Are Avocados Bad for Pets?
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!
SEE WHAT HUMAN FOODS YOUR DOG CAN EAT: