Many pet parents are guilty of slipping an extra piece of broccoli or steak to their dog at dinnertime, and who can blame them? It’s hard to resist those big, pleading eyes, quiet whines, and puddles of drool on the floor.
Unfortunately, as hard as it may be to avoid feeding table scraps to your pup, it is often in their best interest. Not all foods that people eat are safe for canines to ingest and based on the number of Google searches each month for ‘can dogs eat olives’, (over 5,500 searches if you’re curious) we thought we might be able to help answer this common dog diet question.
Can dogs eat olives, and what are the benefits?
Olives are a fruit that has been a staple in food for over 7,000 years, and they are a perfectly acceptable snack for dogs in moderation. Olives are full of healthy antioxidants, including:
- Vitamins A, E, and K
Even more importantly, olives are a source of oleate, a healthy fat that promotes heart health and cognitive functions. Other positive health benefits of olives for dogs are:
- Improved circulation
- Weight loss
- Healthy coat and skin
- Cancer prevention
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Reduced inflammation
- Immune system support
- Improved digestion
Olives have plenty of nutritional benefits, but can dogs eat olives safely? Are olives good for dogs? Although olives are safe for dogs to eat as an occasional snack, there are some drawbacks to them that every dog owner should know before you feed an olive to your pup.
Can olives be dangerous for my dog?
Olives typically have pits that may harm your dog if he chews or swallows them. The pits can lodge in the throat or block airways, resulting in emergencies. Olive pits may also block the intestinal tract, leading to severe gastrointestinal issues. If you have a dog who loves to chew, he can damage his teeth by chomping down on an olive pit.
Pitted olives, especially the plain, unsalted kind, are the best choice of olives for your pup. Unfortunately, canned olives are packed in briny salt, and high sodium contents are not safe for your dog. A dog who ingest too much sodium can become seriously ill.
One black olive contains 32 milligrams of sodium; dogs only require a minimum of 13.3 milligrams of sodium daily. Additionally, never give your dog an olive from an alcoholic beverage, as even small amounts of alcohol can cause coma or death in canines.
A further concern with dogs and olives is making sure you don’t feed them to your pup if the olives are past the sell-by date. After this point, olives may develop mold which contains tremorgenic mycotoxins. This condition causes tremorgenic mycotoxin intoxication, which can endanger your pup’s life.
Dogs can have an occasional unsalted, plain olive as a quick snack, but don’t overfeed your dog as too many olives can result in stomach upset, diarrhea, and digestive pain. Let’s look at popular types of olives that you can give your dog in moderation.
Can dogs eat black or green olives?
The main difference between black and green olives is that one is riper than the other. Green olives are harvested from olive trees earlier than black olives.
Green olives do have higher sodium levels than black olives, so bear that in mind when feeding them as a treat to your pup. Black olives may be the healthier choice.
What about green olives with pimentos?
Can dogs eat green olives with pimentos? Yes, they can, but only if pimentos are the only item stuffed in the olive. Unfortunately, some green olives contain more than pimentos which are often accompanied by various cheeses, garlic, oils, onion, and other salty additives that are not in your canine companion’s best health interests.
Can dogs eat kalamata olives?
Kalamata olives are safe for your dog as a rare treat, and only if you get the pitted variety. Otherwise, it would be best for you to remove the olive pit yourself before offering it to your dog. Keep in mind that, like green olives, kalamata olives have higher sodium levels than black olives.
Choose olive oil instead of olives
A far better snack option for your dog is olive oil rather than olives. Like olives, olive oil contains healthy fatty acids. but unlike olives, olive oil has low levels of sodium. Olive oil is a tasty treat for your canine companion, but it’s packed with lots of other benefits including:
- Improves joint health
- Improves brain health
- Helps prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes
- Fights premature ageing by preventing free radical cell oxidation
- Improves the immune system
- Increases energy levels
- Conditions a dog’s skin and coat
As a liquid, olive oil can become a messy snack quickly, so consider mixing some in with your dog’s daily dry or wet food. The recommended amount of olive oil for dogs per meal is one teaspoon for every twenty pounds. Choose extra virgin olive oil as it has less acid and has a fresher flavor.
Olive Recipes For Dogs
Olive Oil Dog Biscuits
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (chickpea flour or gluten-free flour can be substituted)
- ½ cup wheat germ (optional for gluten-free recipe)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- ½ cup banana or pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Water for binding the dough (beef, chicken, or vegetable stock can be substituted)
- Preheat the oven to 300℉.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine all the wet ingredients: banana or pumpkin puree, eggs, and olive oil.
- Combine all the dry ingredients: flour, wheat germ, oats, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds.
- Stir the wet and dry ingredients together. Form a thick dough that holds together. Add water or stock as needed.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it. Roll approximately ¼” thick on the sheet pan.
- Cut the dough into desired shapes, then place the pieces on the parchment paper.
- Bake 40 to 60 minutes. The biscuits should be firm to the touch and crunchy.
- Let the biscuits cool, then let your pup dig in!
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For information on common dog health problems, read our article 31 Most Common Dog Health Problems.
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