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As a caring dog owner, you may often wonder about some of the human food to give your dog as occasional snacks.
Keep reading this article as we explore the safety concerns of feeding olives to dogs, potential health benefits, associated risks, and how best to incorporate this fruit into your pup’s diet.
Can Dogs Eat Olives? Are Olives Safe For Dogs?
It is completely safe for dogs to eat olives, but only in moderation as an occasional healthy snack rather than an everyday reward.
The fleshy part of olives is considered non-toxic to dogs, but there are some things you need to have in mind before offering it to your dog.
Despite the potential health benefits, it’s important to know that olives are high in fat which can be problematic for dogs, especially if consumed in excessive amounts.
Furthermore, canned olives are preserved in brine solutions which have high sodium content and might induce salt toxicity to dogs.
It is therefore important for pet parents to consider their dog’s overall health condition, dietary requirements, or restricted diet before introducing olives to their furry friends.
The Nutritional Composition of Olives
Common Types of Olives
Olives are typically categorized into different types based on their different colors, ripeness, and regions of cultivation.
Two of the most common types of olive fruits are black and green, both of which offer varying tastes and slightly different nutritional profiles.
Black olives are considered to be fully ripe and they have a milder taste compared to green olives which have a slightly bitter taste.
We also have the Kalamata olives which are dark purple in color. These fruits derive their name from their region of cultivation in Peloponnese, Greece.
Kalamata olives have a smooth meaty texture with a slightly stronger taste compared to regular black olives.
Nutritional value of olives
Olive fruits are considerably small compared to other types of fruits, but they are packed with a variety of nutrients that can be beneficial to dogs.
An olive fruit contains about 11-15% of healthy fats which is a combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
About 55-84% of the fats in olives are from oleic acid which forms the major composition of fatty acid content in olives.
The healthy fats in olives have been linked to several benefits including decreased inflammation and reduced risks of heart diseases by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol.
2. Fiber and Carbs
The carbohydrate content in olives is about 4 – 6%, which makes them a low-carb fruit. Studies have shown that most of the carbohydrates in olives are in the form of fiber.
Fiber can help in the regulation of bowel movements in dogs by supporting the digestive system. It, therefore, helps in preventing constipation and helps the dog get satisfied with enough meals.
However, it’s important to note that olives are not a very good source of fiber compared to other fruits. It has been estimated that 10 olives can produce roughly 1.5 grams of fiber.
Olives are packed with about 0.8 grams of protein per 100 grams of fruit. Proteins are essential in building the dog’s body and repairing tissues.
Although most dogs rely primarily on animal-based proteins, the small addition of plant protein to their diet can be good for taste.
Olives are a great source of certain important minerals such as potassium, calcium, copper, iron, and sodium (if canned).
Black olives are especially a good source of iron, which can help dogs to form good blood. Potassium in olives can help to balance blood pressure and blood sugar levels in dogs.
Calcium is helpful in the growth and development of strong bones in dogs, and it also helps in nerve and muscle function.
The copper traces in olives can be a great addition to your dog’s diet to help them cut down the risks of heart disease.
Olives are packed with powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenol compounds.
These antioxidants play a major role in protecting against cell damage caused by harmful free radicals.
Are there health benefits of olives for dogs?
While olives should not form a major part of your dog’s diet, they do offer some potential health benefits when given in moderation.
1. Monounsaturated fats and cardiovascular health
Olives are chock-full of healthy monounsaturated fats from oleic acids, which can contribute to your dog’s overall cardiovascular health.
The monounsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol levels (low-density lipoprotein) in dogs while raising the levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein).
This improvement of the lipid profile can greatly reduce the risk of canine heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
2. Antioxidant properties
As we mentioned earlier, olives are a good source of antioxidants such as Vitamin E and some polyphenol compounds.
These antioxidants play a vital role in fighting the harmful free radicals in the dog’s body and supporting the immune system.
When left unchecked, free radicals can be harmful and contribute to chronic illnesses by supporting the body’s cell damage.
3. Anti-inflammatory effects
The bioactive pentacyclic triterpenoids present in olives have anti-inflammation properties that have been shown to help with chronic conditions.
