Can Dogs Eat Oils?

Can Dogs Eat Oils And Are They Safe For Dogs?

Can dogs eat oils, and is there any benefit to giving them some? From olive oil to linseed oil, Finn discusses the benefits and drawbacks.

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Our dogs would love to eat what we’re eating, whether it’s a cheeseburger or a candy bar. 

Unfortunately, although they’re not concerned, we are responsible for figuring out what they can and can’t eat. If you’re the culinary type who loves cooking for your family, you’ve likely contemplated doing the same for your pet. 

However, it’s crucial that you know what cooking oils are safe for your dogs to eat before you share a bite of your next meal. 

Can Dogs Eat Olive Oil?

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Olive oil is probably the most common cooking oil that people use. But is olive oil good for dogs? And are there any benefits to feeding it to your pup?

Olive oil is made by grinding whole olives and then extracting the oil using either chemical or mechanical means. The oil can be made with any type of olive, although the type used will impact its flavor. In addition, there is also “extra virgin” olive oil , which does not use any chemicals during processing. 

Good news — olive oil is on the top of the list of cooking oils that are considered safe for dogs to enjoy in moderation. It is not only safe but may even have some benefits for your dog’s skin and coat as well. 

Olive Oil and Fatty Acids

While most people hear the word “fat” and think of something negative, certain fats can benefit dogs. For example, research has shown that olive oil can positively affect a dog’s fatty acid levels. It does this in two ways, positively impacting both high-density lipoprotein and omega fatty acid levels.

What exactly is high-density lipoprotein?  It’s  a protective type of cholesterol that helps keep your dog healthy. HDL counteracts the adverse effects of its polar opposite, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). While LDL increases the risk of developing certain cardiovascular issues, HDL can help lower these risks. 

In addition, the omega acids (omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-9 fatty acids) are excellent for promoting shiny fur, which is what makes them such a popular supplement. Olive oil is rich in those healthy fatty acids, making it beneficial for your pup’s health both inside and out!

Olive Oil and Swelling

Feeding your dog olive oil has a few more benefits than just making your dog’s coat shiny. 

Some evidence has shown that olive oil can also help reduce skin swelling and irritation, which may also help ease allergy-related itching. These benefits are likely related to olive oil’s high antioxidant content, like oleocanthal, which helps fight off free radicals' impact on the system.

To use olive oil to help your dog in this way, you can feed it to them directly (via their food) or apply it directly to their skin, coat, and paw pads. 

Can Dogs Eat Coconut Oil?

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We love coconut oil. You can use it for cooking, for your skin, and even for your teeth! However, that doesn’t mean your dog can access those same benefits. Is coconut oil good for dogs?

Like olive oil, coconut oil for dogs is safe in moderation, and you can use it either topically or orally. Which direction you decide to go depends on which health issues (if any) you are hoping to address. Both applications have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Applying Coconut Oil to Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

In our opinion, one of the best ways to utilize coconut oil for dogs is by applying it directly to their skin and coat. Unlike other products designed to help your dog maintain healthy skin, coconut oil has the added benefit of tasting good and being safe for ingestion. That means you don’t have to worry about your dog accidentally licking any off…and they will. 

Coconut oil works as a leave-in conditioner. It helps fortify your pup’s fur (both single and double-coated), leaving it shinier and less prone to damage.

However, the real star of the show is a fatty acid known as lauric acid, which has a unique chemical composition that makes it far more effective at penetrating the hair shaft. Very few other oils have this claim to fame, which is why coconut oil is a fan favorite of pet owners everywhere. 

Some people even believe that coconut oil can help counteract that typical “dog” smell (you know the one)!

Coconut Oil and Fatty Acids

Unlike olive oil, coconut oil doesn’t contain a high amount of omega fatty acids. While it does have some, it isn’t enough for your dog to access as many of the benefits as other oils can. Coconut oil also isn’t as easily digested and processed, which may render the few fatty acids that get through less helpful. 

Can Dogs Eat Avocado Oil?

