Olive oil is commonly used for cooking and making salad dressings. But some people even use it a natural home remedy to reduce shedding in dogs.
Does it work?
Yes, olive oil can reduce excessive dog shedding. Because it’s a healthy fat that contains Omega-3 and Omega-6, which help moisturize and nourish your dog’s skin and coat from the inside out. Leading to stronger hair follicles and less shedding as a result.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how it works, the best type of olive oil to use and how to safely use it to reduce unwanted hair loss in your furry friend.
How Olive Oil Reduces Shedding
Most dogs shed hair to some extent. Even dogs that shed lots of hair can even be considered “normal” shedders. But when it comes to excessive shedding, beyond what is normal within a given dog breed, one of the leading causes is dry, irritated skin.
Because if your dog has dry, irritated skin, the hair follicles will become weaker, which causes hairs to fall out at a faster rate.
Not to mention, dogs scratch itchy skin, just like us humans do. Which can further increase the amount of dead hair that your dog loses as your dog tries to relieve the itching.
And this is where home remedies like olive oil (and even coconut oil) can improve your dog’s skin and coat, if used correctly. Because they moisturize your dog’s skin and coat from the inside out.
At the same time, olive oil nourishes your dog’s coat, given that it’s made up of monounsaturated fat (AKA “healthy fat“), Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamins E and K. All of which is great for your dog’s coat and overall health and well being.
So olive oil works by moisturizing and nourishing your dog’s skin and coat from the inside. And as a result, it can minimize shedding caused by dryness and irritation.
How do you know if your dog’s skin is dry?
The obvious signs are scratching and itching. However, sometimes dry skin is not bad enough to be particularly noticeable, but may be enough to cause excessive shedding.
This is especially true if you use regular human shampoo to bath your dog. Or if you use a good quality dog shampoo, but bath her too often. Both of these can strip the natural oils from her coat and cause dryness.
So dry skin is more common than you might think. Which means olive oil could be the solution, or at the very least, worth a try.
What Sort of Olive Oil Should You Use?
There are three main types of olive oil; regular, virgin and extra-virgin.
What’s the difference?
Well, all olive oils come from the fruit of the olive tree. The difference really comes down to the process used to manufacture it.
Extra virgin olive oils are unrefined, meaning they are not altered by heat or chemicals as is the case with regular olive oil. And as a result, it retains more of the natural vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog.
This is why I personally like to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic. Because the potential benefits outweigh the extra cost in my book.
The downside with extra virgin olive oil is that there’s a stronger taste, because it’s closer to eating an actual olive. I personally like it, but you may need to get a little crafty if your dog is a fussy eater.
How To Use Olive Oil to Safely Reduce Shedding
There’s basically two ways you can use olive oil to effectively reduce shedding- either directly on her coat (topically) or by feeding it to her (orally).
Pouring a whole heap of olive oil on your dog’s coat and massaging it in can work to some extent. But it’s going to be pretty messy and all things considered, it’s probably a bit of a waste of money. The next method is better all things considered.
Slipping some olive oil into your dog’s food is much more effective. This method allows your dog to absorb all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals within the olive oil. Which is just a lot more beneficial. Not only for shedding but also for your dog as a whole.
Most dogs won’t want to consume this on its own though, so it’s generally best to slip some into her food of a day.
How much should you use?
As a general rule, one teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight, once per day, is a good gauge. Some experts suggest 5-10 drops twice per day.
Either way, going too far over this is probably not a good idea and won’t “boost” the benefits. A consistent and sensible dose is key.
Is It Safe to Use?
Yes, it is safe for your dog to consume olive oil.
However, you should avoid giving it to puppies and avoid over feeding your dog olive oil, because too much fat can cause an upset stomach.
It’s also worth noting that some dogs have allergies to olive oil. It’s very rare, but it does happen. The tell tale signs include an upset tummy and irritated skin. This is why it pays to keep the dose low (especially at first) and keep a close eye on your dog during the first week or so.
And of course, if you have any concerns, it would be wise to stop using it immediately and contact your local veterinarian.
Other Potential Benefits
Aside from helping your dog’s skin and coat, olive oil a healthy, natural supplement that can potentially benefit your dog in other ways.
For example, according to drmartypets.com, olive oil can improve your dog’s immune system, through an antioxidant called carotenoid. And protect against free radical damage in your dog’s cell membranes, which can reduce cognitive decline, thanks to the high vitamin E content in olive oil.
Some even say that it can even help your dog maintain a healthy body weight. Thanks to the monounsaturated fats within the olive oil, which can help to lower cholesterol and break down fat inside fat cells.
I think these are some pretty cool “extra” benefits beyond just helping to reduce shedding. Which make it an all round healthy choice in my books.
Giving your dog a teaspoon of olive oil is a simple, cost effective way to reduce excessive shedding in dogs. Because it nourishes and moiturizes her skin and hair.
And to top it off, there’s some pretty cool benefits to using virgin olive oil in general. Which makes it a healthy, natural remedy you can feel good about using, in the war against shedding.
Of course, this alone isn’t enough to rid your home of all that unwanted hair. It’s also worth using a good quality deshedding brush on a regular basis, to keep the hair at bay. Doing so not only removes loose hair, but also helps to evenly spread the natural oils on your dog’s coat.
Also, if you want to learn more, we put together this guide to reducing shedding that you may find helpful. We explain how things like diet, exercise, grooming and other important factors play a part in minimising hair loss in your dog.