Olive Oil for Dogs: Good or Bad

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are plenty of olive oil benefits for humans, but the use of olive oil for dogs may not be something that every dog owner knows about. Fortunately, olive oil is not only safe when responsibly given to your canine companion, but it can also deliver a number of impressive health benefits.

Can Dogs have Olive Oil?

Dogs can definitely have olive oil, but as with any type of human food, it should be given in strict moderation. Olive oil is composed primarily of healthy fats, which is one of the main reasons why people often choose this option, rather than more common vegetable oils. Those same benefits can be enjoyed by your dog too, but excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and other problems. The best type of olive oil for dogs is extra virgin olive oil, which is widely available around the world. Unlike many other human foods that we typically consume, one of the most common uses of olive oil for dogs is in a topical form.

Provided your dog is in good health and is only exposed to small or moderate amounts of olive oil, there should be no danger to your pooch!

Why Should Dogs have Olive Oil?

Not only is olive not dangerous for dogs in most cases, but it can also help boost their health in various ways, and is able to treat dry skin, inflammation, indigestion, obesity, and a weak immune system, among others.

Topical Use

The most common use of olive oil for dogs is on their fur, as this healthy oil is one of the best remedies for dry skin. It is known to reduce inflammation and the need to itch, while also improving the appearance and luster of your pup’s coat.

Reduces Inflammation

Both internally and externally, olive oil can help lower inflammation in your dog’s body. The antioxidants found in this oil are well known to prevent unnecessary oxidative stress and boost overall health and comfort, particularly as your dog ages.

Treats Indigestion

Adding a small spoonful of olive oil to your dog’s dinner can help the digestive process, and clear up any indigestion or constipation. As a laxative, it will stimulate normal digestive movement, and also protect the gut from bacterial imbalance.

Boosts Immunity

If your dog is not feeling well or is prone to illness, olive oil can be a great way to bolster their immune defenses. When given in moderation, the antioxidants in olive oil can reduce strain on the immune system and protect against common infections.

Prevents Obesity

Thanks to the healthy fats found in olive oil, this can help your dog’s cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, but only when your dog eats this oil in moderation!

How Much Olive Oil can your Dog Eat?

There is never any reason for your dog to eat an excessive amount of human food, so there is definitely a limit to how much olive oil you should add to your pup’s meal. Depending on the size of your dog, the amount you feed them will change, but as a base amount, a medium-sized dog can usually handle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil per day. Larger dogs may require more, and smaller dogs may need only a teaspoon. When first giving your dog olive oil, be sure to watch their response and check their stool, as this can tell you whether you are giving them too much

Side Effects

The most common side effect of olive oil for dogs is gastrointestinal in nature. More specifically, if a dog consumes too much olive oil, they will have loose stools or even diarrhea, stomach upset, and discomfort. Furthermore, while olive oil is full of “good” fats, an excessive amount can lead to weight gain and obesity problems, as well as a higher risk of pancreatitis in certain dogs. As mentioned before, moderation is critical!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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