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While I know that I shouldn’t, I often feed my dog little bits and pieces off my plate while we are curled up together.
This is not a good idea for training reasons, and you don’t want them to pick up the habit of begging for food every time they see someone with a plate.
But it is also not a good idea because dogs can’t eat all the same things that we do, and you might unknowingly be giving them something toxic.
So, if like me, you are going to feed your dog the occasional human food treat, it is important to know what they can and can’t eat.
Today, I am going to look at the question of whether your dog can eat olives.
The short answer to this question is yes, dogs can eat olives, but only with care.
In this article, we will go through the potential benefits to your dog of eating olives, but also how to safely include them in your dog’s diet, so that they can enjoy a tasty treat without putting their health at risk.
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Benefits Of Olives
Aside from pleading watery eyes to which you can’t say no, you might want to consider including the occasional olive in your dog’s diet as a superfood health boost, as olives contain lots of nutrients that dogs need.
First and foremost, they are high in calcium, which can be important for dogs as many tend to be lactose intolerant and so can’t digest dairy products, which we generally associate with calcium.
Just like in humans, calcium helps support healthy teeth and bones, and it can also help the blood to clot properly and ensure that dogs’ muscles function well.
Olives are rich in vitamins A, E, and K. Vitamin A supports good vision and proper immune function. Vitamin E has anti-aging properties and helps fight eye and muscle degeneration. Vitamin K is essential for dogs’ blood to clot properly.
Finally, olives are rich in good monounsaturated fats that help the body reduce cholesterol, which can help fight obesity and also conditions such as diabetes.
So, overall, olives seem like a positive addition to any dog’s diet, but only in moderation.
Dangers Of Olives
There are three main dangers associated with feeding dogs olives.
First, they contain pits or seeds. These are a major choking hazard for dogs, who are likely to down their olive in a single swallow. These hard rocks can block their airways and leave both you and your dog in a panic.
Moreover, anyone who has ever accidentally bitten down on an olive will know how hard they are, and that if you are unlucky, you could easily crack a tooth. The same is true for your dog.
The second risk is that olives are high in sodium, which can be toxic to dogs if consumed in excess.
Dogs should be getting no more than 0.25-1.5 grams of sodium per 100 grams of food.
Olives that come in brine contain around 60 milligrams of sodium per olive, so just one or two can push your dog into dangerous sodium levels. Symptoms of sodium poisoning include:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive Urine
- Intense Thirst
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
Finally, olives made for human consumption are often prepared with other foods, such as spices, processed cheese, peppers, and garlic.
All of these goods are difficult for dogs to digest and cause them an upset stomach, and some of these ingredients, such as garlic, are actually toxic to dogs.
For more information,, check out our comprehensive article on what dogs can and can’t eat .
How To Safely Feed Your Dog Olives
So, considering the dangers, how can you safely feed your dog olives?
Well, first and foremost, you can feed your dog either green olives or black olives. The difference between these is that green olives are plucked from the tree before they are ripe, while black olives are left on the tree to ripen.
You should then follow the following precautions:
- Try and get natural olives and avoid olives that have been packaged in brine, as this significantly increases their sodium content. These olives are better for you than for your dog.
- Avoid olives that have been prepared with other ingredients, such as cheese, peppers, or garlic, as these may be toxic to dogs even in small quantities.
- Remove pits and seeds before giving olives to your dog to remove this choking hazard and potential danger to their teeth.
Also, never give your dog olives that have passed their best-before date. It can be tempting to do this as a way to not waste food. But, if the olives contain any mold, they may also contain tremorgenic mycotoxins that can make dogs very ill.
Symptoms include vomiting, fever, tremors, and seizures.
When starting your dog on olives, make sure to only give them a small piece of an olive, and to observe them for the following 24 hours for any bad reactions.
While there is nothing inherently toxic about olives, just like humans, dogs can have allergies, or just sensitive stomachs, which means that olives won’t agree with them.
This is why you should only ever introduce one new food into your dog’s diet at a time, and should always observe your dog closely afterward for any adverse reactions.
Once you have tested your dog and given them the all-clear, it is not only safe, but also potentially healthy to give them one or two olives a week, but no more than that in order to avoid excessive sodium.
If your dog does manage to get their hands on a whole plate of olives, consult your vet immediately due to the amount of sodium that they have likely ingested.
What About Olive Oil?
While we all enjoy a nice olive, 90 percent of the olives grown in the Mediterranean are actually used to make olive oil. So, what about this kitchen favorite; is it safe to feed it to your pooch?
Again, the answer to this is yes, in moderation, and that olive oil can actually offer significant health benefits to dogs.
It is high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels and improve the way the body breaks down fats. This results in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a decreased risk of diabetes.
Olive oil is also full of antioxidants, which help fight the aging process, and is full of healthy minerals that can ensure your dog’s coat is healthy and shiny.
Most healthy dogs, on a healthy diet of quality dog food that is specially formulated to give them everything that they need, shouldn’t need olive oil added to their diets, so it is completely unnecessary.
If your dog is struggling with weight issues, diabetes, or a smelly coat, adding a teaspoon of olive oil to their food once or twice a week may be a healthy supplement, and it certainly won’t hurt them.
So, what is the verdict?
Yes, you can feed your dog olives, and it can even be a healthy addition to their diet, but it should be done with care.
While dogs can eat either black or green olives, they should not be olives that have been prepared with any other foods, as these other foods such as pepper and garlic can be toxic to dogs.
All pits and seeds should also be removed from olives before they are given to dogs, as they represent both potential choking hazards and dangers to their teeth.
Olives should also only be fed to dogs in moderation as they are high in sodium, and too much sodium can be highly poisonous to dogs. Really, dogs should be consuming no more than one or two olives per week.
Treating your dog with the occasional olive can be worth the risk, as they offer a lot of health benefits. Olives are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes.
They can also be a great source of calcium for dogs, as dogs often can’t eat dairy products.
Olives are also full of vitamins and minerals that support healthy eyes, muscles, and coats. So, go ahead and treat your dog to a tasty olive.
For more advice on what to feed your pet, visit the nutrition pages of our website.
So what about you guys?
Do you share the olives off of your pizza with your dog?
Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.
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