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Anytime I hear about a new miracle cure for skin ailments in dogs, I automatically think of my first Boxer, Gloria. At one point, she had developed dark spots on her stomach. Being a very concerned new dog parent, I raced to the vet in the middle of the night, only to learn that the spots were the equivalent of freckles, basically. But the experience got me interested in learning more about dog health, and in particular, the health of dogs’ skin.
So when I started to hear that people were giving their dogs different types of oil for skin care, I got curious. Oils like olive, fish, and coconut have become popular things to give to dogs for all sorts of reasons – from shinier coats to less arthritis, these oils have become a miracle cure for a variety of things. I started looking into these for Janice and Leroy and found one very interesting thing about olive oil and its use for skin care. And from there, I’ve learned many other things that olive oil could do for dogs. Here are 11 of my favorite uses for this unique cure.
Before I get into these, though, I just want to say that olive oil, as well as coconut oil, fish oil, and other types of oils, are perfectly safe for dogs. Not all human food is, and owners should always research what could potentially harm their dog.
1. Olive Oil Helps Get Rid of Itchy, Dry Skin
When a dog ingests olive oil, it actually works as a natural moisturizer from the inside out. If your dog suffers from dry, flaky skin due to allergies, fleas, sensitivity to shampoos, or stress or hormonal changes, olive oil has been shown to help. It can give even dull, dry fur look shiny and soft, too. That’s something that I’ve found particularly useful for Leroy and Janice. Boxers can often have dull, bristly coats that aren’t nice to touch. Add that to dry skin, and you’ve got a dog that is very uncomfortable. I’ve been putting olive oil on their food for a few months now, and the changes have been phenomenal.
2. Olive Oil Promotes Healthy Aging
Leroy and Janice are still in their prime, but for older dogs, olive oil can be a great way to help them stay healthy and active through their senior years. Olive oil is full of fatty acids that are good for the brain. They prevent cellular breakdown so that older dogs can stay alert and avoid getting any cloudy thinking. Olive oil also helps to prevent the oxidation of free radical cells, which cause premature aging. So if you want to avoid the early gray hairs around the muzzle, olive oil can help.
3. Olive Oil Can Help Your Dog Lose Weight
Olive oil contains a particular kind of fat called monounsaturated fat, and despite being called a fat, it’s actually a very important component of breaking down what is stored inside fat cells. Regularly ingesting olive oil also helps reduce insulin sensitivity, so there is less chance that your dog could develop diabetes, a condition that plagues overweight dogs. Think of olive oil as a fuel for the metabolism and you’ll be close enough to the scientific truth behind this use for olive oil in dogs.
4. Olive Oil Makes Kibble Taste Better
Is your dog a little picky when it comes to dry kibble? Have you recently switched to a lighter recipe to help your dog lose weight? Adding olive oil to your dog’s food can help them enjoy their food a little more. Just like we enjoy the taste of olive oil in our food, so do dogs. And because they may associate the smell with your own cooking, they’ll think they are getting table scraps! Want to really kick their food up a bit and add more vitamins? Toss on some olive oil, and then add a dash of turmeric and cinnamon. Both are great for a dog’s health and make food tasty!
5. Olive Oil Is a Natural Energy Booster
Olive oil has been shown to help increase blood flow, which in turn makes a dog feel more energetic. With blood flowing freer and easier throughout their bodies, they’ll get more oxygen to the brain, more toxins flushed out of the body, and more nutrients being brought to the muscles. All of this means that your pup will feel like they can take on the world. It has also been shown to reduce the inflammation related to asthma, making olive oil a very good tool for dogs who struggle with breathing, such as Bulldogs.
6. Olive Oil Can Help Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean
Many breeds have a tendency to develop ear infections and irritation in the ear canal. Cleaners with detergents, similar to shampoos, aren’t the best way to soothe ear issues before they start because they can irritate the skin. Additionally, some dogs with ear issues also have skin allergies that makes it impossible to use popular cleaners. Using a natural cleaner with olive oil, similar to the BotaniVet Ear Cleaner, you can help keep your dog’s ears free of debris, ear wax, dirt, and other irritants, without adding to the problem. This is a veterinarian-approved product, that I’ve had checked out by my own vet to be sure.
