Update on avocados in canine diet and pet food. Avocado as ingredient in dog food, benefits, side-effect and risks when dog eats avocado (C) Perfect cocker spaniel blog by Natalia Ashton / canine nutritionist & pet nutrition coach / Breed, grooming, diet, nutrition, puppy training and behaviour information

An update on avocado in dog diet

I wrote about avocados and what they can do if a dog eats the fruit back in 2018. Three years on and the idea of including avocado in pet food is becoming a reality. Some companies are using it based on nutritional benefits of the berry, others rely on avocado meal as a fibre replacement for beet pulp or cellulose. But does it mean that avocado is good for our spaniels?

Essentially, avocado is still considered toxic to dogs by WSAVA, ASPCA and veterinary manuals. As I’ve previously written, the fruit, skin, leaves, stems, bark and stones are high in persin. If you give persin to a human, the substance may actually fight cancer and increase effectiveness of cancer fighting drugs. If you give it to an animal, including dogs, it can cause an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, breathing difficulties and death. Small quantities of the fruit will lead to diarrhoea and vomiting. The high fat content will increase the risk of pancreatitis or weight gain (and cockers are genetically prone to both). And the stone can cause obstructions or, if it’s crushed, repeat the worst-case scenario as above.

Of course, the parts of avocado contain different levels of toxin. Leaves and bark are the worst. The light green flesh you’d use in a guacamole, is least toxic, which does not make it safe – it simply means you are less likely to lose your dog. Studies have shown that feeding dogs small quantities of avocado didn’t always make the canines unwell visually, but their bloods had elevated levels lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase. When rats were given avocado oils in another study, their livers showed abnormalities.

Update on avocados in canine diet and pet food. Avocado as ingredient in dog food, benefits, side-effect and risks when dog eats avocado (C) Perfect cocker spaniel blog by Natalia Ashton / canine nutritionist & pet nutrition coach / Breed, grooming, diet, nutrition, puppy training and behaviour information

What is also important to consider is that avocados are usually used in pet food in a form of meal. And the meal can contain any parts of the plant due to natural contamination during manufacturing process. In other words, you may be lucky and have “light green parts” or not to lucky and give your dog a treat or food containing traces of bark or leaves.

Does it mean that avocado is bad? Avocado is a fantastic source of fatty acids (the “good” fats), vitamin A, E, K and folate, minerals magnesium and potassium, as well as fibre. It’s packed with antioxidants, too. But this only applies to human diet.

This also means that simply because something is really good for humans, it does not necessarily need to become an ingredient in canine diet.

And please do check the ingredients list on your dog food and treats to ensure that they are avocado-free. Maybe one day there will be long-term studies to prove us wrong or a new process developed to make avocados safe for dogs. But honestly, why not simply focus on other sources of the above mentioned vitamins and minerals that are known and proven to be safe for dogs than trying to alter a fruit known to cause problems. Not everything in nature is meant to be tamed to suit the human brief or financial interests. But that’s how I feel about it.

Photo credit: images by Engin Akyurt and Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay

Getting Christmas gifts for your pup? Read this first.

Gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts!

Wherever I look, I see pup parents frantically buying gifts for their dogs.

But let me tell you one, possibly unpopular, thing: the ONLY gift your pup needs and REALLY enjoys is… YOU!

Your company, your attention, your smiles and touches. They mean so much for to any dog!


Because dogs are, whether you like it or not, animals. Not humans. They don’t put the same value on gifts as you do.

Pause and think before you fall into the Christmas shopping madness…

If your pup needs a new collar because the old one is no longer safe – go for it! If the content of his toy box looks a bit tired – get a great toy, the best you can afford. If a new bed is what is important, click “buy”.

And if you want him to have something yummy – bake treats at home! Safer, budget-friendly and gives you a chance to truly bond with your spaniel. Trust me, I wrote the cookbooks!

So stop stressing out about having to buy things or showing the world how “lucky” your pup is because he’s got a bunch of stuff for Christmas.

Trust me, “the world” doesn’t give a damn and can even feel upset, or, in some cases, envious, because not everyone can be like you.

And the thing is… Love for a dog isn’t equal to the amount of money spent on him. And your pup will never judge you if all he gets for Christmas is a kiss.

Remember to live your life! Not consume it or measure its worth with things (that most dogs don’t even care about)

Just you and your pup. Isn’t it the best gift?!

As a bonus, here is a list of ten fun ideas to make your pup the happiest, and they won’t cost you a thing!

Photo credit: image by Yevhen Buzuk from Pixabay

Style outfit ideas for dog walking in fashion / Spring edition / Camel outfit ideas / Cashmere jumper, leather trousers, puff jacket, suede leather bag / Perfect cocker spaniel / pet blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Fashion guide to walking your dog in style | Autumn edition

Yes, the style part of the blog is back. And hopefully back for good. I had so many requests that I simply could not sit back, wave and say “No”. You want it. I love it. So it’s decided. Dog mums, this is for you.

I’ll start with an outfit that very much resembles what I am currently wearing to stay cosy. It’s my idea of feeling good with minimum effort because early morning walks are not the time when I want to think too much about dressing up. All I want is to keep my eyes open, stay upright and awake, and find enough energy to (literally) pull on a few pieces of clothes, ideally no buttons, dot a drop of perfume because it smells particularly lovely when the air is frosty, and head out to entertain my pups.

I included two pairs of gloves. The leather ones are a style steal and perfect when you are leisurely wandering with your spaniel on tow. The fingerless pair will keep your hands warm when you are training and using rewards or want to take photos.

an idea for dog walking outfit in style including layering with wool coat, sweater, pull on trousers, scarf and pompom hat. Featuring Vince sweater, H&M coat, Reiss accessories, wool scarf, Dr Martens boots, natural organic make-up, Le Labo perfumes, and Mango leather bag with gold buckle. Created and shared on Perfect cocker spaniel blog / UK website about English cocker spaniels, puppy tips, dog nutrition, diet, training and grooming by Natalia Ashton (C) UK-based canine nutritionist, small animal nutritionist, pet nutrition coach, food stylist and photographer, dog mum, author of Perfect cocker spaniel, Beyond the Doughnut and Treats.

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