Can Dogs Eat That

Is Olive Oil Good for Dogs? Everything You Need to Know

bowl being poured with yellow liquid

You’ve likely heard about the health benefits of olive oil for humans – this superfood is packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. But did you know that olive oil can be great for your furry friend, too? That’s right, adding a bit of olive oil to your dog’s regular diet can help improve their skin and coat, ease allergies, support digestive health, manage their weight, and even potentially prevent disease. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of how olive oil can benefit your beloved pup and how to safely incorporate it into their diet.

The Benefits to Add Olive Oil to Your Dog’s Diet

1. Moisturized Skin and Lustrous Coat

One of the most noticeable benefits of olive oil for dogs is the impact on their skin and coat health. The omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and other nutrients in olive oil help keep your dog’s skin hydrated and nourished. This can be particularly useful for dogs prone to dry, flaky, or irritated skin. 

cheerful black woman embracing cute labrador near window

You may have noticed that many premium dog foods advertise the inclusion of fatty acids – well, you can easily add those nourishing lipids to your dog’s diet yourself with a drizzle of olive oil! Just mix a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into your dog’s regular food. This allows the benefits to work from the inside out for healthy skin. Applying the oil topically to your dog’s coat is not recommended, as they will likely just lick it off.

adorable little pomeranian dog lying in bed

The same nutrients that moisturize your pup’s skin also help strengthen their coat and add shine. So, if your dog’s fur has been looking a little dull or brittle, a consistent dose of olive oil might be just what they need to restore luster and soften their coat. Imagine how silky and glossy they’ll look after a few weeks of this olive oil treatment!

short coated white dog on green field

2. Itch Relief for Allergy-Prone Pups

If your poor pup suffers from environmental or seasonal allergies, you know firsthand how miserable that itchy, inflamed skin can be. Substances like pollen, dust, and flea saliva can all trigger an allergic response that has your dog scratching incessantly. 

While olive oil is not a cure for allergies, it may help relieve some of that itchiness and skin inflammation thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. The primary fat in olive oil, oleic acid, has been shown to reduce inflammation in humans and may have a similar effect on dogs.

shallow focus photography of a golden retriever

Again, it’s the oral administration of olive oil that seems to be most effective here, rather than topical application. Mixing a bit of extra virgin olive oil into your allergic dog’s food allows those beneficial compounds to work internally to potentially soothe inflammation and irritation. 

Of course, any severe or persistent allergies should be addressed with your vet, who may recommend medications or other treatments. But for mild seasonal allergies, a dash of olive oil could help your pup feel more comfortable in their own skin.

cute labrador retriever in eyeglasses lying on bed with book

3. Digestive Support for Better Bowel Movements

Another potential perk of olive oil is its ability to support your dog’s digestive health, especially if they struggle with occasional constipation. Olive oil acts as a mild laxative, helping to lubricate the digestive tract and encourage regular bowel movements. If your dog tends to strain while pooping or produces hard, dry stools, a little olive oil might help get things moving more smoothly.

brown chihuahua

The key here is to start with a very small amount of olive oil, such as 1/4 teaspoon for a small dog or 1/2 teaspoon for a larger breed. Too much oil introduced too quickly may trigger diarrhea, so it’s important to increase gradually and see how your dog’s system responds. If you observe vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite after adding olive oil, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian. 

Once you find the right balance for your pup, consistent use of olive oil may help promote digestive regularity and make bathroom breaks more comfortable. Just be sure to always mix the oil into their food rather than giving it directly, to avoid any choking or aspiration risk.

a dog eating on a bowl

4. Weight Management

Over half of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, which increases their risk for various health issues. While no single food is a magic bullet for weight loss, olive oil may support your dog’s weight management plan by helping to break down fat cells. 

black chihuahua

The plentiful monounsaturated fats in olive oil have been demonstrated to assist in breaking down fats, potentially giving your dog a leg up in the battle of the bulge when incorporated into a balanced, calorie-controlled diet and exercise regimen. However, remember that olive oil is still high in calories, so work with your vet to determine the appropriate portion for your dog’s size and activity level.

long coated white and brown dog

5. Disease Prevention Potential

Perhaps the most exciting benefit of olive oil for dogs is its potential to help prevent chronic disease. While more research is needed to confirm the extent of these effects in canines, the antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds in olive oil are known to offer protection against some common diseases in humans.

For example, powerful antioxidants like vitamin E combat oxidative stress and free radical damage, which are underlying factors in the development of many cancers and cardiovascular illnesses. Plant chemicals called polyphenols, also found in olive oil, have demonstrated protective effects against age-related cognitive decline in people. 

adult brown and white pembroke welsh corgi near the body of water

So, while olive oil is not a guaranteed safeguard against disease for dogs, it certainly doesn’t hurt to add this nutritious ingredient to your pup’s food. Combined with regular vet care, a high-quality diet, and plenty of exercise and enrichment, olive oil could be one more tool in your toolbox to help your furry friend live the longest, healthiest life possible.

