Avocados have been around since 10,000 BC. They originate from Mexico, hence the popular signature dish of guacamole loaded onto mexican tacos. Avocados are grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Here in Australia we are fortunate to have an abundance of avocados. An Avocado is considered a superfood because it contains a lot of nutrients and antioxidants, such as magnesium, potassium, folic acid, omega 3, lutein and fibre.It also contains vitamins A, C, D, E, K as well as B Group vitamins. It may also lower cholesterol in humans.
We can only assume that our fur babies should be able to enjoy the same health benefits as we do from eating an avocado but that’s where we might be wrong. Avocados have been reported to be highly toxic when ingested by an animal. This is due to a substance called persin which is found in the leaves, skin, seeds and pit of the avocado. According to Dr Jean Dodds (founder of Hemopet), she concludes that “persin does not adversely affect dogs or cats”. She goes on to say that it is more of a concern if your pet swallows the pit of the avocado which can cause a blockage.
The American Kennel Club has concerns about the amount of persin contained in the avocado as too much can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even myocardial damage. The high fat content in the avocado can lead to pancreatitis in dogs if they eat too much. The pit can also cause choking.
The Pet Poison Helpline Centre reports that “while dogs and cats are rarely affected by persin, avocado poisoning can be deadly to birds and large animals”.
Entirely Pets conclude that “it’s better to be safe than sorry. Avoid giving your dog avocado and try to make sure avocado trees are not within reach in your backyard and the surrounding property where your dog roams”.
As pet owners we strive to make sure that our pets are in optimum health and we do this by paying special attention to their diet. It goes without saying that it is better to err on the side of caution and to talk to your vet professional before introducing avocados or any other human foods into your pets diet.