Olive Oil for Dogs…………………………………..
Authoritative information by a veterinarian on the topic of “olive oil for dogs.” Included are health benefits and the pros and cons of use including Olive oil benefits for dogs, correct dosage, effects on dogs coat or hair. Olive oil for dog’s joints, dry skin, ears, paws, mites, itching, and shedding. This is your resource for everything olive oil for dogs.
For years, the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, and especially of olive oil, have been touted as a cure-all for heart disease and diabetes. Olive oils are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, which have well-established cardiac benefits when integrated into a healthy human diet. Olive oil contains oleic acid, which has been shown to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Olive oil also shows a propensity to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure in human subjects. Many of these same benefits apply to dogs, when olive oil is incorporated into their diet by, for example, moistening dry kibble to supplement their nutrition.
I. Effects of olive oil on Overall Dog Health
When consumed directly, olive oil shows several immediate effects on a dog’s digestion. Not only does olive oil enhance the flavor of commercial dog food, but when compared with sunflower oil in a 1991 study, it increased the digestability of dog food. Applied to dog food will aid in relieving constipation, and may cause a noticeable change in the consistency of dogs’ stool. This may be especially useful for dogs who strain while defecating.
The addition of olive oil may also increase energy consumption, and help with weight control in obese and overweight dogs by stimulating their metabolism. Olive oil encourages the body to break down existing fat cells and utilize the calories from stored body fat, which may increase weight loss. Conversely, olive oil is useful in dogs that refuse food or don’t eat enough, because it makes dog food taste better and smell more appealing. In fact, olive oil is a main ingredient in several commercially available “flavor enhancers” for dry dog food, but the oil alone is a much more affordable (and effective) supplement.
Preliminary studies indicate that olive oil may have potent anti-cancer benefits. This is especially important in dogs, because cancer is a leading cause of death in canines, killing almost fifty percent of dogs over age ten. This is thought to be partially due to olive oil’s containing terpenoids and squalene, compounds which may prevent the deterioration of DNA and RNA, and stop the formation of cancer cells.
Because olive oil helps stimulate the dog metabolism, it helps to reduce body weight and, therefore, reduces pressure on a dog’s joints. Many dogs develop arthritis as they age, and in addition to expensive supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine, olive oil has direct benefits in this condition. As an anti-inflammatory, regular doses of olive oil in the dog’s diet may help reduce the amount of pain and stiffness that an aging dog feels, and the omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil can aid in joint lubrication as well. Olive oil is an economical choice compared to fish oil or cod liver oil, and it does not require the messy process of breaking open vitamin capsules to access the healthy oils within.
III. Skin and Coat Benefits
Olive oil has established benefits for skin and hair, and has been used to restore shine and minimize dryness since ancient Egypt. Many dogs suffer from dry, flaky skin, especially during the winter months when the air contains less humidity. This type of skin irritation may present as increased itching or flaking of skin while being brushed or petted. Adding olive oil to the dog’s diet even just a few times a week can restore a thick, shiny coat and minimize skin irritation. If the dry skin persists, it’s always advisable to seek help from a veterinarian, as this can be a sign of thyroid disease or autoimmune problems.
Shedding may be reduced by the addition of olive oil to a dog’s diet. This is only true insofar as excessive shedding is caused by skin dryness and irritation. Olive oil may be beneficial, but it will not cause all shedding to stop, as some shedding is natural, especially in summer when dogs’ coats thin out to keep them cool. Nevertheless, the benefits for dogs with dry skin and excessive shedding are undeniable.
Olive oil can also be applied topically to affected areas. Olive oil can be diluted with water and massaged into the dog’s skin, or added to your pet’s shampoo to reduce the dry skin that can result from over-bathing. In summer, when pavement heats up in the sun, dog’s paws can burn or become dry and cracked from walking on hot surfaces. In these cases, olive oil can be massaged into the pads of the dog’s feet, helping to heal irritation and reduce paw licking or biting due to discomfort.
Olive oil may also be beneficial for weather-proofing the dog’s paws in the winter, where the protective layer of fat helps to prevent frostbite and chemical burns from de-icing chemicals. Because dogs will often lick their feet, using olive oil is an excellent alternative to commercially sold paw balms and protectants, and should provide much of the same benefit.
IV. Olive oil for dogs Ear Cleaning and Mite Elimination
Ear infections are common in dogs, especially in certain breeds (like Cocker Spaniels) or dogs that swim regularly, creating a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow. Signs of an ear infection can include head shaking or rubbing ears against furniture.
A more obvious signal is a foul odor coming from a dog’s ear. Olive oil is an excellent home remedy for most dog ear problems. To clean a dog’s ear, a few droplets of olive oil on a cotton ball will remove built-up gunk and grime. In infected ears, allowing a drop or two of oil to run down the ear canal, wiping away any excessive oil, will gradually help the dog’s ear to heal. Olive oil also helps eradicate ear mites in dogs and cats.
Conventional treatment with insecticides may work more quickly, within a week, but insecticides like pyrethrin can be harmful if ingested (such as while grooming). Applying olive oil to the dog’s ear will kill ear mites starting immediately, but most veterinarians recommend olive oil treatment for four to six weeks to ensure that all the mites are killed. To increase efficacy, garlic or peppermint oil can be added to the olive oil treatment, as ear mites display aversion to those strong flavors.
V. Olive oil Dosage and Application
The recommended dose for olive oil added to dogs’ food is one half teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, up to twice per day. Larger dogs may be able to tolerate more olive oil in their food than smaller dogs and puppies. It’s recommended to start with a smaller amount and increase as needed to see skin and other health benefits. Caution is advised, because too much oil added to a dogs’ diet can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Olive oil should be mixed thoroughly into the dogs’ kibble so that it is evenly distributed.
Olive oil is a healthful supplement to a dog’s regular nutrition, and it has relatively few risks aside from potential diarrhea in overdose. Because olive oil is more accessible and affordable than other products, like fish oil, it should be the first line treatment for a variety of maladies. The benefits to dogs’ cardiovascular and digestive health make olive oil for dogs a wonderful addition to any dog’s diet.