My dog ate Avocado and seems fine. What should I do?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Avocados contain a toxin known as persin, which can cause digestive upset in dogs.
  2. Avocados are high in fat, so dogs that eat a lot of avocado pieces are at risk for pancreatitis.
  3. If your dog ate a lot of avocado and shows signs of illness, he should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  4. If dogs swallow a pit and start to choke, it’s a medical emergency.

You’re prepping guacamole and step out of the kitchen for a few minutes. When you return, the bowl is on the floor, and your dog is licking his chops. What should you do?

Avocados contain a chemical called persin, which kills fungus and can make your furbaby sick. Additionally, if Fido swallows the pit, he may choke on it. If your dog eats avocado or swallows the pit, contact your veterinarian and report any signs of illness like abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting.

In this article, I’ll explain why avocados aren’t safe for dogs and what you should do if your furbaby eats some. Read on to learn more.

How Much Avocado is Toxic to Dogs?

Fortunately, a few tidbits of avocado flesh probably won’t make your dog sick. Canines are less sensitive to persin than other animals, including horses and birds. Additionally, the toxin is more concentrated in the leaves, bark, pit, and skin than in the fleshy part of the fruit. 

Because avocados are full of fat, you should call your veterinarian if Fido ingests a large amount of avocado. The heavy fat load can cause pancreatitis, which is potentially life-threatening.

It may be a different story if your dog eats the pit. Persin levels in the seed can make your pooch sick, and the hardcore may get stuck in his digestive system, causing an obstruction. 

What should I do if my dog ate avocado?

If your dog ate avocado, determine how much he swallowed and whether he also ingested the pit or skin of the fruit. If Fido only had a few bites of the flesh but no skin or pits, don’t panic. The flesh has the lowest concentration of persin. Observe him over the next 24-48 hours for signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach pain. If you notice concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

However, if Fido ate several pieces of avocado or swallowed some skin or the pit, you should contact your veterinarian. Tell the doctor how much skin, flesh, and pits your furbaby ingested and whether he’s showing any signs of illness. Your vet will advise you about the next steps to take and when to bring your pooch into the clinic for treatment.

If your dog swallows one or more pits and shows signs of choking or obstruction such as gagging, difficulty breathing, pawing at the face, or collapsing, it’s an emergency. Take Fido to the clinic immediately. If possible, have someone call ahead so the staff is prepared for your arrival.

What Should I Do Immediately If I Suspect My Dog Has Been Poisoned by Avocado

Persin causes digestive irritation and upset in dogs, and the pit can cause an obstruction. If your dog ingested avocado and you notice signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, abdominal pain, or lethargy, contact your veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment of avocado poisoning can improve the prognosis and reduce the risk of complications.

Any time you see signs of choking like gagging, pawing at the face, or drooling excessively, take your pooch to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Choking is a life-threatening condition.

What if my dog ate plenty of avocado but seems fine?

If your dog ate a lot of avocado flesh, contact your veterinarian. He may have ingested enough persin to irritate his stomach and cause illness. It usually takes a few hours to a day for symptoms to surface. However, the greater concern is that avocados are high in fat. 

Consuming lots of fat can trigger potentially life-threatening pancreatitis in your dog. It will usually take 12-24 hours before dogs develop signs of pancreatitis after they eat the offending food. However early treatment can help to mitigate the severity. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear before you call your veterinarian.

Signs of choking, avocado poisoning, and pancreatitis

The three health dangers that your dog faces if he eats avocado are choking on the pit, persin toxicity, and pancreatitis. Knowing the signs of each can help you take action to help your furbaby.

Signs of choking include:

  • Panting or wheezing
  • Drooling
  • Gagging
  • Pawing at the face
  • Hunched appearance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling

Signs of persin toxicity include:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing(rare)

Signs of pancreatitis include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Praying posture
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Jaundice

What happens to dogs that eat avocado?

When dogs eat avocados, the persin in the flesh, skin, or pits can damage normal cell membrane functioning. Usually, the toxin irritates the gastrointestinal lining and causes digestive trouble. 

Pits from the avocado may lodge in the throat and block airflow. If this happens, your dog will gag, paw at his face, or act restless. Choking is a medical emergency. 

Because avocados are rich in omega fatty acids, the high-fat content can cause pancreatic inflammation. When this happens, digestive enzymes malfunction and attack the pancreas instead of breaking down food. Without treatment, pancreatitis is life-threatening.

Why is avocado harmful to dogs?

Avocado is harmful to dogs because persin toxin can cause cellular damage. Usually, the chemical affects the gastrointestinal system. In rare conditions, it can also damage the heart

Additionally, the fat from large quantities of avocado may enter the bloodstream and overwhelm the pancreas, triggering an inflammatory response. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, digestive enzymes break down the organ rather than digest food. 

The final threat is from the pits. When dogs swallow the hardcore, it can lodge in the throat and block the airway. Without oxygen, the cells will not be able to function.

How do vets treat dogs that get sick from eating avocado?

Veterinary treatment varies depending on the type of illness your dog experiences. When you bring your furbaby to the clinic, the doctor will examine him and assess the situation. 

If your dog is choking, the veterinarian will sedate him and gently try to remove the pit. If it’s lodged too securely, the doctor will perform a tracheostomy to establish an airway for your dog.

Dogs that are suffering mild digestive upset from persin toxicity can usually be monitored at home. Your vet may also recommend providing supportive care to soothe his discomfort.

When dogs ingest a large amount of avocado your veterinarian may induce vomiting(if he ate the fruit recently) and administer activated charcoal to minimize absorption of the toxin.

For dogs that show signs of severe illness and pancreatitis, the doctor will put your dog on a fast to rest his system and administer IV fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, and other supportive care as needed.

How long is the recovery?

Recover varies depending on the effects of the avocado. 

  • Dogs often recover from the trauma of choking in a few days. 
  • If your furbaby became ill from the persin, the symptoms should subside in a few days as he passes the material through his digestive system.
  • When dogs develop pancreatitis, recovery varies depending on the severity of the illness and how quickly you sought treatment. Dogs that have mild to moderate pancreatitis and receive prompt treatment usually recover in a month or more. If your pooch has a severe case, his prognosis is guarded.

The Final Woof

Avocados are not safe for dogs. Depending on what part and amount of the plant your dog ingests, it can trigger digestive upset, pancreatitis, or choking. If your dog eats a lot of the fruit or pits, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Dogs that show signs of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, should have an examination and receive appropriate veterinary care. Early treatment can help reduce symptoms and improve your dog’s recovery and prognosis.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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