Adding a tiny piece of olive to your dog’s diet may help relieve chronic inflammation and pain in conditions such as arthritis.
4. The role of olives in promoting a healthy coat and skin
The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present in olives can help improve your dog’s coat and promote healthy skin.
It achieves this by reducing dryness, hotspots, itching, and flakiness, and promoting a soft and shiny healthy coat.
Monounsaturated fats in olives also help in locking in the skin’s moisture, which aids in keeping it supple and lustrous.
Dogs with well-nourished skins and glossy coats are less prone to suffering skin conditions or harboring external parasites.
Can Dogs Eat Green Olives and Black Olives?
You may be curious about the different types of olives for dogs, but the good news is that both green and black olives are safe for dogs to eat, but in moderation.
Green olives are typically harvested before they fully ripen, and they usually undergo a curing process to remove the natural bitterness.
Processed green olives have a much firmer texture with a slightly bitter taste, and a strong smell compared to black olives.
Black olives, on the other hand, are left on the tree until they fully ripen before harvest. They usually have a milder taste compared to unripe olives.
You may have to experiment with the two types of olives to figure out the one preferred by your canine friend.
How Many Olives Can a Dog Eat?
Adult dogs can safely snack on one or two medium-sized plain olives as an occasional treat with moderation, whereas smaller dogs can have one.
As we mentioned earlier, olives are loaded with fats, meaning that excessive consumption can be harmful to dogs.
We suggest introducing your dog to olives by offering a small piece instead of giving the whole serving. Make sure to observe your dog’s reactions to observe allergies and negative reactions.
If your dog loves the taste of olives, you can gradually increase the amount or mix it in their food, while limiting their intake to the recommended serving from time to time.
Are There Risks in Feeding Olives to Dogs?
Even though olives can be potentially beneficial to your dog, there are some risks you need to keep in mind when offering this snack to your pooch.
Knowing these risks will help you take safety measures and make informed decisions when preparing this snack for your dog.
1. High-fat content
Overconsumption of olives may lead to weight gain and obesity thanks to the high fat content. Obesity can be a serious issue in dogs because it opens up the possibility of lots of chronic illnesses.
Make sure to reach out to your vet for professional advice if your dog consumes too many pitted or unpitted olives.
Canned olives preserved in brine or saltwater are high in sodium, which can predispose your dog to dehydration, or contribute to kidney problems if taken in excess.
Cooked olives garnished with garlic, toxic seasonings, or marinades also carry a significant amount of risk to dogs.
3. Choking hazard
Plain olives with pits can cause a choking hazard or induce breathing problems in dogs by blocking the airways.
In addition to that, strong pits have the risk of cracking your dogs’ teeth, especially puppies, when they try to chew in a hurry.
Once ingested, olive pits can further lead to intestinal blockage and digestive issues.
4. Allergic reactions to olives
Although rare, some dogs can have allergies and sensitivities to olives.
Such dogs may get sick from eating olives and it could manifest in a negative reaction such as itching, or gastrointestinal issues.
We suggest keeping an eye on your dog after introducing them to new foods to check for negative symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Precautions And Moderations
Just like any other new food, you need to exercise precaution and temperance when introducing olives to your dog.
Olives should not form a major part of your dog’s diet even if they don’t have a problem with it.
If your dog is on a high-fat diet, we suggest you avoid giving them these fruits since it may lead to extra fat intake.
Pet parents need to consider their dog’s dietary needs and pre-existing medical conditions before adding olives as a healthful treat to their diet.
Safe Ways to Offer Olives to Dogs
Dogs can enjoy a tiny serving of olives in different ways from time to time.
Plain pitted olives
One of the best ways of adding an olive treat to your dog’s diet is offering it plain and pitted. You should never give an olive with pits to your furry friend.
We also suggest that you avoid giving your dog olive stuffed with various ingredients such as garlic or hot peppers.
Make sure to use a plain olive and remove the pits before offering it to your dog as an occasional snack once in a while.
Proper serving size and frequency
As with every other dog treat, olives should not form more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake.