white dog on a computer desk kissing the owner

How to Choose Olive Oil for Your Dog

If you’re convinced of the benefits and ready to add olive oil to your dog’s everyday diet, be sure to select a high-quality product and introduce it slowly. Extra virgin olive oil is recommended, as it’s extracted without high heat or chemicals and retains the most nutrients. However, it can spoil more quickly than refined olive oils, so opt for a dark glass bottle and store it in a cool place away from direct light.

woman sitting on wooden floor with her dog

How to Safely Offer Olive Oil to Your Dog

Here’s a step-by-step guide to introducing olive oil to your pup’s diet:

  1. Consult Your Vet

Before making any changes to your pup’s diet, consult your vet to ensure olive oil is safe and appropriate for your pup’s individual health needs. They can advise you on the right amount based on your dog’s size, age, breed, and existing health conditions.

white short coated dog

2. Start Small

Begin with a very small amount of olive oil, even less than the recommended dose for your dog’s size (1 teaspoon per 20 lbs of body weight daily). This allows you to monitor your dog’s reaction.

3. Mix It With Food

The safest and most effective way to give your dog olive oil is to mix it thoroughly into their regular food. Add the oil to their wet or dry food and stir it in well. This allows the olive oil to be evenly distributed and prevents your dog from consuming it too quickly or in a concentrated amount.

drop of olive oil added to salad made of diced pumpkin lettuce and cottage cheese

4. Observe Your Dog

After adding olive oil to your dog’s food, keep a close eye on them for the next 24-48 hours. Watch for any signs of digestive discomfort, like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. Also, be on the lookout for any skin irritation, itching, or other signs of an allergic reaction. If you observe any concerning symptoms, stop giving the olive oil immediately and contact your veterinarian for guidance.

a dog lying down

5. Slowly Increase the Amount

If your dog tolerates the initial small dose of olive oil well with no adverse effects, you can gradually increase the amount over time. Add just a little more oil every few days or week, working up to the recommended daily allowance for your dog’s size. For example, you might increase by 1/4 teaspoon every 3-5 days for a larger dog or just a few extra drops at a time for a small pup. This slow, steady approach allows your dog’s body to adapt comfortably.

woman preparing cauliflower with olive oil

6. Be Consistent

For maximum benefits, be consistent with offering olive oil to your pup, adding it to the same meal each day to establish a healthy routine. Remember, any additions to your dog’s regular diet should not exceed 10% of their total daily caloric intake to ensure a balanced diet and reduce the risk of weight gain or other adverse effects.

smiling woman with shiba inu

Is Olive Oil Ever Bad for Dogs? Potential Risks to Consider

While olive oil can offer numerous health benefits for dogs when used appropriately, there are some potential risks to be aware of:

  1. Weight Gain and Obesity

Adding too much olive oil to your dog’s diet without adjusting their other food portions can lead to excess weight gain and obesity over time, which is associated with numerous health issues like diabetes, joint pain, and decreased lifespan.

husky lying down on carpet

2. Pancreatitis Risk

Overfeeding olive oil to your dog can increase the possibility of pancreatitis, a severe and potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. To prevent this condition, avoid feeding your dog excessive amounts of any fat, including olive oil.

portrait of dog

3. Gastrointestinal Upset

Consuming too much olive oil too quickly can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite, especially in dogs with sensitive stomachs or pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions. Start with a very small amount and increase gradually to minimize the risk of GI upset.

black and tan long coat dog


1. Can I Apply Olive Oil Directly to My Dog’s Skin or Coat?

While it may be tempting to use olive oil topically for issues like dry skin, it’s not recommended, as your dog will likely just lick it off. It’s much more effective to feed the oil so it can work from the inside out.

2. How Much Olive Oil Should I Give My Dog?

A general guideline is 1 teaspoon of olive oil per 20 pounds of your dog’s weight, given daily. So a 40 lb dog could have up to 2 teaspoons per day. However, start with less than this and increase slowly. Your vet can advise on the right amount for your individual pup based on their unique needs.

3. Can Olive Oil Help My Dog’s Teeth and Breath?

Plain olive oil isn’t known to provide dental benefits for dogs. Proper tooth brushing, dental chews, and regular check-ups are the best ways to maintain your pup’s oral health. However, some studies suggest that especially ozonated olive oil may help reduce plaque in dogs when used as part of a dental care routine.

4. Is It Safe to Give My Dog Olive Oil Every Day?

For most healthy dogs, a daily dose of olive oil is safe and beneficial when given in the appropriate amount and mixed into their food. Of course, you should always check with your vet before making it a regular component of your dog’s meals, as individual factors may affect the safety and ideal quantity.

Final Words

Olive oil can be a fantastic way to naturally support your pup’s well-being from the inside out. Its beneficial fats, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds may help keep your dog’s skin, coat, digestive system, and overall health in tip-top shape.

smiling woman petting two beautiful dogs outdoors

However, not all dogs will tolerate or need additional oil in their diet. Always consult your trusted veterinarian before adding olive oil to your pup’s menu; choose a high-quality oil, start slowly, and watch for any adverse reactions.

If you’re curious about other human foods that may be safe or harmful for your dog, be sure to check out our other articles on common snacks, fruits, and more. From “Can Dogs Eat Bananas?” to “Can Dogs Eat Carrots?” we’ve got you covered with expert advice to help keep your pet happy and healthy.


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.