avocados good for some pets, fatal for others

There is much debate over whether avocados are safe for animals. The popular superfood has many health benefits for humans, and we are tempted to want our animal companions to experience those benefits as well. However, avocados are not safe for all pets, and you should think twice before feeding them to companion animals.

Avocados contain an oil-soluble toxin called persin. It’s present in the fruit’s seed and flesh, as well as the bark and leaves of the avocado tree.

In general, dogs and cats do not seem to be affected by persin, but for birds, horses, cattle and goats the substance can be fatal.

Birds such as canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and large parrots are extremely susceptible to persin toxicity. Owners should avoid feeding their birds avocado in any form.

Horses can die from ingesting just the leaves from an avocado tree, and owners should avoid putting horses in any pasture with avocado trees growing nearby.

For dogs and cats, avocado doesn’t seem to be toxic, and may even be beneficial. Indeed, because of it’s nutritional pedigree (high in potassium and good fats), avocado is often included as an addition to pet food. You will sometimes find an avocado meal or oil on the ingredient list, and this is generally not expected to pose a hazard to dogs and cats.

Think twice before feeding your pet fresh avocado, however, because some pets do get mild stomach upset from ingesting avocado flesh or peel.

The biggest risk posed to dogs and cats by the fruit is that they can choke on the seed if ingested. The large pit can get stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract.

Even though not found to be toxic in dogs and cats, most veterinarians recommend a “better be safe than sorry” approach when it comes to feeding pets human food of any kind.

Even though we treat them like family, in this case, it may be safer not to share.

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