Are Avocados Good for Your Dog? The Fact!
This image is courtesy of @MarkHIllary via Flickr
Is avocado good for your dog?
Is your dog really safe eating avocados?
These questions have been generating mixed responses over time. The main goal of this article is to demystify the myths behind the bad image given to the healthy, good-for-your-dog avocados.
Shall we begin???
What are Avocados?
Avocados (guacamole) are fatty fruit. They are native to Mexico. There are hundreds of varieties of avocados. In United State, only 7 of these varieties are grown commercially. Out of these 7 types, Hass Avocado takes about 95%. California is the major producer of Avocados in USA.
Nutrients Make Up of Avocados
Avocados contain essential nutrients and important phytochemicals. According to analysis done by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and published by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), an average-size avocado (68 g) consists of the following:
- Energy 114 kcals
- Dietary fiber (4.6 g)
- Total sugar (0.2 g)
- Potassium (345 mg)
- Sodium (5.5 mg)
- Magnesium (19.5 mg)
- Vitamin A (43 µg)
- Vitamin C (6.0 mg)
- Vitamin E (1.3 mg)
- Vitamin K1 (14 µg)
- Folate (60 mg)
- Vitamin B-6 (0.2 mg)
- Niacin (1.3 mg)
- Pantothenic acid (1.0 mg)
- Riboflavin (0.1 mg)
- Choline (10 mg)
- Lutein/zeaxanthin (185 µg)
- Phytosterols (57 mg)
- MUFA – monounsaturated fatty acids (6.7 g)
- PUFA – polyunsaturated fatty acids
- SFA saturated fatty acids
It also contains high amount of phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium among others.
Health Benefits of Avocados as Applied to You and Your Dog.
- The MUFA, PUFA and SFA of avocados are essential fatty acid that enhances healthy blood lipid profile.
- The essential fat, also enhance availability of fat soluble vitamins and phytochemicals that you and your dog derive from fruits (including avocado itself) and vegetable. Avocado contain lipase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down fat and fat-soluble nutrients and enhances their digestions.
- Avocados enhance cardiovascular health of yours and that of your dog. Because avocados decreases triglyceride and low density lipid (LDL). It’s great for Schnauzer dog.
- It is great for management of your weight and that of your dog. Carbohydrates (not fat) are what make you and your dog grow fat.
- It enhance your skin and your dog fur.
- Its oleic acid helps reduce inflammation and has anticancer properties.
- It is enhances functionality of your dog’s gut and yours. That’s the fiber!
Why are Dogs’ Parents Afraid of Feeding their Dogs Avocados?
Good, healthy Avocados are given bad name because of the following myths.
1. Eh, It Causes Pancreatitis!
Enzymes needed to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins are produced by your dog’s pancreas. Pancreas also controls levels of blood sugar by regulating glucagon and insulin.
Pancreatitis is an ill-condition in which pancreas gets inflamed and overproduces digestive enzymes and fluids. A dangerous condition for your dog.
What Causes Pancreatitis
According to analysis done by KetoPet Sanctuary, cooked fats is one of the causes of pancreatitis. Cooked fats are fats processed by exposure to high temperatures, oxygen and bacteria or fungi. Cooked fat easily becomes rancid. And when consumed causes pancreatitis among others.
Avocados are raw fats which contain lipase (one of the enzymes your pancreas produces to breakdown fat and other fat soluble vitamins) thereby supporting your pancreases and your dog’s.
“…feeding higher (fresh, raw) fats in the presence of moderate protein and very low carbohydrates, is an effective means of ensuring that pancreatitis does not impact your doggy.” KetoPet Sanctuary
2. Ah, It Give Heart Problem!
LDL – low density lipid (Cholesterol) causes cardiovascular problem. Know that avocados is your helper in this case. It helps reduce LDL build up in your dog system (and yours too). Its lipase enzyme helps dissolve fats in your system.
According to study performed by Department of Horticulture, Purdue University, in feeding experiments which excluded animal fat, 16 patients were given 1/2 to 1 l/2 avocados per day. Total serum cholesterol and phospholipid values in the blood began to fall in one week. Body weight did not increase. Cholesterol values did not rise and 8 patients showed decreases in total serum cholesterol and phospholipids.
3. Yeah, Main Issue, Notorious Persin!
What is Persin?
Persin is a fungicidal toxin find in the avocado. This oil-soluble compound is found majorly in the leaves and bark of the avocado tree, and in skins and seeds of the avocado fruit.
What about the fleshy part (mesocarp) of the fruit?
Little amount of persin is leached into the flesh of avocado from the seed. And it reduces to barest minimum by the time the fruit ripened.
According to ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Poison Control Center, consumption of persin (by ingesting avocado tree leaves, tree back, fruit skin or seed pieces/powder) are very dangerous to birds, rabbits, mice, cow, goats, horses among others. These animals have complex gastrointestinal (GI) tracts.
Can Persin Harm You and Your Dog as Well?
According to Dr. Tina Wismer of ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, consumption of avocados mesocarp (flesh) just causes allergic stomach upset in human, dog and cat. The poison control center fed hundreds of dogs and cats avocados fruit flesh and got no issues with them except few that showed mild stomach upset due to allergy.
Like human, dogs have simple gastrointestinal (GI) tracts.
