Find Out Why Avocado Is An Excellent Fruit To Offer Your Dog

avocado health benefits and how to add avocado to your dog and cat's diet
★ 5 min read
In this article:
  1. Avocado fruit (flesh), not skin and pit
  2. Avocado health benefits
  3. How to select avocado
  4. How to serve avocado
  5. Smoothie recipes with avocado for dogs
  6. How to introduce avocado to the diet
  7. Daily serving size
  8. Cautions

1.0 Avocado Fruit (flesh), NOT Skin and Pit

This fruit can be an excellent addition to your dog's diet. Avocado, also called alligator pear, or butter fruit is botanically classified as a single seeded berry. The flesh of the avocado is a nutrient-rich dog-safe fresh food. The seed (pit) of the avocado contains persin, a natural substance that can cause gastrointestinal upset. Always remove the skin, and the seed. Offer ONLY the flesh of the avocado.

2.0 Avocado Health Benefits 

2.1 Avocado Is a Good Source of Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids
  • Vitamins
    • Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate.
  • Amino Acids
    • Eighteen (18) essential amino acids.
  • Minerals 
    • Including calcium, copper, folate, iron, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

2.2 Avocado Is An Anti-inflammatory Food
Avocado has a unique profile of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich properties.  The majority (85%) of calories from an avocado come from potent anti-inflammatory fats that support healthy function of the brain, blood vessels, joints, and more.   
2.3 An Anti-carcinogenic Food
Avocado is a rich source of important anti-carcinogenic phytochemicals that help protect the body against cancer.

2.4 Heart Health Support
When consumed on a regular basis (daily or several times per week), avocado can contribute to cardiovascular health helping to lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), and reduce oxidative stress within the blood stream.

2.5 Metabolic Health Support
Avocado and can help your dog avoid the on-set of metabolic issues by improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity when avocado is consumed regularly as part of a species appropriate diet
2.6 Good Source of Dietary Fiber 
The dietary fiber in avocado helps regulate blood sugar levels, aids digestive and eliminatory health, and detoxification.

2.7 Liver Health Support
Avocado is excellent for your dog’s liver health. The nutrients in avocado support production of the important antioxidant, glutathione.

2.8 Rich Source of Antioxidents and Omega Fatty Acids to Support Absorption
Carotenoids are a pigment and potent antioxidant that give fruit and vegetables their bright yellow, red and orange color. Carotenoids are fat suluable - they need to be consumed with fat to be absorbed by the body. Avocado contains carotenoids and omega fatty acids. 
If you're including other vegetables and fruit that are rich in lycopene and other carotenoids, add a slice of avocado to the meal to help maximize the benefits of the carotenoids.

2.9 Eye Health, Joint Health and Skin Health.
Avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin two natural source phytochemicals that are crucial for eye and joint health.
2.10 Phytoesterol Rich
Avocados are the richest fruit-source of phytoesterols. Phytoesterols are important to support cardiovascular health.

3.0 How to Select Avocado

Organic vs. Non-Organic

While it is great if you can purchase organic avocado, conventionally grown avocado is a good choice too. The USDA’s and FDA’s recent (2015) tests indicated that conventionally raised avocado was the cleanest of all fruit tested for pesticide residue – only 1% of avocados tested showed any detectable pesticides.
Don’t purchase mushy avocados. Purchase slightly soft-to-the-touch or firm avocados. If firm, do not refrigerate – simply place in a bowl on the counter (where your dog cannot ‘steal’ it) and allow to ripen. If the avocado has ripened to the point of being mushy throw it in the garbage – do not give over-ripe avocado to your dog. The flesh of overripe avocado is brown, may have dark spots, and the flesh may be sunken or have cracks. Overripe avocado is not healthy food for your dog.

Avocado is ready to eat when the avocado is a little soft (not mushy), and when you remove the skin the flesh is green with no brown or dark spots.

4.0 How to Serve Avocado

The pit of the avocado contains substances that are very toxic to dogs. The skin can cause a little upset tummy. Make sure you carefully remove the seed (pit), and skin of the avocado. Your dog should only consume the flesh of the avocado.

When removing the skin, be careful to preserve the dark green flesh that is found just underneath the avocado skin. The dark green flesh is packed with valuable antioxidants, and carotenoids. I use a knife to nick the avocado, and then draw the knife from the top tip of the avocado down to the bottom of the avocado on one side (vertical, not horizontal), and then the other side – do this all around the avocado and then you can slip a spoon under the skin to carefully peel away the skin while preserving the integrity of the dark green layer of flesh attached to the fruit.

You can then slice the avocado flesh with a knife, or spoon. The fresh, raw piece of cut avocado flesh can be offered to your dog as a self-selected treat, or mixed in with your dog's food of your dog selects avocado. Learn about self-selection in this article.

The nutrients in avocado are degraded by heat and cooking so serve fresh and raw – do not heat or cook.

If you are not going to use the entire avocado at one meal you can sprinkle a little organic apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice on the flesh of the avocado to prevent oxidation (darkening of the flesh after prolonged exposure to air).
5.0 Smoothie Recipes With Avocado For Dogs
Avocado makes a great addition to smoothies for your dog. The omega fatty acids in avocado are perfect for supporting absorption of nutrients in veggie or fruit smoothies.

For a variety of smoothie recipes for dogs, including smoothies with avocado:

6.0 How to Introduce Avocado to the Diet

If your dog has not had avocado before offer a small piece of avocado to your dog. Allow your dog to self-select the avocado. 
Learn how to do self-selection with your dog:

7.0 Daily Serving Guideline

Small dog
1 to 2 teaspoons
Medium size dog 
½ to 2 tablespoons
Large size dog
2 to 3 tablespoons
X-large dog (100+ lbs) 
3 to 4 tablespoons

8.0 Cautions

Do not give your dog avocado if any of the following conditions apply:

Your dog has an allergy to latex.
Your dog indicates she does not want avocado. Respect your dog's indication, learn about self-selection here.
Do not allow your dog to consume large amounts or unlimited amounts of avocado.

Always remove the skin and seed (pit) . The skin and pit contain persin, a natural substance that can be disruptive (irritating)  to your dog's gastrointestinal tract. Some dogs are able to tolerate consuming a little skin without adverse side effects.

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld

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