Can Cats Or Dogs Eat Avocado?

Cats and dogs are two of the most popular pets globally, belonging to over 50 percent of people that live with pets in their homes. Finding a healthy treat or snack is a great way to reward your cat or dog when training them or to want to supplement their diet with some extra vitamins and minerals. A healthy pet means a happy owner!

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Cats and dogs can eat small amounts of avocado since it can be beneficial to their overall health and dietary needs. The skin and pit of the avocado should be avoided, as well as large amounts of the flesh since avocados contain a toxin called Persin, which can be very harmful to your pets.

So, the short answer might be yes, but there is certainly a little more to it than that. Being a pet owner comes with multiple responsibilities, for example, knowing and having a good understanding of the things that could potentially be harmful to your pets and, by contrast, the things that will highly benefit them that they can enjoy. Let’s explore these a little further. 

Can Cats Or Dogs Eat Avocado?

Yes, in small quantities, both cats and dogs can safely eat avocado. However, both cats and dogs should avoid large amounts. Using treats or adding additional ingredients to your pet’s food is common in most pet owner households. However, knowing which options are safe and suitable for your pets is not always common knowledge.

It is always best to ensure that you have done your research for your peace of mind, and ultimately, the health of your furry family members.

Here we’ll have a look at the overall benefits of avocado and how that translates to your cat or dog, as well as some alternative treat or snack ideas that you could try instead.

The Health Benefits Of Avocado For Your Cat Or Dog

The avocado sometimes hilariously referred to as the alligator pear or butter fruit, is a fruit that comes from the Avocado tree and is considered a type of berry. Unlike most other fruits, avocados have little to no sweetness, which is why many people often mistake them for vegetables.

Avocados are a superfood packed with a variety of nutrients, fiber, good carbohydrates, and high amounts of healthy fats, making it easy to understand why many studies suggest that avocados are highly beneficial to your health, and of course, the health of your cats and dogs.

Here is a list of some of the essential nutrients found in avocados:

  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium 
  • Folate

Interestingly enough, avocados contain more potassium than bananas. Potassium is a vital nutrient for humans, cats, and dogs. It assists in the function of nerves and the contraction of muscles like the heart, for example.

A high potassium intake has been linked to lowering blood pressure, essential in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and even kidney failure.

There are also more minor traces of nutrients in avocados, such as iron, zinc, copper, phosphorous, and Vitamin A.

A single serving, consisting of roughly 3.5 ounces or 100 grams, makes up around 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, and approximately 15 grams of healthy fats. On average, each serving also contains around 9 grams of carbohydrates; however, 7 of those grams are, in fact, fiber, making avocados a low-carb fruit.

Other benefits can include:

  • Improved digestion
  • Lowering of cholesterol
  • Help for the eyes, including reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Assistance in weight-loss

Based on this information, it can be easy to see why anyone would want to consume avocados and even give them to their pets. However, having all of the necessary information, the good and the bad is essential to be able to decide as to whether something is right for you, and ultimately your cats or dogs.

Let’s have a closer look at the other, more daunting side of the coin.

Can Cats Or Dogs Eat All The Parts Of An Avocado?

The short answer to this question is no. The reason is that avocados contain traces of a toxin called Persin, which is not harmful to humans but can be harmful to your cats and dogs. 

Persin is a type of fungicidal toxin that can be found in avocados. It is an oil-soluble compound that is structurally very similar to some fatty acids. Due to its oil-soluble structure, Persin can leak from the seed of the fruit into the body.

The highest concentration of Persin is found in the tree and the leaves of the avocado tree, with lesser amounts found in the skin and the pit (seed) of the avocado fruit. At all costs, these parts of the tree and fruit are to be one hundred percent avoided by your cats and dogs. While Persin is not known to be toxic to humans, it certainly is harmful to your pets.

The flesh of the avocado fruit is the only safe part for your cats and dogs to consume. Although there may still be traces of Persin in the flesh of the avocado, they are in very low quantities. Therefore, if your cat or dog consumes small amounts of avocado, there shouldn’t be enough Persin present to cause any harmful side effects.

Some side-effects of Persin ingestion to watch out for in your cats or dogs can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stool obstruction
  • Pancreatitis (Inflammation of the pancreas)

Depending on the severity, a trip to the vet will be necessary if any of these symptoms occur. Make sure that you monitor your cat or dog closely if they have eaten the flesh of an avocado. If any of the other parts of the fruit or tree have been eaten, take them to the vet as fast as possible to stay ahead of Persin’s effects.

