We find that olives are one of those foods that you either love or hate. They might not look like it, but they are a fruit, so you can expect them to have a few vitamins and minerals inside that help them count as a healthier snack option. But does this mean they’re also a potential treat for your furry friend? Whether your pooch has just hoovered up a dropped olive from the floor or is watching you with your snack and begging for a taste, find out whether dogs can eat olives safely, and why you may or may not want to let your pooch eat them.
Yes, dogs can eat a few plain olives without any serious risks. However, as with many human foods, there are a few ruff guidelines you need to follow to keep your pup happy and healthy.
There are dozens of varieties of olives out in the world, but we normally only think of grouping them between red and green olives. So can dogs eat either?
Yes, dogs can eat green olives. They don’t contain anything toxic in their flesh, so your pup can safely eat a few without any worry. That is as long as there’s nothing inside or on the olive that could make them sick. It’s more important that the olive is pitted and plain than it being one colour or another.
Yes, dogs can eat black olives too. Black olives are actually the same as green olives, just harvested later so they have time to develop their distinctive colour and flavour. (A bit like how peppers are all the same, they’re just different colours depending on when they are picked.) Black olives are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, the same as green olives. Just remember to remove the pit and avoid feeding your dog olives that are seasoned or stuffed.
This is where you should be extra cautious. Olives are often stuffed or seasoned with different ingredients to balance the salty taste of the olive. Some could contain a clove of garlic, or a piece of pepper, or maybe cheese.
The common ingredients you should keep an eye out for are onions and garlic, as both are toxic to dogs. Other common foods used alongside olives include jalapeno or chilli peppers, which are not toxic but are irritating for dogs. Anchovies are often used in stuffed olives, and they are safe for dogs but you should exercise caution due to the high salt content. Meanwhile, you should avoid feeding your dog chorizo, so olives with the spicy sausage should be kept away from the pooch.
To be super safe, I’d advise not to feed your dog a stuffed olive. If you are certain whatever is inside the olive is not toxic to your dog, it might be okay. But generally, it’s best to keep any olives your dog eats plain.
As long as it’s only a small amount, yes, your dog can even eat olive oil and it is considered “safe” for dogs to eat in moderation. Small dogs can have up to a teaspoon of oil, while bigger pooches can eat up to a tablespoon. However, your pup should not eat olive oil every day.
Some owners mix a spoonful of olive oil with their dog’s dinner every now and then to help give them glossier coats. Although, if your dog is eating a healthy, balanced diet, they shouldn’t need any sort of supplements to keep their fur healthy.
However, just like with humans, too much oil isn’t great for dogs. It’s quite heavy on the stomach, so many pups with sensitive stomachs or gastrointestinal issues can be sick after eating olive oil. And although it’s considered a “healthy” fat, it’s still a lot of fat. Pups with pancreatitis definitely shouldn’t be fed olive oil because it could cause a flare-up of the disease.
If you’re worried your dog’s fur isn’t as thick, glossy and healthy as it should be you should consult your vet. Thinning hair can be a symptom of an underlying problem. Otherwise, make sure your pooch is getting all the nutrition they need with a natural diet and their fur should become fuller and fluffier without any additional ingredients.
Yes, olives can be “good” for dogs, but your dog won’t be eating enough to really see the benefits. Olives contain a lot of great vitamins and minerals, but only in small amounts. Plus, the olive is so small itself, your pup would need to eat quite a lot of them for it to have a noticeable impact on their health.
Olives are well-known for their seemingly magical health properties. They’re a major part of the Mediterranean diet and are proven to help people live longer, and in theory, they could help your pooch too.
Firstly, olives are super sources of Vitamin E, which helps to keep your pup’s eyes and skin healthy and improves their immune system. This vitamin is also an antioxidant, which is a vital part of your dog’s diet to protect their cells from oxidative damage. It’s been proven that in humans these properties help to prevent some kinds of cancer and to protect the brain from cognitive decline and conditions like dementia. It is believed that these benefits also transfer to dogs, which is great news, particularly for senior doggos.
Olives also have anti-inflammatory properties, so they can help your pooch if they suffer from joint pain or problems like itchy skin. The fatty acids that olives and their oil are famous for are also great for helping to keep joints healthy and promote the skin’s protective barrier.
They can still make a “healthy” treat option though, even if your dog doesn’t eat enough to provide a bit of nutritional boost. There’s definitely nothing wrong with adding a few more vitamins or minerals into their diet, no matter how small.
No, olives are not toxic and they aren’t highly-processed junk food, so they aren’t “bad” for dogs. That being said, your pooch shouldn’t eat lots of them because overeating olives can make them unwell. The big problem with olives is that they are often high in salt due to how they are preserved. Too much salt is bad for dogs and should be avoided to prevent your pooch from being ill.
The olives themselves don’t usually make a dog sick unless they eat a lot of them. As with almost all human foods, overeating olives can make your pooch sick including issues like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
However, whatever the olives are in or what they are flavoured with are more likely to pup-set your dog’s stomach and cause illness.
Olives are often soaked in oil which can upset a dog’s sensitive stomach. Additionally, olives are usually high in salt and you should always monitor how much salt your dog eats. If they have too much, it might cause dehydration and can even be toxic.
As we mentioned above, you will need to be more careful when it comes to seasoned or stuffed olives, as many of the ingredients can make dogs sick or are even toxic to them.
Additionally, you need to check your olives are pitted because the pit (or stone, seed, whatever you want to call it) can be a choking hazard for dogs or cause blockages in their gut. This is a much more serious problem for small breeds. Plus, the hard stone can break or crack their teeth if they chomp down on it too hard.
To be on the safe side, you should only feed your pup a plain, pitted olive and always feed them in moderation. Keep it to a few olives as an occasional treat.
No, eating a few olives won’t kill your dog. Although if you have a small breed of dog and they manage to eat an olive pit, it could be a choking hazard which might put them in danger. However, olives don’t contain anything toxic themselves. The problems come from the pit and whatever the olive has been soaked or seasoned with. For example, your dog should never eat an olive that’s been in a martini, and they shouldn’t eat stuffed olives.
Yes, your dog can eat a few olives without any worry because they are non-toxic. Your pooch can safely eat both black and green olives, but it is important that you make sure they have no pits inside them and that they haven’t been flavoured with anything that is toxic to dogs, like garlic. As always, you should only feed olives in moderation, because overeating olives can make your dog sick.
Rather than letting your dog snack on your snacks, feed them a nutritionally complete meal that will satisfy their stomach and have their tail wagging. Pure is natural, nutritious and bursting with flavour to make sure your dog enjoys their meal every time. Hopefully this will stop them begging you for yours!
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.