Olive Oil Health Benefits for Dogs

Olive oil offers a wide range of benefits for dogs, including healthy skin, reduced inflammation, cardiovascular protection and reduced risk of diabetes.

By Thomas Sechehaye
Jun. 6, 2023 13:52 UTC
6K reads

The Mediterranean diet not only ben­e­fits human health, but it also offers a wide range of advan­tages for dogs, too.

Olive oil is the pri­mary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, which is asso­ci­ated with ben­e­fits for car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. Unsurprisingly, it is nat­ural for car­ing pet own­ers to want to share the remark­able health ben­e­fits of olive oil with their dogs.

With the numer­ous health ben­e­fits of olive oil for the human diet, you may have won­dered, is olive oil good for dogs too?’” Kym Hough, the chief mar­ket­ing offi­cer of California pro­ducer McEvoy Ranch, told Olive Oil Times. The resound­ing answer is yes, olive oil offers many ben­e­fits for dogs.”

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Olive oil con­tains phy­tonu­tri­ents, vit­a­min E and omega‑3 fatty acids which help keep dog’s skin mois­tur­ized and well-nour­ished for a healthy, beau­ti­ful coat,” she added. Additionally, olive oil is rich in antiox­i­dants, which have been shown to fight free rad­i­cal dam­age and boost the immune sys­tem effec­tively.”

According to Rover, a pet care ser­vices plat­form, olive oil helps your dog’s health in four ways: skin, weight, taste, and immune sys­tem.

Recent stud­ies con­firm that extra vir­gin olive oil pre­vents dry skin, soothes scal­ing skin, sup­ports heart health, and reduces inflam­ma­tion. For senior dogs, these can be life-chang­ing ben­e­fits to help dogs stay agile, flex­i­ble, and active.

The ben­e­fits of extra vir­gin olive oil include its abil­ity to pro­mote healthy skin, ease itch­ing asso­ci­ated with aller­gies and reduce inflam­ma­tion.

Christopher Reeder, a board-cer­ti­fied der­ma­tol­o­gist at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Franklin, Tennessee, told Chewy that the lus­ter and shine in dogs’ coats could be observed after about 30 days of dietary olive oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion.

However, experts cau­tion that while putting olive oil directly on the skin may be tempt­ing, dogs tend to lick this off. Rather than get into a sticky mess, they sug­gest adding a tea­spoon of olive oil to their food.

Small amounts of olive oil may be added to dog food to help main­tain their ideal body weight. However, vets cau­tion against giv­ing olive oil to dogs suf­fer­ing from intesti­nal con­di­tions such as diar­rhea or vom­it­ing.

According to the Spanish Olive Oil Interprofessional, a non-profit, olive oil helps pre­vent heart dis­ease and reduce the risks of dia­betes in dogs. Olive oil con­sump­tion also boosts dogs’ energy and helps pre­vent cel­lu­lar oxi­da­tion.

Olive oil can boost immune func­tion­ing and help pre­vent or delay cog­ni­tive decline. Key antiox­i­dants such as Vitamin E pro­tect cell mem­branes from free rad­i­cal dam­age. Dogster, a mag­a­zine, notes that olive oil is espe­cially ben­e­fi­cial for senior dogs and can help keep their minds vibrant.

Olive oil polyphe­nols for dogs

Polyphenols, nat­u­rally occur­ring com­pounds found in extra vir­gin olive oil, offer numer­ous ben­e­fits for dogs. The potent antiox­i­dants, help to neu­tral­ize harm­ful free rad­i­cals and pro­tect cells from oxida­tive dam­age. This can con­tribute to improved immune func­tion and reduced risk of chronic dis­eases. The anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties of polyphe­nols can alle­vi­ate joint pain and stiff­ness in dogs with con­di­tions like arthri­tis. They also sup­port car­dio­vas­cu­lar health by pro­mot­ing healthy blood flow and reduc­ing the risk of heart dis­ease. Polyphenols have been linked to enhanced cog­ni­tive func­tion in dogs, poten­tially improv­ing mem­ory, learn­ing, and over­all brain health. They may also aid in diges­tion by sup­port­ing a healthy gut micro­biome and reduc­ing inflam­ma­tion in the gas­troin­testi­nal tract. Certain polyphe­nols have anti-can­cer prop­er­ties, help­ing to pre­vent the growth and spread of tumors. Always con­sult with a vet­eri­nar­ian before mak­ing any dietary changes or intro­duc­ing sup­ple­ments to ensure they are safe and appro­pri­ate for your dog.

The Chewy report rec­om­mends extra vir­gin olive oil due to its low acid­ity and rich nutri­ent con­tents. However, a holis­tic vet­eri­nar­ian and report author, Judy Morgan, sug­gests no more than one tea­spoon of olive oil for 20 pounds (9 kilo­grams) of body weight per meal.

According to the Spanish Olive Oil Interprofessional, a table­spoon of olive oil once or twice weekly is the typ­i­cal amount to add to your dog’s food.


Some vets sug­gest one tea­spoon for every 30 to 40 pounds (13.5 to 18 kilo­grams). Recommendations also vary if your dog is expe­ri­enc­ing unique ail­ments, con­di­tions or ill­nesses.

Many dog food brands are increas­ingly adding healthy fats, such as olive oil, directly to their prod­ucts.

According to Rover, olive oil may make your dog’s food palat­able and tasty. A lit­tle olive oil can help make dry or stale food more appeal­ing. Hough echoes this ben­e­fit: Olive oil improves the taste of their food, which as huge dog lovers, hav­ing a happy pup is the best gift of all.”

Extra vir­gin or vir­gin olive oil offers healthy dietary fat and pro­tects the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, accord­ing to the Innovative Veterinary Care Journal (IVC Journal). The higher-nutri­ent oil is pre­ferred over non-vir­gin olive oils due to the extrac­tion method. The IVC Journal noted that vir­gin olive oil is safe for dogs to con­sume, even for extended peri­ods.

In Pets Magazine, Therese Tan shares a few guide­lines for using extra vir­gin olive oil in reg­u­lar dog food. Tan sug­gests using extra vir­gin olive oil for a fresher fla­vor and reduced acid con­tent. However, it is impor­tant to con­sider the impact on their weight. Olive oil con­tains fat and calo­ries, which may need to be mon­i­tored to pre­vent weight gain.

According to Tan, olive oil may irri­tate dogs with sen­si­tive stom­achs. Therefore, if a dog responds with an upset stom­ach, it is advised not to give them any­more. Similarly, olive oil might worsen the sit­u­a­tion in the case of vom­it­ing or diar­rhea.

Moderation is crit­i­cal for the use of olive oil in canine care. Morgan advises atten­tion to por­tion con­trol, as extra calo­ries may cause weight gain. Furthermore, experts rec­om­mend talk­ing with a vet­eri­nar­ian before adjust­ing a dog’s diet.

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