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While dogs can eat some parts of avocados, other parts (like the leaves and pit) contain a toxic chemical known as persin. Luckily, avocado oil does not contain that chemical, so it is safe to feed your dog in small amounts. 

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, avocado oil is also rich in vitamin E. Together these components may help reduce swelling and support a healthy body inside and out. However, avocado oil is also higher in fat than other types of cooking oils, so your dog should only get it in very small amounts on an infrequent basis. 

Can Dogs Eat Sesame Oil?

Sesame oil is another option that you can feed your dog in moderation. While it is not as beneficial or nutrient-rich as other oils, it certainly won’t hurt to share a few drops with your dog if you’re cooking with it. 

One vitamin that sesame oil does have plenty of is vitamin E, an antioxidant that may also help combat swelling. While a small amount of sesame oil on occasion won’t make a big difference in your dog’s overall health, it certainly won’t hurt!

Be aware that, unlike other oils, sesame oil tends to have a stronger, more specific flavor that some dogs may not enjoy — especially if they are picky.

Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Oil?

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Sunflower oil is also safe for dogs. The oil comes from compressed sunflower seeds and is high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for your dog’s health, mainly because your furry friend cannot make these acids on their own. 

That means supplementation is key to maintaining good  health and growth of your dog’s skin and coat, immune system, and reproductive system (if your dog has not been spayed or neutered). 

In addition, you can apply a small amount of sunflower oil directly to your dog’s paw pads. This is most helpful in the winter when the dry air and lack of humidity can make their pads cracked and painful. \

The drawback to using sunflower oil for dogs is that omega-6 fatty acids are most beneficial when given alongside omega-3 fatty acids. If given alone, these acids do have the potential to end up worsening existing swelling.

Can Dogs Eat Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is safe for dogs, but it doesn’t have nearly as many beneficial properties as many of the other cooking oils on the list. Mostly, vegetable oil can be helpful for external concerns, as it doesn’t contain the same amount of fatty acids, vitamins, or minerals as the more beneficial oils do.

The primary issue with giving your dog vegetable oil is that it can contain both corn and soybean byproducts. For dogs with allergies, those ingredients are likely to trigger a negative reaction. Avoiding potential allergens is key to helping minimize your dog’s symptoms, so it’s best to stay away from vegetable oil.

Can Dogs Eat Canola Oil?

Like vegetable oil, canola oil is safe but not necessarily beneficial for your dog. Canola oil is much more likely to be highly processed and is often made from genetically modified crops (known as GMOs). If you’re looking for an oil to add to your dog’s diet that can provide them with health benefits, you’re better off choosing many of the other, more beneficial oils out there. 

What About Other Oils?

While they’re not touched on as often, other oils also enter the conversation. Many of these are less common in the kitchen, but we want you to be prepared if you have them lying around and want to give them a shot!

MCT Oil for Dogs

One of the other oils pet owners frequently ask about is MCT oil. If you’re unfamiliar with MCT oil, it stands for medium-chain triglycerides and is usually made from either coconut oil or palm oil. 

The idea behind MCT oil is that these medium-chain triglycerides are molecularly smaller than many of the other fats that we eat. Because of their smaller size, they are also easier to digest, which makes them more immediately available as an energy source. 

MCT oil isn’t nearly as well-studied as most of the other oils on this list, but some vets believe it can help promote healthier digestion and reduce the symptoms of cognitive decline in older dogs. However, further research is needed to back those claims with scientific evidence. 

Ghee Oil for Dogs

Ghee is actually a type of clarified butter that  has many of the same beneficial components as the other traditional oils on our list. Also, like the other oils, ghee can be safely given to your dog in limited amounts..

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Specifically, ghee is full of vitamin A which is crucial for your dog’s immune system. It is also rich in fatty acids and a component known as butyric acid, which can help promote healthy digestion. 

Linseed (Flax Seed) Oil for Dogs

Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, is one of the more interesting options for dogs. For one, it is a particularly beneficial oil for dogs who deal with allergy issues. 