7. There Are Dozens of Ways to Use Olive Oil for Your Dog
Ingesting olive oil does many things for your dog’s health, but one of my favorite reasons to use it is just because it is so handy. There are dozens of ways to add it to your dog’s eating and grooming routines. You can just drizzle some plain old olive oil on your dog’s food – just grab the same olive oil you’d use for your food. But you can also use things like K-9 Power Show Stopper Dog Coat and Skin Formula, buy food that is made with olive oil like Solid Gold, offer treats that are made with olive oil like Earth Animal’s No-hide Chicken Stix, spray it directly on the coat with something like Aroma Paws’ Dog Coat Spray, use a topical treatment for itchy skin like ResQ Organics Pet Skin Treatment with olive oil, and much more. Olive oil has become such a popular way to give dogs a better life that it’s easy to find in a variety of products.
8. Olive Oil Soothes Hot Paws in the Summertime, as well as Other Summer Ailments
Olive oil can be a huge help in the summer if your dog tends to get tender paws from walking on hot sand or pavement. Massaging a few drops of olive oil into their foot pads can help to heal the cracked areas and soften the paws so that they are more pliable for your next walk – this helps prevent future cracking. Olive oil is also great for a sunburned nose. (Did you know that a dog’s nose is the only body part that can get sunburned?) The best part is that if your dog licks off the olive oil, it won’t hurt them at all.
9. Olive Oil Encourages Healthy Digestion in Dogs
If your dog has recently been constipated or irregular, adding olive oil to their diet can be the magic pill you’ve been looking for. Olive oil is a natural laxative, and also acts as a lubricant for the body. Just a tablespoon of olive oil in one bowl of food can help clear up constipation right away. As you learn how much olive oil to add to your dog’s regular diet, the consistent exposure to this ingredient will help your pup get back on a regular schedule with bowel movements.
10. Olive Oil Boosts a Dog’s Immune System
Olive oil contains a variety of chemical compounds called antioxidants. These include vitamin E, beta carotene, and squalene, all of which are extremely vital for a healthy immune system. With a regular addition of olive oil to your dog’s diet, they can avoid common illnesses, avoid allergic reactions, and fight off infections and other ailments much easier. This is one of the best reasons to add olive oil to your dog’s diet in my opinion. Why spend money on pricey vet bills and stay up all night worrying about your furry friend, when you can just drizzle on a tiny bit of olive oil and help them avoid the problems before they ever arrive? Another important thing to note is that olive oil has been shown to be particularly effective in warding off the compromised immune system that always seems to happen during the seasonal transitions. If your dog tends to get an early spring cold, allergies in the fall, or anything like that, olive oil can help.
11. Ingesting Olive Oil Can Help Prevent Doggie Cancer
It’s true, olive oil has been shown to prevent dog cancer. This is a huge point in olive oil’s favor. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved family pet to a cancer knows just how devastating that parting can be. Olive oil contains certain chemical compounds that are shown to reduce the types of cancers that kill 50% of all dogs over the age of 10! That’s a huge number of dog lives saved just by adding a single ingredient to their diet. In my opinion, this reason is the one that should convince everyone to add olive oil to their dog’s diet.
How to Add Olive Oil to Your Dog’s Diet
Above, I showed you a variety of products that are all designed to add olive oil to a dog’s diet. Each of those come with their own instructions on how to add the product to a dog’s diet. But if you wanted to simply use olive oil from the baking aisle, you’re in luck! It’s so easy that you’ll eventually be doing it on autopilot like me.
For most medium sized dogs, that average between 30 and 40 pounds, just add a teaspoon a day to their food. For a larger dog, say one that is closer to 90 pounds or more, add up to a tablespoon. If your dog is very small, speak to your vet about how much olive oil they should be ingesting. You may also find that you can decrease the amount of olive oil after a time. Once your dog’s bowels regulate, or their skin clears up, or their energy returns, or whatever other result you were looking for happens, you could cut back to just a small amount of olive oil less regularly.
Olive oil has dozens of uses for a dog, and I for one am a big fan. I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that olive oil is a placebo – in fact, I’ve seen exactly the opposite. I’ve personally witness dogs with terrible bald, rough patches of skin that were scratched and raw all the time from allergies, turn into dogs with gorgeous full coats and no more scratching, just from olive oil.
I also know that miracle cures should be taken with a grain of salt, however. I’ve noticed that Janice and Leroy seem to be softer and less prone to shedding, and I would never pass up a chance to give my pets a harmless ingredient that could potentially save them from cancer. For me, these benefits are more than enough proof that olive oil for dogs really does work.
Give it a shot yourself and see what you think. Remember to talk to your vet about the right dosage amount for a smaller dog, or look into a powder product or food made with olive oil. At the end of the day, adding olive oil to your dog’s food won’t cause them any harm, and could potentially make their life much longer and healthier. To me, there’s no question about the use of this ingredient in a dog’s diet or grooming products.