Avocados Harmful to Dog – The Myth
The story around toxicity of avocados to dog was created by a study conducted by I B Buoro, S B Nyamwange, Daniel Chai and S M Munyua and titled “Putative Avocado Toxicity in Two Dogs“. The write-up was published in April, 1994 by The Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research.
Two dogs that lived near a South African orchard and regularly ate whole avocados and other plant parts were seen at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya, both having histories of dyspnoea, progressively enlarging abdomens, anasarca, ascites, pleural and pericardial effusion, and pulmonary oedema.
The two dogs presented syndrome identical to that seen in goats, sheep and horses poisoned by avocados, a comparison is made and the probable manifestation of this poisoning presented.
This study made comparison and says manifestation of avocados poisoning of the dogs is probable.
This is reason the report was tagged PUTATIVE.
Avocados Good for Your Dog – The Fact
The wrong belief of toxicity of avocados to dog was disproved by a research sponsored by Procter and Gamble in 2012. The study was carried out by Gary M Davenport, Anna K Shoveller, Michael Hayek, Stefan Massimino, Lori Halsey, Debbie Minikhiem, Elizabeth Flickinger, George Roth, and Donald Ingram of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The research’s report titled “Tolerance and Safety of an Avocado-based Ingredient for Adult Dogs” was published on April, 2012.
During the 6-month study, 30 Beagles dogs, averaging 4.4 years old, were fed diets containing ingredient made from defatted, water-soluble extract of flesh, skin and pit of Lula avocados (Persea americana).
All the dogs completed the study and cheerfully consumed all diets. It was found that their body weights, normal GI health and stool productions were maintained throughout the study. Regular health assessments revealed no abnormalities or inferior health conditions for the dogs assigned to any of the diet group.
While transient changes in hematology and serum chemistry parameters were noted, values remained within normal reference ranges for healthy adult dogs indicating no health or safety concerns.
The research concluded that feeding a diet with up to 1.1% avocado extract was well-tolerated by adult dogs and resulted in no adverse health effects.
The relatively small amount of persin in avocados flesh is a very good dose for you and your dog to prevent and kill cancer.
Another Proof that Avocados are Good for Your Dog
Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib on their visit to Mexico for TedX talk, had on April 24, 2018 Facebook Live about “Are Avocados Toxic to Dog?”. They decided and made this online show when their waiter told them that he feeds his dog an avocado every day.
How Much Avocados Should Your Dog Take?
Now that you know your dog is safe and got good health eating avocados, you still must control the amount of
avocados your canine companion consumes. Too much of everything is bad!!!
On average one avocado should be fine for a medium-size dog.
Precise quantity of avocado your pooch requires daily is based on her body weight and her daily calorie requirement. This amount is calculated and given in the dog homemade food recipes we share on this site.
We are about to launch an online homemade dog food cook tool that calculates your dog daily calorie need and
gives you precise amount of recipes and natural supplement to make a balanced, nutrient-rich meal that enhances dog health, prevents diseases and cure ailments.
Be on the lookout for the release of this tool by following us on Facebook or by subscribing to our newsletter.
Avocados Allergy Test for Your Dog
Avocado can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs (and people) – vomiting, diarrhea or both.
To be sure of your dog avocado allergy status do this allergy trial test.
How to select Avocados
If you’re to go for avocado for yourself and your pooch, go for California Avocado.
Here are tips on selection of your avocados:
1. Look for the Fresh California Avocado label, which is your assurance that the fruit was grown in California.
Tip: California Avocados are in season from spring through fall. If you do not see California Avocados in stores during this time frame, let your produce manager know of your preference.
2. The best way to tell if a California Avocado is ripe and ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm but will yield to gentle pressure.
3. Color alone may not tell the whole story. The Hass Avocado will turn dark green or black as it ripens, but some other avocado varieties retain their light-green skin even when ripe.
4. If you plan to serve the fruit in a few days, stock up on hard, unripe fruit.
How to Ripen Avocados
To speed up the process of ripening avocados, place the fruit in a plain, brown, paper bag and store it at room temperature (65 F to 75 F) until ready to eat (usually two to five days).
Including an apple or a kiwi fruit in the bag accelerates the process, because these fruits give off ethylene, a natural hormone that promotes ripening. When the avocados yield to gentle pressure, they are ready.
Tip: The more apples or kiwi fruit you add, the quicker your avocados will ripen. Soft, ripe fruit can be refrigerated until it is eaten and should last for at least two more days. Refrigerate only ripe or soft avocados.
The California Avocado Commission does not recommend using a microwave to accelerate the ripening process.
Precaution on Feeding Your Dog Avocado
Don’t allow your dog to munch on avocados. She may happily swallow the skin and the pit of the fruit. Give avocado flesh to your dog the same way you give it to yourself.
Better still, use it as part of ingredients in her homemade food.
Never allow your canine access to avocado pits. This hard big seed will cause a serious choking hazard to dogs if swallowed whole or chew. This may require surgery to get it out.
Conclusion – Avocado is Good for Your Dog!
Avocados are good for your dog. Dogs derive health benefits eating avocados – healthy body weight, great shining fur, healthy heart, cancer prevention and cure and so on. It is one of the most hypoallergenic foods for dog. Though some dogs manifest mild allergic reaction to it.
Avocado holds the highest concentrations of persin in their tree leaves, tree back, fruit skin and fruit pit. Avocado flesh contains safe low levels of persin – a good dose that prevent and kill cancer in human and in dogs.
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