Avocado For Cats

Cats are wonderfully peculiar little creatures. Although they tend to be quite fussy, they are inquisitive animals who will at the very least want to smell just about everything that you try to give them.

Since they can be pretty fussy, finding an appropriate snack or treat that your cat enjoys can be rather tricky. If they take to it, avocado could be a good option for a treat for your little feline friend. Packed with nutrients, avocado can be beneficial to your cat’s health, which can contribute to improving the health of their skin and fur.

Again, keep the portion size as small as possible, especially if it is your cat’s first time trying it to stay on the safer side. Start by slicing a small, thin piece of the avocado flesh and giving it to them to try. You could even mash a small amount of it up and mix it into their regular food. This option might be a lot easier for introducing avocado to your cat.

Remember to monitor them closely for the next one or two days for any side effects like diarrhea or vomiting.

Avocado For Dogs

Dogs, on the other hand, are less known for being anywhere near as fussy as cats. They are far more likely to swallow anything you might bring their way before giving themselves enough time to process what it even is.

When it comes to avocado for dogs, the situation is almost identical to that of cats. Yes, there are absolutely health benefits to giving your dog avocado, but once again, large amounts are not recommended.

Dogs might be a little more resistant to Persin, but generally speaking, a dog’s capacity to eat more at a time is higher than a cat’s, so being in control of how much you give them is very important. Also, avocados are likely to fit in a dog’s mouth like a ball, so make sure not to leave any whole avocados in a place that they will be able to reach easily.

Remember that it is the skin and the pit or seed of the fruit that could potentially be most harmful to them.

Same as cats, start with a small, thin slice, or try mashing some up and mixing it into their food. Monitor them closely, especially after the first time that you give it to them, for any possible side effects.

Should You Give Avocado To Your Cats Or Dogs?

As previously mentioned, small amounts of avocado can have several health benefits for your cats and dogs. It’s the more significant amounts along with the skin and pit of the avocado that you want to avoid due to that nasty Persin toxin strictly.

It is entirely understandable why some pet owners wouldn’t want to take the chance, even with only a small risk involved. Ultimately, this will always come down to your preference and what you are comfortable with as a pet owner. Of course, every cat and dog will have a unique response to avocado, and some may not even like it at all!

If you are comfortable and feeling curious to try it out for the health benefits of your cat or dog, the best thing to do is to start slowly. Start perhaps with just a small slice as a treat, or even to mix a minuscule amount into their food. You should know almost instantly whether or not they are enjoying it.

From there, monitor them as close as possible to be aware of any adverse side effects. If over the next day or two they seem completely normal, then it should be absolutely fine to give them a little more and to perhaps even incorporate it into their diet, or just to keep it as a snack.

A good key to remember to ensure that you are always on the safe side is to exercise moderation.

Can Cats Or Dogs Eat Guacamole?

If you are already starting to think of ways to make avocado a little more palatable and enjoyable for your pets, like for example making delicious guacamole, you may want to exercise a little caution.

In many of the traditional recipes for guacamole, onions and garlic are often used to enhance the flavor. Unfortunately, both of these ingredients are highly toxic to cats and dogs and should be avoided.

Lime juice is also a typical ingredient in guacamole. Limes are, unfortunately, another substance that you’ll want to keep away from your cats and dogs. Although death is unlikely, the essential oils found in lime can make your cats and dogs quite sick, with symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

In terms of traditional guacamole, you should avoid giving it to your pets. You could, however, try experimenting with other guacamole recipes that make use of safer ingredients for your cats and dogs.

Treat Ideas To Try For Cats And Dogs Instead Of Avocado

If you have already had a bad experience with avocado and your pets, or if you are not comfortable giving your cat or dog any amount of avocado at all, don’t worry! There is a large variety of alternatives that you could look at trying that are also very healthy and pose no risk to your furry friends.

If you are looking at supplementing your cat or dogs diet with something fun and healthy or just giving them a treat or a reward, you can safely try any of these options:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin
  • Apples (just make sure to remove any seeds)
  • Green beans
  • Cucumber
  • Bananas

For cats specifically, since they can be such fussy little creatures, you may want to consider steaming the vegetables before giving it to them. Since they might find them a little hard to chew, or they will find them to be simply unpalatable. You can, of course, do the same for dogs, though generally speaking, they shouldn’t give you as much trouble as cats when it comes to treats.

Dogs Eat. Cats Dine

As a pet owner, you want to have peace of mind in knowing that whatever you are giving to your cat or your dog is not going to be harmful to them. Although avocado is a great healthy option, some might prefer to avoid it entirely. Thankfully there are many other options to choose from to ensure the happiness of your furry friend!

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