Avocado: Is it good or bad for your pet?

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There is a lot of misinformation on the internet concerning avocado and pets. If you have a cat or dog the flesh of the fruit is not toxic to them. Note that the pit and skin may be a choking hazard to cats and dogs. Animals such as birds, fish, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, donkeys, cattle, sheep and goats find the avocado toxic. The skin, pit, leaves and bark of the avocado tree contain a toxin called persin. Birds especially should be kept away from the avocado fruit or tree. Due to their high metabolic rate and respiratory system birds can succumb to toxic shock much quicker than larger animals. If your animals shows any symptoms of toxicity call your vet immediately.

Signs of toxicity:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargic
  • Congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of stool production
  • Inability to perch for birds

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Source

Please note though that some species of dogs or cats can be sensitive to the fruit. You may want to err on the side of caution and just keep your pet away from the avocado completely. But if your dog or cat shows signs of interest in avocado you can start by giving them a very small amount (1/8 of a tsp) to see how they react. If they seem to enjoy it and don’t experience any upset stomach or other symptoms you can give them the same amount the next week.

As always your animal should be eating a balanced diet appropriate to their species. Cats are obligate carnivores whereas dogs can be omnivores but the bulk of a dog’s diet should also be meat. As with humans the best food you can afford to feed your pet is a good idea (organic if possible, no hormones, pesticides or GMO if not). Feeding your animal the best you can afford prevents health issues down the road. My personal preference is to use food or other natural alternatives as medicine. If you think about it, humans and animals lived in harmony many thousands of years before pharmaceuticals were created so I believe as close to nature as possible is the best way to feed both yourself and your animal.

Further reading:

ASPCA Poison Control – Avocados

The Truth About Avocados and Your Dog or Cat

Are Avocados Good for My Cat and Dog?

Merck Veterinary Manual – Food Hazards