The Scoop on Avocado and Your Pets

May 2, 2019

a dog licking its nose

Recently, using avocado as a healthy fat in diets has become a popular trend. Different variations of avocado toast are sweeping the nation as a healthy meal choice, but there is not much awareness about the potential threat to pets. Although avocado is frequently found on lists of toxic foods for animals, it’s sometimes unclear how dangerous an avocado ingestion may be, what signs of toxicity to look out for, and what species are sensitive to avocado poisoning. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you know the dangers of avocados inside and out.

an avocado

The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, and more serious signs in other animals due to a wide range in sensitivity across species. Birds, horses and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado toxicity. Sheep and goats can also develop serious clinical signs, so it’s important to keep avocados away from them as well. 

Avocado toxicity can cause serious signs in birds such as: weakness, depression, feather pulling and agitation. With larger exposures we can even see more severe symptoms such as respiratory distress and edema. But the biggest concern for birds is cardiovascular damage, and some ingestions may even be fatal. 

Horses, donkeys and ruminants like sheep and goats frequently get swollen, edematous heads and necks. 

When using avocado in your diet, be sure to be mindful of its potential danger to your pets or animals on your farm. If an animal ingests avocado, prompt decontamination is essential to prevent serious symptoms. If you suspect your pet has eaten any part of an avocado, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 as soon as possible.