Can Dogs Eat Olives?
Once you bring your pup into your home, they instantly become part of the family. There for every bedtime snuggle, a backyard game of fetch, and even sitting eagerly in the kitchen as you whip up dinner. Though giving your doggo a nibble of everything you're eating may be tempting, it's important to think twice before handing over scraps.
Some "human food" treats are safe for pups, but there are many edible items that could be problematic. If you've wondered if dogs can eat olives, we chatted with a veterinarian about this small, tangy, salty fruit to see if your pup can have a bite, too.
Are Olives Safe for Dogs?
Here's the deal: while some foods you have in your fridge or pantry aren't exactly toxic to your four-legged buddy, that doesn't mean you should give them these items at random. A great example of this is an olive. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, the chief veterinarian at Petco, says if your dog happens to eat a runaway olive that is plain, unsalted, and pitted, they will likely be fine. And, generally speaking, feeding these types of olives to your dog in moderation isn't necessarily considered dangerous if your pup is otherwise in good health.
"While olives have a number of vitamins, nutrients, fatty acids, and antioxidants, I do not recommend making olives a regular part of your dog's diet," Miller continues. "Though they can be a tasty, healthy treat, there are quite a few risks with olives that are better to avoid altogether. If you decide to incorporate olives into your dog's treat rotation, clear it with your veterinarian ahead of time."
Are Olives Good or Bad For Dogs?
According to Miller, there are a few risks associated with olives and canines. The biggies include the pit, which can cause damage to their teeth and are a choking hazard. Olives are often stuffed with things like cheese and usually stored in olive oil, leading to a significant upset stomach for your pup. Some are even stuffed or packaged with onions and garlic, which are both toxic to dogs.
Olives are also brined, meaning they contain an excessive amount of salt and can lead to salt toxicity in dogs. "Symptoms of salt toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, headache, seizures, shaking, and rapid heartbeat," she explains. If your dog ingests something concerning or has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian."
What Types of Olives Can Dogs Eat?
While your dog shouldn't have olives very often—or at all—some varieties are worse than others. Here, Miller shares the least offensive to the riskiest of olive varieties:
Kalamata, Green, and Black Olives
As long as these olives are pitted, plain, and unsalted, dogs can eat them in moderation. However, Miller cautions against making these a staple of your dog's diet.
Miller says never to feed your dog marinated olives. "Marinated olives contain salt, oils, and seasonings that are harmful to your dog," she explains.
Though plain, unseasoned olive oil is not technically considered harmful for healthy dogs, you should always try to avoid giving your pup oils, butter, and seasoning unless recommended by your veterinarian, Miller says. "Olive oil can have serious consequences for dogs who suffer from health issues like inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis, and it can also lead to unhealthy weight gain," she adds.
Olives Stuffed With:
- Blue cheese: "The fungus used to make blue cheese can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in dogs. If your pup eats any blue cheese, call your vet immediately," Miller says.
- Pimentos: Pimentos are safe for dogs to eat in moderation if they are inside an olive that is plain and unsalted.
- Goat or feta cheese: While goat and feta cheese are not inherently toxic to dogs, Miller recommends avoiding them both due to their higher sodium and fat content. "Also, some dogs are lactose intolerant, so this is another reason to avoid giving your pup cheese," she adds.
- Chilis or hot peppers: "Dogs should avoid eating all types of spicy peppers. Ingesting a hot pepper can result in diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, and dehydration," Miller says. "If you notice any of these symptoms, you should call your vet immediately."
- Almonds: According to Miller, most almonds solid in the U.S. are processed, so they are not toxic to dogs when consumed in minimal quantities. However, unprocessed almonds do contain toxins that can be dangerous for dogs—even if they only eat a few! It's best to avoid them for these reasons.
- Garlic: This is toxic to a pup! While it is unlikely to be lethal in small doses, garlic can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and destroy red blood cells, which can cause anemia, Miller notes.
What Should You Give Your Dog Instead of Olives?
While some olives are okay to share with your dog, there are other fruits and veggies that are a better choice as a snack. Miller recommends the following goodies for their antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins:
And remember, with any treat—from those explicitly formulated for dogs to fresh fruit and veggies—moderation is essential. "Treats, toppers, and food mix-ins should account for less than 10 percent of your pup's diet to avoid any nutritional imbalances," Miller says.