Is olive oil good for dogs? It sure is! Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. That means the same olive oil that’s good for you can be just as good for your furry friend.
The numerous health benefits of olive oil are well documented. The delicious superfood has been reported to help with everything from reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease to improving joint mobility and blood vessel health. And if you’re a dog lover, you’ll be excited to know that olive oil offers many of the same benefits for your dog.
What kind of olive oil should you give your dog?
If you’re going to introduce olive oil to your pup’s diet, be sure to use extra virgin olive oil. It can be tempting to choose the cheapest oil on the shelf, but there’s a big difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. “Pure” and “light” olive oils are made from lower quality olives and heavily refined, which eliminates most of the olives nutrients. Conversely, extra virgin olive oil is extracted from the highest-quality olives, and the oil is unrefined, which allows it to retain high levels of flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants. As a bonus, EVOO has lower acid levels than regular olive oil, so it will be easier on your dog’s digestive system.
How much olive oil should you give your dog?
Now that you know dogs can eat olive oil, you might be curious about how much olive oil you should give them. While olive oil provides a lot of positive health benefits, moderation is the key to effectiveness. Just because a little is good doesn’t mean that more is better. You should give your dog one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil per 20 pounds of bodyweight.
How should you give the olive oil to your dog?
Fortunately, the easiest way to give olive oil to your dog is also the way that’s best for them. All you have to do is mix it thoroughly with their food — wet or dry, it doesn’t matter. Mixing the oil with food allows the oil to absorb into the food. And since the olive oil’s natural flavors can turn ordinary kibble into a tasty treat, you might as well make your four-legged friend’s mealtime even more enjoyable.
8 Benefits of Olive Oil for Dogs
We’ve talked about the fact that olive oil is an excellent source of healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients. Here are just a few ways that olive oil will help your dog live a happier, healthier life:
1. Healthy Coat
Olive oil is packed with fatty acids that add a beautiful shine to your dog’s coat. Since the oil works internally at the cellular level, don’t apply the olive oil externally to your dog’s fur. It’s delicious, so there’s a good chance they will lick the area where it’s applied, which could lead to unwanted results like skin irritation and hair loss. Keep in mind, it could take up to 30 days to see results of adding olive oil to your dog’s diet — but a healthy, shiny coat is well worth the wait.
2. Improved Skin
While the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are good for your pet’s fur, they’re also outstanding for keeping the skin cells supple and healthy. The antioxidants in the EVOO will also keep skin cells healthy and help reduce inflammation and dry, flaky skin that’s caused by underlying conditions, environmental allergies, or fleas.
3. Weight Control
For optimal health, your pooch needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Extra pounds can cause unnecessary stress on their joints. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil can help your avoid those extra pounds by breaking down fat cells in your dog’s system. It is important to note, however, that olive oil is a calorie-dense substance with 120 calories per teaspoon. Yet another reason to use it in moderation.
4. Joint Health
The oleic acid and antioxidants found in olive oil provide an anti-inflammatory effect similar to ibuprofen. Since dog’s systems can be sensitive to various pain medications, olive oil offers a natural alternative that can reduce pain and increase mobility in dogs of any age, but especially older dogs who may be dealing with conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, and hip dysplasia.
5. Immunity Boost
Since it’s a natural, plant-based substance extracted from the olive fruit, olive oil contains high levels of polyphenols, vitamin E, and chlorophyll. These antioxidants can boost your dog’s immune system and help them fight off a wide variety of viruses and diseases.
6. Cardiovascular Health
In addition to heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil contains vitamin E and phytonutrients that promote good cardiovascular health. These benefits can be difficult to find without expensive dietary supplements, so olive oil gives you a natural, cost-effective way to protect your pup’s heart for years to come.
7. Digestive Health
Since it is a natural fat, olive oil provides beneficial lubrication for your dog’s digestive system. Whether your pup eats only the food you feed it or occasionally sneaks a table scrap or two, adding olive oil to their diet will help ensure that everything keeps moving along smoothly.
8. Overall Health
The powerful antioxidants found in the freshest extra virgin olive oil can help counteract free radicals that cause cancer. And when you consider the fact that more than 50% of dogs over ten years old die from malignant tumors or some other form of cancer, it makes sense to introduce olive oil into your dog’s diet sooner rather than later.
With benefits like these, you may be tempted to make olive oil a regular part of your dog’s diet. We think that’s a great idea, but it’s smart to start with a little and work your way up. No two dogs are alike, which means every pup’s digestive system is different as well. Some seem to have cast-iron stomachs, while others are more sensitive to little changes. So, before introducing olive oil to your dog’s diet, we recommend checking with your veterinarian to make sure your pooch doesn’t have any underlying conditions or allergies that need to be addressed.If you want to treat your precious pup (and yourself) to the freshest extra virgin olive oil available, try our award-winning Chef’s Blend extra virgin olive oil — the same blend that’s received tail-waggin approval from all the dogs at Pepper’s Senior Dog Sanctuary in Denver, Colorado. Your dog will love the smooth, buttery flavor, and you’ll feel great knowing you’re doing your part to keep them healthy and strong.