In addition, linseed oil can help dogs with stiff, sore joints by increasing their mobility (similar to how glucosamine works). This benefit comes from the oil's ability to help decrease swelling and irritation internally. Unlike sunflower oil, linseed oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This makes it beneficial without the risk of not having the proper ratio. Many professionals consider linseed oil an excellent alternative to fish oil for dogs dealing with a fish allergy. 

Safflower Oil for Dogs

Using safflower oil for dogs gives you another source of omega-6 fatty acids to add to their diet. Safflower oil contains a large percentage (around 70%) of linoleic acid (similar to sunflower oil), so it can provide many of the same benefits. 

Because of its high linoleic acid content, safflower oil also has the same drawbacks as sunflower oil, so it should be used in combination with a quality source of omega-3 fatty acids. 

What Should I Know About Cooking Oils and My Dog?

Although the cooking oils in this article are safe for your dog to ingest (or use on their skin and coat), that doesn’t mean that you should give them as much as they want. 

While they contain plenty of beneficial properties, they are also full of fat and calories. Like our diets, dogs should avoid overeating fat and too many calories. Overindulgence leads to the same side effects in dogs that it does for us — cardiovascular risk factors (like high cholesterol and high blood pressure) and excess weight gain. 

Keep in mind, dogs who eat too many fatty acids can experience liver issues. It’s important to find a healthy balance and consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplement, especially if your dog is already taking other medications (over-the-counter or prescription).


Too much fat can also trigger a dangerous health condition known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ responsible for producing insulin and helping to digest food (among other functions). Dogs who develop this condition often show symptoms like a loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. When left untreated, it can become fatal. 

If you suspect that your dog has developed pancreatitis, contact your veterinarian as quickly as possible. The outcome is good when caught and treated quickly, although your dog may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two. 

GI Issues

One of the most likely side effects of adding any oil into your dog’s diet is GI upset. Mainly, this will show up as softer stool or even diarrhea, especially when first starting. If this happens to your dog, you may want to give less oil or even stop entirely. In most cases, the GI issues will subside quickly once you remove the oils from their diet. 

How Can I Incorporate Cooking Oils Into My Dog’s Diet?

Cooking oils are excellent when used in moderation. But how can you incorporate them into your dog’s diet?

First and foremost, you’ll want to start slow. Even though you’ll never be giving your dog an excessive amount of any of the oils we’ve discussed, you’ll still want to work up to it. 

Dogs, like humans, can have an allergy to anything. Often, you won’t know about the allergy until you’re in the middle of an allergic reaction. Luckily, most allergic reactions aren’t severe and only lead to itching or hives. However, anaphylaxis is still a possibility. 

At most, you may want to use a tablespoon of any of the oils we’ve discussed a few times a week. You can choose to drizzle the oil over your dog’s dry food or incorporate it into any homecooked foods or snacks that you give them. Often, raw oil is better than subjecting it to higher temperatures, which may remove some of its beneficial properties.

Why Your Dog May Still Need a Supplement

Although it would be wonderful to provide our dog without everything they need from the comfort of our kitchen, that isn’t always realistic. Every oil on this list has its benefits, but there are a few crucial components that they can’t provide. 

Specifically, two types of fatty acids that are vital for your dog’s overall health and wellness — DHA and EPA — can only be found in fish (like salmon). Supplements can help to pick up some of the slack, which is why fish oil and cod liver oil are some of the best-selling supplements on both the human and pet market. 

In addition to helping with mobility, DHA and EPA are excellent at supporting cognitive function and kidney function.

So…Can My Dog Safely Eat Oils?

In most cases, the answer is yes.However, it’s crucial that you make the right choice and consider each oil’s benefits separately. 

If you don’t want to take your chances with oil and instead give your dog a supplement that you can be sure of, Finn has plenty of options. Whether you need something to help calm your dog down, ease their creaky, stiff joints, or promote healthier digestion, we’re here for you. 


Effects of oral sunflower oil and olive oil on serum and cutaneous fatty acid concentrations in dogs | Science Direct 

Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage | PubMed 

Pancreatitis in Dogs and Cats | Merck Vet Manual



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