The shock. The horror. You’ve just found your dog has eaten avocado skin.
They may have even eaten the pit, or the flesh too.
Either way, is the skin especially problematic? Is it now cause for a concern? Do you need to do anything in particular?
Well, here is everything to know and consider, and some suggestions for your response.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten avocado skin? If your dog has eaten avocado skin, it is recommended to contact a vet immediately. Even if your dog seems fine, professional advice is paramount since the skin can pose risks of toxicity and obstruction. Closely monitor your dog for signs of discomfort and symptoms and relay such information to your vet.
is avocado skin bad for dogs?
Avocado skin can be bad/harmful to dogs. It contains persin, a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal upset, and its tough texture can potentially lead to choking or digestive blockage.
Now of course, how bad the skin is for your dog depends on context, and factors such as:
- How big your dog is,
- The age of your dog and their current health status
- How much avocado skin they have consumed.
- How much they chewed the avocado skin.
Among other factors.
Still, there is no inherent benefit of offering the skin. So it should never be fed.
Chances are though, if you are here it’s already been eaten. And it likely wasn’t a choice either!
Now the two most important things to consider here is: how much was eaten and when.
Still, if you are not sure that makes it even more potentially harmful.
But what’s so bad about avocado skin?
It Contains A Toxin Called Persin
Persin is a fungicidal toxin, which is present in the skin, leaves and seed of the fruit.
While it is generally harmless to humans, it can pose a problem to dogs in large amounts.
Thankfully, avocado skin doesn’t contain as much persin as the leaves or seeds, but it still can be problematic for dogs. As we shall see in the next section.
Its Rough And Hard To Break Down
Equally, avocado skin is fibrous and difficult to break down and digest.
Well, its often swallowed whole or in large pieces.
And that can cause serious problems too.
What Happens If A Dog Eats The Skin Of An Avocado?
One of the more immediate concerns is that the avocado skin actually gets stuck in your dogs throat, causing them to choke and struggle for air.
If your dog is trying to cough up something, drooling excessively, or having difficulty breathing, these could be signs of choking.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that choking can occur not just immediately after consuming the avocado skin, but also a bit later if the skin becomes lodged while your dog is trying to swallow or digest it.
This is due to the aforementioned persin.
Vomiting and diarrhea may follow, which are the body’s ways of trying to expel the harmful substance.
Vomiting could happen fairly quickly after ingestion if the stomach is irritated, or it might be a delayed response if the irritation is in the intestines.
Similarly, diarrhea can occur when the digestive system is under distress.
The stool may appear loose, watery, or unusually smelly.
In some cases, you may even notice traces of the avocado skin in the stool.
Frequent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, a serious concern that can further complicate the dog’s condition.
Blockage in the Digestive Tract
A blockage in the digestive tract, also known as a gastrointestinal obstruction, occurs when a foreign object partially or completely blocks the flow of nutrients and fluids through the intestines.
This can be very dangerous, even life-threatening, for your dog.
In the case of an avocado skin, the size of your dog, the size of the skin piece, and the dog’s individual digestive health can all factor into whether a blockage occurs.
Smaller dogs or dogs with pre-existing digestive issues are at a higher risk.
The symptoms of a blockage can vary but generally include vomiting, a decrease in appetite or complete refusal to eat, noticeable weight loss, lethargy, changes in normal behavior, and abdominal discomfort.
You may also notice changes in your dog’s stool, such as constipation, straining during defecation, or the presence of blood.
In some cases, dogs with a blockage may show signs of shock, including pale gums, rapid heart rate, and overall weakness.
This typically happens in severe cases where the blockage has been present for a significant amount of time.
Nothing, They Manage To Pass It
There are cases where a dog might ingest an avocado skin and seemingly experience no adverse effects.
It’s even possible that the dog’s system manages to digest and pass the avocado skin without incident.
However, even if your dog appears completely normal, doesn’t mean that everything is fine.
It’s always crucial to observe your dog closely in the hours and days following the incident.
Keep an eye out for changes in their appetite, behavior, or bowel movements, as these can be indicators of internal distress or blockage.
Sometimes, dogs might experience delayed symptoms or reactions.
For instance, a blockage in the digestive tract may not cause noticeable symptoms immediately but can lead to complications over time.
Therefore, a dog passing avocado skin in their stool isn’t necessarily an all-clear signal.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Avocado Skin
Your emotional state can influence your dog’s behavior and stress levels.
