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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat olives?

Yes, if they're pitted and plain. But don’t overdo it — they’re high in fat and salt.

Imagine this: You’re relaxing at home, about to watch some TV, and you set out a dish of plain, pitted olives to snack on. It seems like the perfect setup, right? But, in comes your dog, and before you can think twice, they scarf down the olives you just set out. Now you’re left thinking, “Oh no! Is that OK? Do I need to rush my dog to the vet?”

Luckily, the answer is no. Your dog is probably fine and thoroughly enjoyed the salty little snack at your expense. That said, there are some caveats you should consider before making your olive dish a communal snack bowl for you and your pup. 

Even though olives are generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.

Are olives good for dogs?

Have you heard the phrase, “all things in moderation?” Well, that applies to olives and your dog. “Olives are considered safe for dogs to eat,” Dr. Aziza Glass, DVM, and owner of Houston-based mobile vet practice, Personal Touch Veterinary Clinic, says. “But like many other foods, there is a limit to how safe they can be.”

On the positive side, olives benefit your dog in the same way they’re good for you. “Olives contain healthy fats and proteins, as well as other nutrients like potassium, zinc and vitamin A,” Dr. Glass explains. 

But if you give your dog too many? There may be adverse side effects. “While olives won’t bring immediate harm to your dog, too many can cause digestive issues, like pancreatitis. Olives are high in salt and fat — they shouldn’t be used as a staple food.”

How to serve your dog olives

So if you drop an olive on the ground and your dog gobbles it up, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, tossing him a few olives is a great way to give him a quick snack now and then. But Dr. Glass has a few pointers on how to do it correctly. 

“Make sure you remove the pit. Although olive pits are not toxic to dogs, they can be a choking hazard or can later form an intestinal blockage.” And as far as serving size? Keep it small. “A handful or ¼ cup should be fine as long as it doesn’t become a meal substitute,” Dr. Glass shares.

RELATED: Safe barkuterie boards for dogs

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Keep an eye on the fillings

One thing to be highly conscious of is that while olives themselves are OK for your dog, the things they come stuffed with (like onions or garlic) might not be safe for them to consume. For this reason, Dr. Glass shares a warning when treating your dog to olives. 

“Make sure to stay away from the flavored or stuffed varieties because they typically are pickled with ingredients, like onions, that are toxic to dogs. Instead, plain, pitted olives are best.”

Happy snacking

We're confident that olives aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series "Can dogs eat … ?" to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what's fair game.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

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