Olive oil is a very nutritious and healthy aliment that can be beneficial when included in a dog’s diet. It can also be used externally, having beneficial effects on dog skin and fur. It is also useful for helping constipated dogs.
The most salient feature of olive oil is its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) and antioxidants which are capable of nourishing the body’s cells. These provide vitamin E, omega 3 and healthy fats. Consumption of olive oil in moderation also boosts levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, to the detriment of ‘bad’ cholesterol, and is good for the joints and muscles. What’s more, it is useful for taking care of old dogs that may suffer from ailments such as hip and knee dysplasia, arthritis and arthrosis.
The right dose of olive oil for your dog will depend on its size. Here is a simple guide:
- Small dogs (< 10kg) – ½ a teaspoonful per day.
- Medium-sized dogs (11-30kg) – 1 teaspoonful per day.
- Large dogs (>30kg) - 1 ½ teaspoonfuls per day.
Olive oil can be mixed with dry, home-prepared or canned dog food. It can also be spread on toasted rice bread, or on another food that contains cereals that are good for dogs. Don’t forget that you should not exceed the stated dose for the size of your dog, or else you are likely to give it diarrhoea. In the first few days you will observe that your dog’s intestinal transit improves. After a few weeks of olive oil intake, you will notice that your dog’s coat will start to look better. Its fur will be shinier and will have a silkier feel.
Olive oil is an excellent skin regenerator for areas of dry skin on dogs as well as humans. Its antioxidant effect nourishes the cells and invigorates the epidermis. It is also perfect for looking after your dog’s paw pads if they are cracked or rough. A good way of repairing them is to rub a little olive oil over the affected area with your fingers once a day for approximately a week. What’s more, if your dog is affected by mange, applying olive oil to the appropriate zone will help to discourage mites nests as well as hydrating the dry skin caused by the infection.
Before incorporating olive oil in your dog’s regular diet, it is always best to check with a specialist in animal nutrition to find out the best way of doing it.