Limiting the serving to a tiny taste of one or two fruits will help your canine friend to get the nutritional benefits while lowering the risk profile.
Preparing olives for dogs
If you decide to offer your dog a tiny taste of olives, it is on your part to ensure the safety of your dog by being cautious and moderate.
1. Raw and pitted
Offering plain, unbrined, and fresh olive harvested from the tree is the safest way to add this snack to your dog’s daily food intake.
The only thing you have to do is wash the fruit and remove the pits to ensure your dog is not choked while enjoying this snack.
If you have olive trees in your backyard, you should discourage your furry friend from eating directly from the tree since they might ingest the whole fruit with the pits.
Raw olives, especially the green ones can have a bitter taste when freshly picked from the tree, so you should not be surprised if your dog fails to eat it.
2. Cooked olives
Cooking olives is an ideal way of reducing bitterness to make them appealing to your dog’s taste buds.
If you opt for store-bought cooked olives, make sure to choose the ones without seasoning, dressings, or toxic ingredients.
Some ingredients used in cooked olives are toxic to dogs while others are difficult to digest, so you’ll be safer to avoid processed olives.
In addition to feeding olives as standalone treats, you can mix them with your dog’s regular food to add some variety and flavor.
Toxic Components for Dogs on Olives
While there’s nothing wrong with giving raw, unsalted olives to your dog, you need to beware of some of the toxic components in this fruit.
Can dogs eat olive pits?
No! Dogs should never feed on olive pits. The hard exterior of the pits can damage your dog’s teeth when trying to chew, cause choking, and even intestinal blockage when ingested.
Intestinal blockage or stomach obstruction can be a serious problem in dogs when not given immediate attention.
Dealing with accidental ingestion of pits
If your dog accidentally ingests olive pits, you need to call the vet immediately for advice. Your vet may advise you to induce vomiting as you plan for a visit to the office.
For small breed dogs or puppies, your vet may not recommend inducing vomiting because the hard pits may get stuck in the throat during the process, and this will worsen the situation.
Signs of Olive Toxicity in Dogs
The fleshy part of olive fruits is not toxic to dogs by themselves, but certain factors such as ingesting pits, added seasoning or brined olives can cause several concerns to dogs.
If your dog ingests significant amounts of cooked olives with seasoning and marinades, they may experience diarrhea or vomiting within one hour after eating.
Canned olives preserved in saltwater or brine can pose adverse effects to your dog by causing salt toxicity, some of the signs include headaches, seizures, shaking, etc.
If your dog shows any negative symptoms after ingesting olives, you should discontinue the fruit immediately and inform your vet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can dogs eat green olives with pimentos?
While slightly sweet pimento peppers are not harmful to dogs, we recommend not feeding your dog a combination of olive and pimentos due to the possibility of stomach irritation.
2. Can dogs eat olives and garlic?
No! Dogs should never ingest garlic because it is toxic and can lead to tummy problems, vomiting, or anemia, even when consumed in very small amounts.
Garlic contains groups of active compounds such as disulfides and thiosulphates which can damage the blood cells in dogs and cause hemolytic anemia.
3. Can dogs eat Kalamata olives?
Yes! Dogs can have Kalamata olives in moderation as a special treat as long as they’re plain and pitted.
The smooth and meaty texture of Kalamata olives can be an ideal snack for dogs, especially those who don’t like the slightly bitter taste of green olives.
4. Can Dogs Eat Canned Olives?
No! It’s best to avoid giving your dog canned olives because most of them are preserved with brine, oil, salt water, or caustic soda which can induce salt toxicity.
Consumption of too much sodium can cause sodium poisoning with the potential to raise issues with the kidneys.
It is completely safe for dogs to eat tiny tastes of pitted olives from time to time as an infrequent healthy treat.
Freshly picked organic olives have several health benefits to dogs such as supporting the cardiovascular system and preventing chronic inflammation among others.
Despite the potential benefits, you need to be aware of the risks associated with too much olives for dogs including high fat intake.
Make sure to introduce new foods to your dog gradually by starting with tiny pieces and monitoring their reaction closely before proceeding further.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.