Dried Avocado Meal Can Make Dogs Healthier with Its Rich Fiber Content

Everyone loves avocado!

This luscious fruit is packed with nutrients that keep the heart, bones, brain, skin, and eyes healthy. Avocado also helps to lower the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

It is also so versatile! You can eat it plain, enjoy it with yogurt, turn it into a protein-packed smoothie, or simply mix it with your salad to add some creamy goodness. If you are a passionate cook, you know that the secret to delicious guacamole is avocado. And, of course, the dishes you can make with this fruit are endless.

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But, if you are a dog owner, you might have been warned to never feed your pet with this fruit. Avocado is toxic to dogs, according to a lot of online publications.

Is it really true? How can something so healthy and delicious for people could be dangerous for dogs?

A new study published in the Journal of Animal Science wants to set the record straight.

Dried avocado meal can be a good source of fiber for dogs.

The Truth about Persin, and Is It Really Toxic to Dogs?

The fruit of an avocado tree is one of the world’s healthiest foods.

It is the natural, oil-soluble fungicide called persin that many people, including a number of veterinarians, claim to be the cause of toxicity in dogs, cats, and other animals.

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This natural fungicide is found in the leaves, bark, seeds, skin and pits of avocados. It is also present in small amounts in the fruit, but it is not harmful to humans. In fact, research on persin is ongoing as a possible treatment for breast cancer.

Maria Regina Cattai de Godoy, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, also shares this interest in persin. But she is more concerned about the claims that persin is toxic to dogs.

“Being from Brazil, avocados grow in our backyards. They fall on the ground, and if dogs get hold of them, they eat them. Just like they do with mangoes, bananas, or any other fruits that grow natively in our country. I’d never heard of a dog dying from eating an avocado, so I was really curious why they were considered toxic here,” said Cattai de Godoy. “When you look at the literature for avocado toxicity, all that exists are a few case studies. Dogs reported to have a fondness for avocado showed some signs of toxicity, but the case reports couldn’t prove avocados caused those symptoms. There are a lot of uncontrolled factors in these cases.”

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And so, she decided to investigate the matter along with David Sarlah, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the same university.

Dried Avocado Meal Can Be an Excellent Source of Fiber for Dogs

The team prepared a dried avocado meal, and to their surprise, there was no persin in it and that was for the following reason.

“Persin is structurally similar to a polyunsaturated fatty acid, meaning there are a lot of double bonds,” explained Cattai de Godoy. “They’re not very stable; heat and light can make them break down. Processing is very likely breaking down persin, which is probably why we cannot see it in the meal. In fact, the concentration was so small in the avocado meal that it was out of our standard curve linear range, meaning it was below detection level.”

Next, the researchers fed the dried avocado meal to beagles and observed these dogs for any signs of toxicity.

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The findings showed no signs of toxicity in the dogs and that, among the three fiber sources that were fed to the beagles during the experiment, dried avocado meal ranked between beet pulp and cellulose in terms of health benefits.

“High fiber diets are not always palatable for pets, but that is not what we saw. The dogs consumed enough food to meet or exceed their energy requirements. The high inclusion of avocado meal [about 19%] was acceptable to them,” said Cattai de Godoy.

But, since they used only one part of an avocado in their research, they recommend more studies to determine the feasibility of adding dried avocado meal made from other parts of the fruit to commercial dog food.

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