Some human foods are known to be harmful to pups. Things like chocolate, gum, and salty snacks can cause all sorts of discomfort and illness (for pups and dog parents alike). But there are some foods that are safe and even advantageous for both humans and dogs. You may be surprised to learn olive oil benefits your dog. In fact, there are ways that this liquid fat promotes a healthy lifestyle for canines. With anything new, always consult with your veterinarian before adding olive oil to your dog’s diet. How much and how often will depend on your individual pup.
How does olive oil benefit dogs?
Olive oil is a known healthy fat for human diets. This is also true for our dogs. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids that are part of a wholesome diet. These are some of the ways it can improve your dog’s life.
1. A delicious meal enhancement
In addition to the health factor (read on for more), some dogs may like the aromatic flavor of this liquid. Add some olive oil to diversify your pup’s palate or get them excited about mealtime. The Dog People suggest using these serving sizes for your pup’s dry food, “Add a teaspoon (for 30-40 pound dogs) to a tablespoon (for 90-pound dogs).”
2. A path to a shiner coat
Does your dog have dry, flaky skin? Olive oil can help. It is full of antioxidants including vitamin E. Olive oil is a source of phytonutrients as well. The omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil can moisturize your dog’s skin and eliminate dryness. Pour a small portion of oil into your dog’s daily meal and watch her coat regain its luster.
3. A positive influence on brain health
Extra-virgin olive oil is a known anti-inflammatory because it is full of antioxidants. In humans, some research indicates it prevents cognitive decline, and the same can be said for dogs. This liquid fat can reduce the formation of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain – indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. As your pup ages, olive oil promotes brain activity. The supplement might be especially useful for your senior dog.
4. A stronger immune system
Olive oil is full of vitamin E, chlorophyll and carotenoids. These components are known as antioxidants. They can strengthen your dog’s immune system so it can more effectively fight off disease. Like humans, dogs can pick up diseases when the seasons change so the addition of olive oil can boost the strength of your pup’s immune system during this time.
5. A generally healthy lifestyle
The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Also, oleic acid in olive oil is a compound that has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. We’re not saying that olive oil will eliminate the chance your dog will get these diseases, but the liquid fat is part of a nutritious diet for your dog.
Are there any negative consequences?
How does the saying go? Everything in moderation. One tablespoon of olive oil contains is about 120 calories and 31.5 grams of fat. Yes, it is a healthy fat, but you don’t want to go overboard serving it to your pup. Dr. Christopher Reeder, a board-certified dermatologist at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Franklin, Tennessee, warned PetCentral that too much olive oil could upset the gastrointestinal tracts of dogs with sensitive stomachs. The lesson is don’t give olive oil to your dog if he’s is experiencing or prone to episodes of diarrhea or vomiting.
Keep in mind that too much olive oil could increase the risk of a pancreatitis flare-up, and the extra calories could lead to weight gain. So, as, we said, moderation is key.
The bottom line
Don’t pour heaping amounts of olive oil into your dog’s food bowl. If you decide to add it to their diet, we recommend mentioning it to your vet. The doctor may have suggestions for serving size and frequency. Don’t think of this as a cure-all to disease, but a supplement that may have your dog looking her best and feeling fine, too.