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Can Iguanas Eat Avocado? What You Need to Know!

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Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Avocados are an extremely popular health food in the United States right now, and you can find them in several dishes. Since many health food experts consider it a superfood, it’s natural to wonder if we can feed it to our pet iguanas to receive the benefits. Unfortunately, all parts of the avocado are toxic to iguanas, so we recommend you avoid feeding it to them. If you would like to find out exactly why avocados are toxic, keep reading while we answer this question and others to help you be better informed.

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Are Avocados Bad for Iguanas?

Persin

Persin is a toxic chemical that’s present in all parts of the avocado plant. It’s a fungus idol toxin that’s harmful to many animals, including cats and dogs, and humans seemed to be one of the few exceptions. It can cause a severe reaction and even death in many animals. So, if you think your iguana ate some when you weren’t looking it’s best to call the vet and have it looked over.

Calcium and Phosphorus Ratio

If you were iguana somehow got past the Persin present in the avocado plant, we would still recommend avoiding avocado because of the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Most experts recommend keeping these two minerals at a ratio of two to one because the phosphorus can prevent the iguana from absorbing the calcium. If your iguana doesn’t get enough calcium, it is acceptable to a serious condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD). MBD can cause the bones of your reptile to become soft and brittle, and some pets can even become immobile. One cup of avocado contains about 27 milligrams of calcium but 119-milligrams of phosphorus, so the phosphorus content is much too high and could lead to problems down the line.

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Image Credit: silverstylus, Pixabay

Are Avocados Good for Iguanas

The primary nutrients your iguana needs are calcium and vitamin D. Unfortunately, at 27 milligrams per cup, the avocado provides very little calcium. The high level of phosphorus it contains will prevent the calcium from being absorbed, and there is no vitamin D present in avocados, so there is no nutritional benefit of feeding this food to your pet.

What other Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Iguana?

Unfortunately, there are several foods around your home that you will want to avoid giving to your iguana, and the highest on the list is dog and cat food. We also recommend avoiding any foods that contain a lot of sugar, and they can’t eat any animal proteins. Other foods to avoid include corn, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts, potatoes, asparagus, and cauliflower.

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What Can I Feed My Iguana Instead of Avocados?

Leafy Greens

About 60% of your iguana’s diet should consist of leafy greens. Perfect examples of leafy greens include collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelions. Since there are many different types of greens, we highly recommend looking up the nutritional value for every food you intend to feed your iguana to make sure the calcium to phosphorus ratio is acceptable.

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Image Credit: Rita Horosho, Shutterstock

Brightly Colored Vegetables

About 30% of your iguana’s diet should consist of brightly colored vegetables. Iguanas love brightly colored food and would love peas, green and red peppers, squash, yellow beans, and many others.

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Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

Fruit

About 10% of your iguana’s diet can consist of fruit. Iguanas love fruit and will often go out of their way to eat it, making it a great treat. It’s also useful when training your pet, but it can quickly lead to weight gain if you’re not careful, and the high moisture content can cause diarrhea. Examples of high-quality fruit you can feed your pack include dried figs, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and apples.

Even when sticking to the 10% rule, we recommend introducing new fruit to your pet’s diet slowly because it can frequently lead to diarrhea or gastrointestinal discomfort. We recommend watching your pet closely for at least 12 hours after failing a new food to ensure no signs of distress.

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Image Credit: wojciech wojcik, Shutterstock

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Summary

Unfortunately, you cannot feed your pet iguana avocado, and if it ate some by mistake, we recommend having it looked over by a vet to make sure there are no problems from the Persin. It’s best to stick to high-quality leafy greens like dandelions that your pet will enjoy and will provide the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and happy.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over the short guide and found the answers you needed. If we have convinced you to find another treat for your pet, please share our look into if iguanas can eat avocado on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: dahliane, Pixabay

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