Caesar Salad, Pup Pho, Chipuptle + Avocados and other "Toxic" Foods for Dogs
The comments on our Chipuptle video went crazy as people debated if dogs should be given avocado. Anecdotal stories of dogs getting sick from avocado are very unfortunate, but individual intolerances (for unknown reasons), aren’t the same as something actually being toxic.
Unfortunately, this isn’t limited to just avocados. People often comment that pork, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, peppers (the list goes on) are “toxic” too. Some websites and vets claim that avocado can spontaneously cause pancreatitis, but none of them cite any research. I could not find any papers* on avocado causing pancreatitis or even fats causing pancreatitis.
*Note that research papers are different than articles. Anyone can write and post an article online, so you have to look at them critically. When I ask people for references, they often show me articles that pop up on google, not real research. Articles from seemingly credible websites like the AKC tend to spread misinformation. It’s a source of constant confusion.
According to multiple papers the cause of most cases of acute pancreatitis are unknown. Pancreatitis is hard to diagnose because symptoms and lab results are similar to gastrointestinal inflammation and kidney failure. Also, the most widely used test for pancreatitis has a error rate (false positive) of up to 40%. If anyone tells you a specific food causes pancreatitis or that they can diagnose pancreatitis definitively, you can cite this paper, or this one.
There are small amounts of toxins in many foods, like solanine in bell peppers and potatoes, xylitol in strawberries and raspberries, and persin in avocados. It doesn’t make them unsafe when consumed in normal quantities. These foods still have wonderful nutrients. Having too much, of course, can cause problems for your dog. But for most of them, you’d need to feed a ridiculous amount for it to become an issue.
The only research I could find on avocados being toxic for dogs comes from a 1994 report in Africa of two dogs who were suspected to have died from avocado poisoning. You can read the paper yourself here. Most of the articles that report avocados as being toxic cite this paper. But they probably just read the abstract, not the whole paper. There’s no way anyone could look at it as anything but a joke.
It’s unclear as to why the authors suspect these dogs died from avocado poisoning, other than both having a reported fondness for avocados. The two dogs in the study came from different farms, were both in very poor health, and according to the paper had histories of “poor appetite, constipation, enlarged abdomens and poor breathing.” They were sickly dogs that we know nothing about (e.g. their diet, how they were cared for, lifestyle) except that they were unhealthy, liked avocados and died young.
Ultimately this is an example of really poor journalism and even worse science. Is it possible that these dogs really did die from avocado poisoning? Maybe. After all, even water is toxic if you drink too much. There are people who die from water poisoning. One such case was highly publicized and happened during a radio show in Sacramento, California. Contestants competed to drink as much water as possible without urinating in order to win a Wii gaming console.
Sadly, Jennifer Strange died of water intoxication just a few hours after participating. According to other participants, she drank as much as two gallons of water during the competition.
Drinking too much water can kill people, but no one is afraid to drink water, right? Fearing avocado or any other so called “toxic” food for dogs, in my opinion, is similar to a fear of drinking water.
That said, food intolerance and allergies are always possible and it’s smart to be cautious with your pup. A good rule of thumb when feeding your dog a new dog-friendly food is to start with a tiny amount, like a teaspoon or less. Wait a day or so to see how they react before feeding it again.
Of course, there are foods people eat that ARE toxic to dogs in smaller amounts, like dark chocolate or grapes. However, lethal amounts are very high compared to body size. A small dog (about 20 pounds) would need to eat about one whole dark chocolate bar or two and a half milk chocolate bars to be fatal. That’s like a person eating about 10 dark chocolate bars or 25 milk chocolate bars.
Onion is another food that is functionally less toxic than the often cited lethal dose of 15 - 30 g / kg of body weight. The upper limit is the equivalent of feeding a 35 pound dog one whole pound of raw onion! One study fed 30g/kg of cooked onions to dogs for two consecutive days which showed that cooked onions do cause hemolytic anemia (reduction in red blood cells) but was non-fatal at that amount. N-propyl disulfide, the main toxin in onions, evaporates during cooking.
Ok, on to the recipes!
This week we have Pup Pho, Caesar (Cedsar??) Salad and Chipuptle! There are some days that I just crave a bowl of Pho, especially in the winter. The cinnamon and anise mixed with the aroma of beef always get my appetite going. For the pups, a simple bone broth without spices is all you need, though they can have some aromatics, like ginger and cinnamon.
Caesar salad is a salad that even salad haters don’t mind. It’s just that good. Cedric doesn’t normally like lettuce, but covering the leaves in a rich, sardine dressing made it irresistible.
For those who use our daily food recipes— good news! Expect new daily food (balanced) recipes next week. They will be exclusive to Precious Kitchen. You won’t be able to find these recipes on any of the social channels.
Do you have any special requests for daily food recipes? Low protein, puppy formulas, etc? Let us know what you’d like to see more of.
All the best,
Joelle, Cedric & Edith