- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
What’s not to love about olives? The briney Mediterranean treat is chock full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. They can even be helpful in lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
Can My Dog Eat Olives?
Maybe. If your dog eats an olive that rolls off the table, he’ll be fine. Olives are not toxic to dogs; however, they are high in fat and salt and shouldn’t be given to your dog regularly. High-fat diets put your dog at risk for pancreatitis. This illness will impact your dog’s ability to digest food and nutrients.
While what’s nutritious for us humans isn’t always good for our canines, olives are a food you can both enjoy – in moderation. Dogs can eat olives of any variety, green, black or otherwise, but there are some important caveats to keep in mind.
What Type Of Olives Can My Dog Eat?
There are around 2,000 olive varieties grown in warm, dry climates from the Middle East to California. All are dog-friendly as long as they are are plain and pitted.
I Prefer Marinated Olives. Will My Dog?
Your dog may like the taste of marinated olives but, from a health perspective, they should not eat olives marinated in garlic, oil and/or spices. Garlic, as well as onions, shallots and other members of the allium family, is toxic to dogs. Consuming it can lead to anemia, gastrointestinal distress and abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Spice, especially hot peppers or chilis, can also cause digestive issues in dogs.
Can I Give My Dog The Olive Out Of my Martini?
No, if your olive has been soaking in a bath of liquor, your dog should not eat it. Alcohol is toxic to dogs and while a single vodka-infused olive isn’t likely to contain enough ethanol to harm them, it should still be avoided. Small dogs, in particular, are likely to feel the effects of even a little bit of alcohol. In larger quantities, liquor consumption in dogs can lead to lethargy or weakness, drooling or vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotension and hypothermia.
Are Stuffed Olives Safe For Dogs?
Depending on what’s inside, a stuffed olive may be okay to feed to your dog:
Blue cheese – Dogs should not eat blue cheese. The fungus that produces the cheese’s sharp, pungent flavor can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever and seizures.
Goat or feta cheese – Goat cheese does contain lactose which some dogs have trouble digesting. However, as far as cheeses go, goat cheese, which has less lactose and riboflavin than cheese produced from cow’s milk, is a reasonably safe food for your dog in moderation.
Pimentos – Slightly sweet pimento peppers are non-toxic to dogs and can be eaten in moderation.
Chilis or hot peppers – Olives stuffed with hot and spicy chilis or peppers should not be given to dogs. The heat can cause discomfort and irritation in the mouth and throat, as well as digestive issues.
Almonds – Almonds are not toxic to dogs but, because they have trouble digesting them, they should be avoided.
Garlic – Never feed your dog garlic. It is highly toxic to canines and just a couple of cloves can lead to gastrointestinal distress, vomiting and diarrhea, and anemia.
Are Olives Nutritionally Beneficial To Dogs?
Snacking on olives may have some potential nutritional benefits to canines. Rich in vitamins A, E and K, as well as potassium, zinc, calcium, iron and a variety of other nutrients, there is some indication that olives can help to reduce inflammation and cholesterol, boost cognitive and immune system health, and help stave off heart disease and cancer in dogs.
If your dog’s diet is nutritionally complete, though, they really have no need for the additional vitamins and minerals olives provide. They’re already consuming the nutrients required for good canine health. Not to mention the fact that they would have to consume a whole lot of olives to really reap those nutritional benefits in the first place – something which would simultaneoulsy pose a threat due to the high levels of sodium in olives (see below).
Is It Dangerous To Feed My Dog Olives?
While olives are generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation, they can pose some danger, especially when unpitted or eaten in large quantities.
Remove The Pits
You should never give a dog an olive that contains a pit. Hard pits can easily get lodged in the throat and cause your dog to choke, while one that is swallowed can cause an obstruction and lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, bloating, pain and weakness.
Attempting to chew an olive pit can also cause serious problems for a dog. Biting down on the tough nut can crack a tooth or cause other dental dilemmas.
Too Much Sodium Is A Bad Thing
Because olives need to be cured in order to taste good, they contain high levels of sodium and, just like with humans, too much sodium can be problematic for a dog’s health. While it’s no big deal to feed your dog an olive now and again, making it a regular part of their diet is not a good idea. Too much salt can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, tremors, fever, seizures and even death.
Some Dogs Are Sensitive To New Foods
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat everything from meat to veggies to fruit as long as it is non-toxic. Inevitably, though, whether due to sensitive digestive systems, allergies or another health trigger, eating olives may make some dogs sick. If your dog is already on a high fat diet, eating fatty olives can also put them at risk of pancreatits.
The first time you offer your dog an olive, start with just a tiny taste and keep an eye on them over the hours that follow to make sure they are not displaying symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased thirst or loss of appetite.
Even if your dog loves the taste of olives and has no trouble eating them, they shouldn’t be incorporated regularly into their diet. Instead think of olives as an occasional, healthful treat you can enjoy together.
For More Information
We’ve got tons of articles about which foods are safe or dangerous for your dog, from common snacks to fruits. You might also be interested in “Can My Dog Eat Vegetables?“