Olive Oil for Dry Skin on Dogs
My dog has seasonal dry skin and I can’t get them to take fish oil. A friend of mine suggested giving her olive oil, do you know if this works and how much I should give her? She is a 60 pound mixed breed, I’m not sure if the breed matters?
– Phillip in Iowa
If you can’t use fish oil to help alleviate your dog dry skin olive oil is a good alternative. But it’s important to understand that it works differently than fish oil and it is best to use it in combination with other methods. Olive oil contains much higher concentrations of Omega-9 fatty acids and much lower amounts of Omega-3s than what is found in fish oil. To get a decent supply of Omega-3s you would have to give your dog much more olive oil than fish oil, which often has unexpected consequences.
I would limit her intake to 1 tbsp. per day maximum. Over that amount can lead to digestive issues which won’t help either of you. The little extra Omega-3s she will get from the olive oil will have a positive impact on her coat, and the Omega-9s will help displace some of the Omega-6s in her diet. This is good, as it’s the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 that has the most impact on her coat. The fat in olive oil is also good for her in other ways and it’s a powerful antioxidant so don’t hesitate to start her on an olive oil regiment.
I would consider also adding Flax Seed Oil to her diet if she can’t tolerate fish oil. Flaxseed oil is high in Omega-3s and is the best vegetable source available to our pets. Flax Seed Oil contains ALA Omega-3s which is different than fish oil which contains DHA and EPA. ALA has been shown to have all of the same positive impacts on dog’s skin and coats as DHA and EPA but it hasn’t been shown to have all of the same benefits such as neurological and cardiovascular health.
I wanted to mention, since you talked about giving her olive oil I assumed you meant on her food. But you can also use olive oil topically to help improve her skin and coat. Olive oil has been used for a long time in moisturizers and skin treatment products and it’s been shown to have a significant impact on hair and skin health. To apply topically you just rub it into her skin and coat. Use it minimally, you don’t need much to have a big impact and work it down into her skin. The only drawback of this is that it can be messy and can stain fabrics. So I would only do this when her skin really needs the extra help.
I’ve ready that you can dilute olive oil in water, but I’ve always used it full strength. Diluting doesn’t make much sense to me since water and oil wouldn’t mix, instead you would have oil which is suspended in the water and that would lead to uneven application.