For many, avocado has long been one of those fruits considered to be on the do not eat list for pets. Now more popular than ever, the truth is that if Fido or Whiskers sneaks a taste of your fresh guacamole, you don’t need to rush him to a veterinarian. In fact, you probably don’t need to do anything.
Semi-Safe for Cats and Dogs
The bark and leaves of an avocado tree and the seed and skin of the fruit itself contain an oil-soluble toxin known as persin. Although cited as causing vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs, new information suggests it’s not that dangerous – even when eaten in large quantities. According to the ASPCA, only mild stomach upset may occur if your cat or dog eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel.
The greater danger comes from pets who get ahold of the whole fruit and ingest its large, ping pong ball-sized pit. If the seed gets stuck in your pet’s throat, stomach or intestinal tract, he or she will require emergency veterinary care.
Still A Danger for Other Pets
Birds, rabbits, horses, and some other large animals are sensitive to the persin found in avocados. They can experience respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death following ingestion.
Canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and large parrots are considered the birds most susceptible to persin toxicity. They should never be fed avocado or guacamole. Symptoms of avocado poisoning in birds include those mentioned above, as well as the inability to perch. Treatment can be given if caught early and may be successful, but most birds do not survive poisonings because of their high metabolic rate and anatomy.
Given that avocado may cause your pooch or kitty an upset stomach, it’s recommended to be safe rather than sorry – that goes for all human food and table scraps. If your pet ingests avocado and shows concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian.