Dogs love lounging around our feet, especially when we are cooking, in the hope of getting a few scraps of food now and then. So, you are cooking a Mediterranean meal, and your dog is just waiting for at least a morsel. Before throwing them a little snack, you ask yourself, can I give my dog an olive? Is it safe for dogs?
Olive oil is nutritious and adds numerous health benefits to a dog’s diet. But what about the fruit itself? What olives can dogs eat that are safe for them? Let’s find out!
The Olive History
Contrary to what most of us believe, olives are not of Mediterranean origin. They trace their roots back to Asia, slowly making their way to Mediterranean countries like Palestine and Iran. Olives have a rich history, going back more than 6000 years. There are even records of some Egyptians who got buried with olives in their tombs.
Olives are not just any old fruit; they have numerous nutritional benefits to both us and dogs. These include:
- Are powerful antioxidants. They contain multiple vitamins, such as vitamin E, that are high in antioxidant properties.
- Contain good fats, the healthy kind of fat. This makes olives good at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol in dogs.
- Contain mono-saturated fats that help reduce inflammation in your dog’s belly.
- Are quite good at preventing arthritis in older dogs.
- Contain oleic acid, a powerful tool in preventing cancer.
- Help protect dry skin in some dogs. For example, olive oil protects Chihuahuas suffering from dry skin; apply it behind their ears to soothe irritation.
- Olive oil is a good agent in improving and lowering insulin sensitivity. This is a gem if your dog has a predisposition to diabetes.
- Improve bone health.
- Are a good source of protein.
- Rich in calcium.
- Contain vitamins A and K.
Risks of Feeding Your Dog Olives
Although olives boast of most of the nutritional benefits you want in fruits, you should still be careful when feeding them to your dog. Some of the risks associated with olives and dogs include:
Olives have tough pith that your dog can choke on. Ensure you take the stone out before feeding your dog.
De-seeding the fruit is not only important to avoid a choking hazard but also to prevent the seed from breaking your dog’s teeth.
High in Sodium
The fruits themselves have moderate sodium levels. However, if you buy canned olives, you have to be more careful. Olives from a tin or jar contain a brining solution. The solution has very high sodium levels.
High levels of sodium are dangerous in dogs as they can cause:
Olive past their sell-by dates can get moldy or have a fishy smell. This can be because they have tremorgenic mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins are hazardous to dogs, most times resulting in seizures or tremors. Ensure you only let your dog eat fresh olives to avoid this.
Store-bought olives contain certain spices that make them tasty to us. However, the same spices are hazardous to dogs. Some olives even have a filling that can be dangerous to dogs. One such additive toxic to dogs is garlic. It is always better to feed your dog plain, fresh olives.
What Types of Olives Can Dogs Eat?
Some people prefer green olives while some prefer black ones. In truth, there isn’t much difference between the two. Green olives just haven’t fully ripened, while black olives are ripe.
When it comes to dogs, you can feed them any kind of olives. They share the same properties and benefits. They also share the same risks, so your dog can have the same reaction.
You can see which ones your pup enjoys more and feed them those. But when it comes to health benefits, there is no difference.
How Many Olives Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is vital when feeding your dog; this applies even to olives. You need to ensure you only feed them a few to start with. Observe their reaction to them, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
Take note of their bowel movements after each feed and stop feeding them if you see a change. An emergency visit to the vet might be necessary if your dog has a negative reaction to the fruit. If there is not much change and your vet approves, you can increase the number of olives you feed them.
So, can dogs eat olives? Yes, they can but only in moderation. Feed them a few olives at least twice a week in the beginning. You can increase the quantity as your dog gets more familiar with the fruit but do not make it an everyday thing. Remember to take the olive seed out to prevent choking and damage to teeth.