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More times than you realize, pet owners are guilty of feeding their pets, mostly dogs, scraps from their plates. The bright side is no one can blame you, they’re hard to resist. Even so, it’s important to be sure that whatever you’re feeding your pet is not harmful to their body. We have the question “Can dogs eat olives?” and we would be addressing that in this article.
Olives are known for their versatility in the kitchen. Cuisines from various parts of the world have been known to use olives in different ways. They can also be paired with different wines and cheeses and are very rich in antioxidants like protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.
Most dog owners already sprinkle a bit of olive oil over their pet’s food as olive oil has been proven to contain nutrients that are beneficial to dogs. The question most are unsure of is if the whole olive fruit is as safe for dogs as the oil and even though olives can be fed to dogs occasionally, there are a few residual effects that dog owners should know about before feeding them to dogs.
What are the benefits of Olives?
Undisputedly, Olives have a lot of benefits for both humans and dogs. For example, they have a very high calcium content which is especially important in dogs that are lactose intolerant and cannot easily digest milk or other dairy products which are usually the first choice as sources of calcium. Olives can then act as a secondary calcium source.
Just as calcium helps humans support healthy teeth and bones, it is also essential for the bones of dogs. Similarly, it helps their blood clot properly and helps their muscles function well.
Olives also contain a lot of vitamins. Vitamin A for example improves vision and strengthens the immune system whilst Vitamin E slows down aging and aids in combating the risk of degeneration of the eyes and muscles. Vitamin K which aids proper blood clotting is also found in olives.
Not all fats are bad for dogs. Oleate, a good kind of fat that serves to strengthen the heart and reduce the risk of cancer, is found in olives.
There are even more important benefits of Olives for dogs:
- Loss of excessive weight
- Reducing the risk of cancer
- Glossy skin and coat
- Better circulation
- Drop in levels of cholesterol
- Provide air to immune system
- Better digestion
There is also a kind of monosaturated fat present in olives that prevents the kind of arthritis that results as a result of old age in dogs.
Breeds of white dog like the Chihuahua who are susceptible to bad dry skin, especially in their ears, also benefit from olives.
Furthermore, it has been proven that olives make insulin sensitivity better and the resulting effect of this is that dogs are protected against dog diabetes.
Can Dogs eat olives?
Moderation is advised if you must feed your dog olives. We already know that olives are rich in many nutrients and vitamins that are vital for human and canine health. Still, dogs who already consume a balanced diet might not need the extra nutrients. That said, olives that are plain and do not contain salt can serve as healthy snack choice for your dog.
There are many healthy fats and proteins in olives that can also be a source of unnecessary calories in your dog’s diet if olives are eaten in excess. Nothing bad is likely to happen to your dog if you only feed them an olive once in a while.
Even though, olives do not have toxic ingredients, their pits are a source of danger. They can cause choking or obstruct their airways. They can also get stuck in the intestinal tract.
Olives that have been canned or pickled contain excess amounts of sodium. As in humans, excess amounts of sodium in a dog’s body causes dehydration and increases toxin levels.
Olives covered with garlic, extra seasonings and oils are high risk. Mediterranean meals contain most of these ingredients and you should resist the temptation to share them with your dog. Garlic is toxic to dogs as are the ingredients found in many artificial seasonings. You should also never feed your dog olives that have been dipped in alcohol. Alcohol is dangerous to dogs.
Should your dog accidentally eat an inordinately large amount of olives, you are advised to inform your veterinarian as eating olives excessively could be dangerous.
How to safely give your Dog olives
You might be a bit confused about the right way to feed olives to your dog without causing harm to them. The first thing to know is that your dog can consume either green or black olives. The main difference between them is that green olives are removed from their tree before getting ripe and black olives are usually left to ripen on the tree before they are plucked.
These precautions should then be observed:
- As much as possible, avoid olives that have been packaged in brine because they increase sodium content of your dog’s body. Natural olives are healthier for your dog.
- Olives which have been prepared with extra ingredients like cheese, garlic or even pepper could prove toxic to dogs, even if consumed in small amounts.
- Reduce the risk of choking and teeth damage by removing the pits and seeds of olives before feeding them to your dog.
- You should never let your dog eat olives that have gone beyond their best-before date especially if the olives contain mold. Olives with mold might have tremorgenic toxins that could make dogs ill and develop symptoms like fever and vomiting or cause seizures.
If you have never fed your dog olives before, you should give them only a small piece at first and observe them for the next 24 hours to see if they develop any bad side effects.
Can Olives be Dangerous for dogs?
Olives contain seeds that are a high risk choking hazard for dogs. These pits could block their airways and make them panic.
People who have accidentally bitten into an olive are aware of how hard they are and this hardness is enough to crack teeth. Your dog is also in danger of cracking their teeth if you aren’t careful.
Olives that have been packaged in brine have a high sodium content (about 60 milligrams per olive), that could prove toxic for your dog. Ordinarily, your dog should not get more than 0.25-1.5 grams of sodium per 100 grams of food. Feeding your dog these kinds of olives can greatly increase their body sodium levels.
This is unhealthy and may lead to sodium poisoning. Possible side effects of sodium poisoning are; tremors, lethargy, appetite loss, diarrhoea, intense thirst, vomiting and excessive urine.
Can dogs eat black or green olives?
The major difference between black and green olives is that the green olives are yet to ripen fully as they are usually removed from the tree before they get ripe while the black variety are left on the tree to ripen.
Both varieties carry the same health benefits and health hazards for your dog so the same precautions should be observed before feeding them to your dog.
The important question to focus on should then be; how many olives can you feed your dog?
In all things, moderation is advised. If you want to start your dog on olives, you should start slowly so you can watch for any resulting side effects. After giving your dog an olive or two for the first time, watch them closely for about 24 hours to see if they develop any unusual bowel movements. If there are none, you should still proceed with caution. Two olives a week should do.
So, to answer the question, yes. Dogs can definitely eat olives but it should always be in small quantities. You should also carefully check for the active ingredients in packaged olives before feeding them to your dog. A lot of these ingredients are not as good for dogs as they are for humans and could prove very toxic. Ingredients like garlic should be avoided completely.
Canned or janned olives which are high in sodium should also be discouraged. When you do feed your dog olives, they should be carefully pitted to prevent choking. At the end of the day, olives are not the only snack choice, there are various other healthy snacks with less risk that will prove enjoyable to your dog.