If you’ve looked anywhere on the market, you know that avocado is especially controversial to give to pets. Most experts agree that the actual avocado flesh is non-toxic, but the seed and skin can be extremely problematic. However, given that there are over 500 varieties of avocados, we cannot be completely certain about the safety of this popular green fruit.
With this in mind, is avocado oil something your dog can eat? Avocado oil may not contain the toxic elements of the fruit, so it can be safe for dogs. But there are things you must consider.
What Is Avocado?
Avocado is a fruit produced by the Persea americana tree. Mexico is the leading producer of these fruits worldwide, but they can grow in various areas. They are readily available in grocery stores and used in countless recipes for humans; spread on toast, turned into dip, or adding depth to a salad, this is a versatile ingredient.
For dogs, there is concern about the toxic effects of persin, which is found in the skin and seed of avocados, and there is not enough evidence to prove without a doubt that this toxin could also affect the flesh.
As the world moves away from using the environmentally damaging palm oil, alternatives like avocado oil are becoming more prominent. Although not without its own ecological concerns, its production is more favorable to that of palm oil.
Avocados Are Toxic to Dogs (Or Are They?)
There is near consensus that the skin and seed of avocados are toxic to dogs, as they contain high levels of a substance called persin. This substance can be extremely problematic when ingested, which is why pet owners are always urged to keep peelings and seeds away from their pets.
Dogs that ingest avocados may suffer from a range of clinical signs, from vomiting and diarrhea, to liver and kidney damage. However, dogs are less affected by the toxic effects of avocados than most other animal species, with livestock species, birds and reptiles being more severely affected, with signs like gut stasis, heart disease, even death.
Based on these rather muddy statements, our advice is to always err on the side of caution. While a small amount of avocado flesh is unlikely to cause any severe side effects for your favorite hound, the uncertainty about their toxic effects mean that we should be keeping the avocado safely on our plates and away from your dog.
Is Avocado Oil Safe for Dogs?
Due to the production process, avocado oil does not contain persin, so is not toxic to dogs. However, it is incredibly high in fat and should not make up a significant portion of your dog’s diet.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Avocado Oil for Dogs?
While avocado for dogs might be controversial, there are some known benefits of avocado oil for canines. Some of these include:
Vitamin E is responsible for vision, blood health, reproduction, and coat and skin enhancement. It also has some antioxidant properties. When dogs eat avocados, it nourishes their skin and coat, creating shiny fur.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids play another key role in skin and coat health. In addition, it can reduce the risk of heart disease in autoimmune conditions.
Oleic acid is another fatty acid that helps the body fight inflammation. It also improves overall heart health and improves cholesterol.
Studies have shown that dogs given avocado extract following orthopedic surgery showed significantly lower levels of arthritic change than those not receiving it.
Commercial Dog Products Containing Avocado
If you have scoured dog food ingredients and commercial foods, you might notice that foods like AvoDerm use avocado in their recipes. So what exactly does this say about the safety of this fruit? As we mentioned earlier, this is indeed a tricky situation.
Using avocado here aims to soothe sensitive skin and heal allergies and hotspots. While this might be a desirable food option for some pet owners, we recommend looking for other options instead if you have a healthy dog.
What’s the Verdict?
There is no real benefit to be gained by adding avocado oil to your dog’s diet; it is mostly fat and simply isn’t required. However, if you spot avocado oil on the ingredients list of a dog food or joint supplement, there is no need for concern, as avocado oil is persin-free and safe for dogs.
Foods containing avocado, however, should be avoided until their safety is well established.
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