Dogs are highly intuitive and can pick up on their owner’s emotions. If they see you panicking, they might also become anxious and distressed, which can potentially exacerbate the situation.
Staying calm not only prevents your dog from becoming unnecessarily stressed but also allows you to think clearly and take the necessary steps to ensure your dog’s health.
Closely Watch Your Dog
Keep a close eye on your dog, with a particular focus on their energy levels (are they as active), general state (are they restless or agitated), eating/drinking habits (are they avoiding food/drinking more) and physical health (are they experiencing diarrhea/stool changes?)
Any changes here and its a clear sign there is a reaction to, or negative response to, the avocado skin.
Also, be sure to regularly check their gum color, which should typically be a healthy pink.
Contact Your Vet
Even if your dog seems okay, it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice.
Explain the situation in as much detail as possible, since consumption can all be critical factors in determining the best course of action.
What Your Vet May Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Avocado Skin
Your vet will likely ask you about the incident and your dog’s behavior since eating the avocado skin.
They’ll want to know when your dog ate the avocado skin, how much they ate, and any symptoms you’ve noticed.
It’s important to provide as much information as possible to help the vet make a diagnosis.
This examination helps assess your dog’s overall health and determine if they are showing any signs of discomfort, distress, or illness as a result of consuming the avocado skin.
During the checkup, the vet will do several things:
- Physical Examination – This could include checking the dog’s body for any bloating, which could indicate a blockage in the digestive tract, or examining the throat if there’s a risk of choking. The vet will also check your dog’s gum color and hydration levels and listen to their heart and lungs.
- Checking Vital Signs: including heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, and weight will be checked.
- Abdominal Palpation: which involves gently feeling your dog’s abdomen to check for any abnormalities, discomfort, or signs of a blockage.
May Induce Vomiting
If the ingestion of the avocado skin was recent, the vet might induce vomiting to get rid of the skin before it moves further into the digestive tract.
This can help to expel the avocado skin from your dog’s system before it has a chance to move further into the digestive tract.
Inducing vomiting in dogs is a delicate procedure and should only be carried out by a vet or under a vet’s direct guidance.
The vet will typically administer a safe emetic drug, such as apomorphine or hydrogen peroxide, which will trigger your dog’s vomiting reflex.
Once vomiting is induced, the vet will carefully monitor your dog to ensure that they are stable and that the avocado skin has been successfully expelled.
After vomiting, the vet may administer medication to soothe your dog’s stomach and prevent further vomiting.
It’s important to note that inducing vomiting is not always the best course of action.
For instance, if your dog has a history of health issues, is showing signs of distress, or if it’s been a long time since they ingested the avocado skin, inducing vomiting may not be recommended.
Also, inducing vomiting may not be helpful in cases where the avocado skin has already passed into the intestines, as vomiting only clears the contents of the stomach. In such situations, other interventions may be needed.
In any case, the decision to induce vomiting should always be made by a vet, based on a thorough examination and understanding of the dog’s condition.
Never try to induce vomiting in your dog at home without consulting with your vet first.
May Perform An X-Ray/Ultrasound
These imaging techniques can help your vet to see inside your dog’s body without resorting to invasive procedures.
Both these diagnostic tools are extremely helpful in determining the exact location and severity of any potential blockages.
Treatment could range from medication to ease discomfort, to fluids for hydration, or even surgical intervention in severe cases.
May Give You the All Clear
Hopefully, your visit to the vet may end with the best possible outcome: your vet may give you the all clear
They may give you instructions to continue monitoring your dog at home, looking out for any changes in behavior, eating habits, or physical symptoms.
Despite this reassuring news, it’s crucial to remain vigilant over the following days.
If you notice any changes, no matter how small, contact your vet immediately.
The all clear is not a guarantee that your dog won’t develop symptoms later; it’s an indication that, at the time of the checkup, your dog appears to be in good health.
The unsettling realization that your dog has eaten avocado skin is an instant worry.
And the truth is: swift and decisive action is paramount.
In most cases, dogs are fine.
But, there is always the potential for a range of negative outcomes.
So if you’re still here reading. Make sure the next thing you do is contact a vet.
Whether that be via a direct phone call or via an online appointment through the likes of a service like Vetster.
Simultaneously, maintaining a level head is vital.
Looking ahead, just be extra cautious.
But you know that already!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.