado. Although, you must bear in mind that the other ingredients in avocado may pose a risk to your dog, e.g. onions. Always contact a vet giving the exact details of amount eaten, quantities contained (weights of ingredients) and the time eaten, along with any health issues or other medications the dog may be taking.

When should I see a vet?

You must always see a vet, if your dog is showing any signs of illness. If you know your dog has eaten the skin or pit of an avocado, again, an appointment is necessary. You can always phone a vet for advice, if you are unsure, and they will book an appointment to see the dog if needed.

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