Avocados are nutritious fruits packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants that are beneficial to health. However the question is, can your canine companion also eat them to gain this nutritional value?
So, can Great Danes eat avocado? Yes and no. Great Danes can eat avocados occasionally in small quantities but only the pulp of the avocado which is safe and not the rest of the avocado parts such as the skin, pit, leaves, and stems because they are toxic to them. To be able to safely provide avocado to a Great Dane, there are different ways of doing this.
In this post, we will discuss the nutritional facts of avocados, the potential health risks of eating avocados, and how to safely feed them to your Great Dane.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. They contain almost 20 vitamins and minerals.
The vitamins include vitamin K, C, E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B3 (niacin), and folate.
The minerals include potassium, manganese, copper, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. They are also low in sugar and contain fiber.
Avocados are loaded with powerful antioxidants. These include zeaxanthin and lutein which promote eye health.
Vitamin A supports eye health for better vision while vitamin C together with the other antioxidants reduces inflammation within the body and fights off disease.
Fiber promotes gut health. It keeps the bowel movement regular by helping waste move through the digestive system preventing constipation.
Avocados contain more potassium than bananas which plays a role in supporting healthy blood pressure levels.
Vitamin K boosts bone health and also is important in blood clotting during injury to prevent excessive bleeding.
Avocados are also known to have high-fat content which is a healthy fat. This fat known as oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that helps in the reduction of inflammation especially heart inflammation and risk of cancer.
Fatty acids, potassium, and vitamin B3 (niacin) together support the health of the coat of a Great Dane by keeping it shiny and smooth.
Read More: How to keep a Great Dane healthy
What Are The Potential Risks of Consuming Avocados?
The main health hazard with avocados is the consumption of the pit, skin, leaves, stems, and unripened fruit. This is because all these parts of the avocado contain a substance called persin which is potentially toxic to dogs.
The pulp of the ripened fruit is not toxic and is generally safe for consumption but should also be provided in small quantities occasionally.
The below further explains the harmful effects of persin and the other health hazards of avocado consumption:
Persin is a substance found within the skin, pit, leaves, stems, and the unripened fruit and a small amount in the pulp of the ripened fruit.
Persin is normally fatal to other animals however dogs and humans are more resistant to its effects.
However, this does not mean your dog can eat avocados in large quantities or other parts of it because the persin can still affect them.
Ingestion of high amounts of it results in stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The other parts of an avocado and the unripened fruit contain high levels of persin and should not be fed to a Great Dane, however, the ripe avocado pulp is safe because it contains low levels of it and this is the part they can eat.
Eating avocados can lead to stomach upset because the stomach of a dog cannot handle human food well.
In addition to an upset stomach, eating large quantities of the fruit can also result in vomiting, diarrhea, and damage to the heart cells.
Development of pancreatitis
Avocados are known to contain good fat.
However, eating too much can be dangerous to a dog. Ingestion of avocados can induce the development of pancreatitis in a Great Dane because of the high-fat content.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas which can be life-threatening. It can also be induced by the ingestion of small amounts of avocado.
Some medical conditions are also made worse due to the fat intake.
The pit of the avocado fruit presents a choking hazard to a Great Dane.
The pit can get stuck in the throat when they try to swallow it which prevents breathing and can be fatal.
In regard to this hazard and persin poisoning, a Great Dane should never have access to or eat the pit of an avocado.
Prevention of access to this can be done by keeping your dog from accessing trash bags with discarded avocado parts.
In a situation where a Great Dane is able to swallow the pit or skin of an avocado, this results in intestinal blockage.
The digestive system of a dog cannot digest these avocado parts and they remain stuck in the gut when ingested.
This is a serious complication that requires immediate medical attention involving surgical removal.
Ingestion of avocado also poses a risk of the development of allergic reactions to the fruit.
Some Great Danes can have these reactions whose symptoms include the formation of hives, swelling, coughing, sneezing, or difficulty in breathing.
The immediate response when you observe this after feeding your dog avocado is to contact your vet for medical care.
The high-fat content in avocado can also lead to weight gain in a dog over time.
Recommended reading: Can Great Danes eat strawberries?
How To Feed Avocados To A Great Dane
Always consult with your vet before feeding your Great Dane human foods such as avocados.
They will provide guidance on whether to introduce the fruit to your dog’s diet or not depending on your dog’s individual needs without presenting any health risks to them.
Avocados can occasionally be included in a Great Danes diet by:
Providing only the plain avocado pulp
Feeding your dog the avocado pulp is safe. Ensure it is plain with no additional ingredients for flavoring.
Provide it in small quantities and periodically.
Also, avoid feeding your dog guacamole. Although delicious and healthy, you should not feed your Great Dane guacamole because of the additional ingredients in it which may be harmful to your dog.
In addition to avocados, guacamole contains garlic, tomatoes, onions, and salt which upset the stomach and can also lead to serious complications.
For example, eating garlic and onions can cause kidney failure and organ damage when consumed in large quantities by a dog.
Homemade dog treat recipes
Homemade dog treats recipes that include avocado in the ingredient list are also safe for a Great Dane to have avocados in their diet.
The recipes are generally simple and lack many ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. You can make and serve these treats to your dog.
Dog food brands
Some dog food brands include avocado as an ingredient in their food formulations.
This is a safe way of including avocados and their nutritional benefits to your dog’s diet.
Avoderm available on Amazon is a high-quality brand that includes avocado in their dog food formulation.
Conclusion: Can Great Danes eat avocados?
The yay or nay to include avocados in your Great Danes diet is dependent on the part of avocado eaten and the quantity.
Yes, a Great Dane can eat avocados but not some parts of the fruit. Also because of the potential health risks such as persin toxicity and development of pancreatitis, many recommendations indicate to avoid avocados and also because it is not necessary for a dog’s diet.
A Great Dane or any dog does not require avocados in the diet because there are other alternatives to provide the nutrients that they require. However, for the nutritional benefits, there are also still ways to safely include avocados in their diet.
This is after consultation with your vet who will determine if it’s okay to feed your dog avocados as well as the specific quantities.
I hope this article helped you know whether Great Danes can eat avocados, how avocados present a health risk and how to safely feed them to your Great Dane.
By having an understanding of this and by following the different methods to have avocados in their diet, you should be able to safely feed your Great Dane some avocados for the nutritional benefits and health boost.