Are Avocados Bad for Pets?

More on PawNation: Avocados, Cats, Dogs, Health, Safety

We recently wrote about the ASPCA's top 10 pet poisons of 2009. Included on the list were human foods that can make pets sick, including avocados. Little did we know that one little green fruit would inspire such a flurry of comments from people who argue that their dogs love the key guacamole ingredient. So we decided to set the record straight.

According to the ASPCA, the avocado plant contains a substance called persin. "Different species of animals have different toxic reactions to avocados," said Dr. Tina Wismer, the senior director of veterinary outreach and education at the ASPCA. "Animals such as birds can develop respiratory distress, fluid build-up around the heart, and death. Horses, rabbits and goats can develop both mastitis [inflammation of the mammary glands] and cardiac problems. They also get a build-up of fluid under the skin in the face and chest."

"In dogs, cats and ferrets there are no reliable reports of poisoning," she added. "However, dogs commonly ingest the pit and it can get stuck in the digestive tract."

One other thing to keep in mind: different varieties of avocado contain different amounts of persin. So even if your pet rabbit or horse has eaten avocados without a problem in the past, the same might not be true in the future. The common Guatemalan variety seems to be the most worrisome, the ASPCA notes. And avocado leaves contain the most persin, Wismer told Paw Nation.

So what's the verdict? If you have a pet bird, horse, or rodent, absolutely keep it away from the guac. If your dog adores avocados, he can probably keep on enjoying them. Just make sure to keep those pesky pits far out of reach!


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Joey Mucklow

*waited one hour before deciding to take him to the vet

October 21 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Mucklow

My 18 week old mini Rex rabbit Thumper just died within 36-48 hours after hopping onto my table and eating an avacado left out to ripen. He was super energetic and playful the night before he died; I was up late on a Netflix binge and he was hopping around the furniture and playing with me until almost 3 am. In the late morning/early afternoon the next day he was lethargic and not eating, drinking, pooping, or peeing. At first I wasn't sure what to think of it so I waited about an before deciding he needed to go the vet. He died in my car on the way. I did some reading after to discover that avocado is indeed toxic to small animals. Do I know for sure that is what killed him? No. However, given the fact his normal diet was hay, fresh greens, pellets, fresh organic veggies, and bottled water the avocado he got into was the only odd man out. There is a lady in the UK that who breeds rabbits that fed her sixteen rabbits avocados given to her and lost three young rabbits at home and an older female the vet had to put down because there was nothing that could be done. Please keep avocado on top your fridge to ensure they'll never get to it.

October 21 2013 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I lived with two young German Shepherds that ate several avocados a week because we lived on an Avocado grove. both shepherds lived to be 12 years old. No issues that i ever saw or the vet ever talked about.

June 02 2013 at 12:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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