Animal Awareness

Are olives bad for dogs?

Olives are undeniably good for us, but what about our dogs?  Do they gain the same benefits by eating black olives as humans? Are black olives good for dogs? Can dogs eat black olives and, if so, what are the pros and cons?

If your main concern is “my dog just ate an olive, or many olives and I’m concerned”, the short and quick response you’re probably looking for is that your dog will most likely be fine.  A few questions to take into consideration:

  • How many olives did your dog eat?
  • Were they canned or pickled and therefore high in sodium?
  • Were they pitted? Is there a chance your dog ate a lot of pits?
  • Were they stuffed with anything?
  • Were these olives, perhaps, on a slice of pizza with a lot of other ingredients?
  • Were they garlic stuffed or perhaps soaking in garlic? If so, this can be serious as garlic as been shown to be dangerous to dogs because of how they metabolize items that come from the “allium” family.  How much garlic it takes to be dangerous to dogs depends heavily on the size of your dog.  Typically it takes a lot of garlic to make a dog sick, far more than you would find in stuffed olives, but why take a chance?  Long story short, if there was a lot of garlic involved, call your vet.
  • Was it actually a slice of pizza or perhaps olive tapenade and therefore more than just olives?

Barring something odd, such as Fido ate a whole bowl of non-pitted, jalapeno stuffed pickled olives, he’s probably going to be just fine.  Watch him for unusual behavior.  Call your vet, of course, to be sure but if it was a single olive, or perhaps one or two, there’s no reason your dog wouldn’t be completely fine.

A major consideration here isn’t so much “did he eat an olive, or 5” but “did he eat an olive pit, or 5″.  The olive pits are seeds and will normally be passed through the digestive tract without harm but too many can result in blockage and this is a case for extreme care (and an immediate call to your vet).  Also, olive pits are exceptionally tough can can chip your dog’s teeth.  If your dog actually chews up the pits rather than swallowing them, they can release toxins into your dogs system.  If there is any chance of your dog eating a lot of pits, call your vet.

That’s the short and sweet answer. For more information, please read below.

What is an olive?

Let’s take a look first at “the olive” to see what it actually is.

First, the olive is a fruit, not a veggie and as has a seed that is called the pit.  Think of cherries or apricots.  Same concept.  They grow on trees and have pits. A primary difference is that cherries and apricots are sweet whereas olives are painfully bitter when freshly picked.  Olives aren’t ready for consumption until after they are processed.  The difference between black, green, and purple olives (really, any color) is when they are picked.  Green olives are picked early in the season so are less ripe while black olives are picked later in the season.  All are picked from the same trees.  So, trivia answer for you there, there are no green or black olive trees.  They all come from the same tree.

Now we know what an olive is, lets take a look at a couple of aspects.  First, are they good for dogs?  Then, are they bad for them?  Then, should you feed your dog black olives?

Can dogs eat olives_ Roxie wants to know

Are black olives good for dogs?

Yes, absolutely, but with caveats.  Primary among them is how many your dog eats.  If one or two, there’s only good that will come of it.  If more than that, your dog may experience tummy problems and end up with diarrhea, which is bad, of course.  So in moderation, they are fine.  Some dogs will tolerate them better than others.  Some may get sick after eating only a single one so best to start small and just test it out.

Olives are naturally high in vitamins K, E, and A which are just as good for dogs as they are for us so again, in moderation, olives are good for your dogs.

Are black olives bad for dogs?

No, not if they are the right black olives.  However, feeding your dog black olives that are heavily processed and perhaps stuffed with a filling such as cheese, garlic, or jalapeno will affect this.

Pickled or canned olives are usually high in sodium so care should be taken here.  Keep in mind that an amount of sodium that doesn’t bother you at all may have a much more intense effect on your dog.  Excessive sodium will dehydrate your dog and, of course, this isn’t what you want.

Should I feed my dog black olives?

Although they are packed with nutrients and in moderation will cause no harm, there’s really no reason to feed them to dogs.  You can find a lot of well made dog snacks that serves just fine and save those tasty olives for yourself.

If you do want to share one or two, no problem.  Make sure there is no pit and rinse the olive to remove any brine or salt. Then, enjoy an olive or two with your four legged friend!

My dog just ate a slice of pizza with olives on it – what do I do?

I feel like this is the more likely underlying question.  Your dog accidentally ate some olives and you want to know what to do.  Well, if it was a slice of pizza, what else was on it? If it was a bowl of olives that you had sitting out, were they pitted?  Were they processed and so potentially high in sodium and other additives?  How is your dog behaving right now? Is he drooling? Is he acting funny?  All things being equal, your dog is probably going to be fine. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a dog eating an olive.  It’s all those other considerations to take into account (how many, processed or not, high is sodium, pits, were the olives stuffed with something, etc).

Can dogs eat olives - Rusty is curious

Final thoughts

We often hear “can dogs eat [fill in the blank]” so are working on a series of articles to discuss these topics. We’re working on a string of topics around “can dogs eat…”.  Please see our articles here:

Lastly, as I re-read this article, I realize I focused entirely on black olives.  There is no real difference between a dog eating black olive or a green olive.  The results, concerns, and considerations will be the same as wondering if can dogs eat black olives.

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