When cooking a meal or eating a snack, it can be tempting to give in to our pet’s puppy dog eyes and offer him a small taste of our food. For many foods, a small portion here or there is not going to harm a dog’s incredibly resilient digestive tracts. However, there are quite a few food items that while healthy for humans, are toxic for dogs. What about guacamole? Can dogs eat guacamole?
Can Dogs Eat Guacamole?
The short answer would be no, guacamole is not safe for dogs to eat. The problem with guacamole for dogs is that some ingredients of guacamole are toxic to dogs
Guacamole Can Be Quite Dangerous for Dogs
Guacamole, which usually consists of avocado, onion, garlic, lime juice, tomatoes, cayenne, cumin, cilantro, and jalapeño, contains two ingredients that are toxic to dogs and three others that can cause digestive distress. These include avocado, onion, garlic, cayenne, and jalapeño.
Avocado is the most abundant ingredient of guacamole, and also the most highly debated whether it is safe for dogs to eat. Avocado leaves, bark, and plant material contain a chemical called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in canines. However, persin is only found in Guatemalan varieties of avocado, such as Hass.
Although the ripe flesh of an avocado does not contain persin, unripe pieces do. The greatest risk an avocado poses to dogs is from ingestion of the pit. Bowel obstruction can occur if the entire pit is swallowed. If chewed, fractured pieces can cause severe problems, such as intestinal punctures. Additionally, since avocado flesh is high in fat, mild cases of upset stomach have been reported from excessive consumption.
The two ingredients in guacamole that are considered poisonous are onion and garlic. Onion contains thiosulphate which can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms of onion toxicity include lethargy, weight loss, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drooling, and weakness. Garlic, which is part of the same family of vegetables as onions, produces many of the same symptoms. However, garlic is toxic in smaller amounts, since thiosulphate is more highly concentrated in the vegetable. Symptoms of garlic toxicity can take up to four days to appear.
Dogs can also be sensitive to spicy foods, such as jalapeno or cayenne. Although cayenne has many therapeutic uses, when consumed in mass quantities it can cause an upset stomach. Jalapeno peppers, on the other hand, are much spicier than cayenne and can cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten by a dog with a sensitive stomach.
What If My Dog Already Had Some Guacamole?
Even if a food is considered toxic or irritating to a dog, there are a number of factors that dictate whether or not a dog will actually become sick. Most notably, the amount of food consumed and the size of the dog are important. If a Great Dane accidentally consumes a couple spoonfuls of guacamole, he will likely have little more than minor gas. However, if a Yorkshire Terrier consumes a party-sized bowl of guacamole, it would be wise to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Ultimately, unless an excessive amount of guacamole is consumed by a dog, a one-time snack will likely not cause harm, given that small quantities of the most dangerous ingredients, onion and garlic, are used. If ever in doubt, though, be sure to contact a veterinarian or animal poison control center.
Remember that the answer to the question “can dogs eat guacamole” is definitely no, so never purposely feed your dog guacamole.