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Are Olives Bad for Dogs?

Cristina Pascual
By Cristina Pascual, Veterinaria. Updated: January 29, 2024
Are Olives Bad for Dogs?

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Olives have great nutritional value. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, olives do not contain any component that could potentially be toxic for dogs. In fact, both green and black olives can make a great snack or reward in moderation. However, it is important to take into account some considerations before sharing olives with your dog in order to prevent any harmful risks.

In this AnimalWised article, we will elaborate if dogs can eat olives or not by answering the question are olives bad for dogs? We will also go over some safety considerations to take into account before feeding this tasty snack to your dog.

  1. Is it good or bad to feed olives to dogs?
  2. Are pitted olives safe for dogs?
  3. What happens if my dog eats olives?
  4. How to give olives to a dog?

Is it good or bad to feed olives to dogs?

Olives are the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea), a typical tree in countries with a Mediterranean climate. They are fleshy fruits, of variable size, that contain a pit or stone inside. Based on their color, they are classified into green olives (those that are harvested before ripening) and black olives (those that are harvested at full maturity or shortly before).

Olives have great nutritional value, especially black olives due to their longer permanence on the tree. Next, we list the most important features of its nutritional composition:

  • They are fatty fruits: olives have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid). Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid from the omega 9 family that provides numerous health benefits. It helps to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.
  • They are a good source of fiber: which is necessary to regulate intestinal transit and feces consistency thanks to their beneficial intestinal microbiota.
  • They are an important source of vitamin E: which helps protect the cells against oxidative stress. You can find more information in this article about which vitamins are good for your dog.
  • They are rich in calcium: an essential nutrient that contributes to the formation of a good bone structure and the proper functioning of the nervous, muscular and hormonal systems.

At this point, if you are wondering whether either black olives or green olives are bad for dogs, the answer is no. As we have just explained, olives are foods with great nutritional value shouldn't have any component that is toxic to dogs.

Therefore, dogs can eat olives: both black olives and green olives. However, it is important to clarify that improper consumption can cause health problems. In case you decide to give your dog olives, you must make sure they are pitted and that they are not filled with any other ingredient (such as garlic, onion, anchovies, or peppers).

In addition, you should feed olives to dogs in moderation since they provide very high amounts of sodium. Too much salt in a dog's diet can be harmful to them, even leading to kidney failure. Generally, you can give them an olive or two as a treat occasionally, but not routinely.

Are pitted olives safe for dogs?

As we have mentioned, olives are fruits that contain a pit or stone inside. In case you decide to sporadically feed your dog this fruit, you should make sure the olives are pitted.

The internal pit can cause suffocation in dogs. As you probably know, dogs can be very voracious animals and it is likely they will swallow the olive without chewing. In this case, the seed could end up obstructing their airways. If they decide to chew them, the hardness of the pit can cause dental problems or lesions in the oral mucosa. In addition, during digestion, the sharp edges of the olive pits could injure the gastrointestinal mucosa, causing ulcers and inflammatory processes in the digestive system.

Although dogs can eat both black and green olives, it is important to make sure the olives are pitted before offering them to your dog.

If you are thinking of feeding olives to your dog, you might also be interested in the uses and benefits of olive oil for dogs.

What happens if my dog eats olives?

If your dog eats an olive sporadically as a treat, it should not lead to any negative consequences. On the contrary, it is a food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which provide numerous health benefits.

We should pay special attention when administrating olives to dogs with a delicate digestive system that is sensitive to food changes or that suffer from a chronic digestive disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, or intolerances. The intake of olives could cause negative digestive processes such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. If this is the case, we must avoid offering them olives or any other food that is not part of their usual diet.

On the other hand, we must remember that olives are usually preserved in salt brine, which has high sodium content. Normally, the sodium requirements in the diet of a healthy adult dog are low, between 0.12-0.61%. If your dog eats more olives than necessary, their blood sodium levels will rise and there would be a greater urinary excretion of water and sodium in an effort to compensate.

In the event that your dog starts to urinate more than usual, it is important that you provide your dog with enough water to prevent imbalances in their hydro-electrolyte levels. In addition, you should notify a trusted veterinarian, as it may have repercussions on blood pressure, especially in dogs with a heart or kidney medical condition.

Finally, remember that if you decide to offer your dog olives, they must not be stuffed with any ingredient they cannot eat and should be pitted. We have already commented on the risks posed by the pit of olives in dogs: suffocation, dental injuries, gastrointestinal ulcers, etc. It is also important to keep in mind that many of the ingredients with which olives are usually filled be very toxic for dogs. Onion and garlic can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, which leads to hemolytic anemias.

How to give olives to a dog?

In summary, if you are going to offer your dog olives, remember these three key points:

  • Do it only occasionally, often best suited as a reward for training or good behavior.
  • Make sure they don't contain any pits.
  • Make sure they do not have any harmful additives or ingredients.

If you want to know more about what you can and cannot feed your dog, we look at another common question asked by dog guardians in our article on whether dogs can eat peanuts.

If you want to read similar articles to Are Olives Bad for Dogs?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

  • Carrillo, C. (2011). Effect of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid . University of Burgos.
  • Spanish Federation of Nutrition. Olive. Available at: https://www.fen.org.es/MercadoAlimentosFEN/pdfs/aceituna.pdf
  • European Federation of Pet Food Manufacturers. (2017). Nutritional guides for complete and complementary foods for dogs .
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Are Olives Bad for Dogs?