- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
With olive oil being such a staple of the human diet, many dog owners wonder “is olive oil safe for dogs?”
Olive oil is not only safe for dogs—it actually has many health benefits for them. Read on to learn about how you can boost your dog’s health by adding olive oil to their diet. But remember: you should always discuss changes to your dog’s diet with your veterinarian first.
1. It’s good for your dog’s skin and coat
You’ll notice that a lot of fancy dog food brands tout the inclusion of fatty acids in their food—what they don’t tell you is that you can add those acids yourself simply by adding a teaspoon of olive oil to your dog’s food!
Olive oil contains phytonutrients, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your dog’s skin moisturized and well-nourished. These nutrients also benefit your dog’s coat, adding shine and strength to their hair.
While you may be tempted to apply olive oil directly to your dog’s coat, we don’t recommend this approach as your dog will almost surely lick it off and counteract the benefits. If your dog suffers from dry skin, just add a teaspoon of olive oil to their food. We recommend extra virgin olive oil as it has lower acidity.
2. It can help your dog maintain healthy body weight
The monounsaturated fats in olive oil help break down the fat inside of fat cells and lower cholesterol. Adding small amounts of olive oil to your dog’s food can also help stimulate their digestive system as olive oil acts as a laxative. However, if your dog is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, olive oil should be avoided as it may exacerbate these conditions.
3. It can improve the taste and consistency of your dog’s food
If your dog is refusing or hesitating to eat their food, try adding a splash of olive oil to change the taste and consistency. This technique can be particularly effective if your dog is eating dry food or if it’s stale.
4. It can boost your dog’s immune system and stave off cognitive decline
Olive oil contains antioxidants, like Vitamin E, that may help protect your dog’s cell membranes from free radical damage. Free radicals lead to over-oxidization in cells, which can lead to illnesses, like dementia and cardiovascular disease, and tissue damage. While most studies showing the effect of antioxidants on free radicals have been conducted with humans, it appears that antioxidants provide a similar benefit for dogs.
Add a teaspoon (for 30-40 pound dogs) to a tablespoon (for 90 pound dogs) to your dog’s usual bowl of food daily or weekly. You can switch out olive oil with coconut oil and fish oil for a great rotation of “healthy shots” to your dog’s diet.
For More Information
We offer a collection of articles on foods that are healthy or dangerous for dogs to eat, covering everything from grains, fruits, and vegetables. You might also be interested in reading “Can My Dog Eat Coconut Oil?” and “Can My Dog Eat Fish Oil?”