Using Olive Oil for Dry Skin on Dogs: Multiple Ways & Safe Practices

Does your dog have dry skin? Do you want to make his skin shine a bit more and also get rid of the itching? There are a few remedies you can try, but not many of them are as affordable as using olive oil.

Using olive oil to treat dry skin on dogs is a straightforward process that will deliver results in two to three weeks. However, the remedy may not yield results if the dry skin is a symptom of any underlying conditions. The olive oil can be used as a topical treatment or added to the dog’s diet.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how you can use this remedy to get your dog’s skin looking healthy again. You’ll also find information on side effects, dosages, and more.

What Are the Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs?

Dry skin in dogs is fairly common in dogs, especially in wintery conditions, when there’s very little atmospheric humidity. However, low humidity is just one example of possible causes of dry skin in dogs.

Before you set out to find a remedy that can fix your dog’s dry skin, you need first to figure out possible causes. To do this, you’ll most likely need a trip to the vet. If the dog shows other signs of sickness, it’s often easy for you to know that something is wrong.

In many cases, however, you won’t see any visible signs of underlying conditions, and there are quite a few of them that can cause dry skin in dogs.

Vets typically take samples of the dog’s skin for a proper diagnosis. Some of the most common diagnoses they make include hormonal changes, sensitivity to certain grooming products, ringworm, flea infestation, food or seasonal allergies, and a wide range of other skin infections.

With examination from a vet, you can rule out medical conditions and then look for the most effective remedies to tackle the problem. There are a few of them, but we’re focusing on olive oil here.

Why Does Olive Oil Work as a Reliever for Dry Skin in Dogs?

Olive oil is filled with nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin K and a high number of antioxidants. It also has humectant properties, which ensures the skin can better retain moisture. The interaction between these nutrients and a long list of compounds helps olive oil to fight dry skin in dogs.

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Some people have reported seeing the positive effects of using olive oil on their dog’s skin within a couple of weeks in cases where the dryness wasn’t a medical problem.

How to Use Olive Oil as a Remedy for Dry Skin in Dogs

You can use olive oil as a remedy for your dog’s dry skin in two ways: applying it topically and adding it in the dog’s diet.


Olive oil is safe to use on your dog’s skin. If you want fast relief from the dry skin, apply it directly to the skin, and it will penetrate the surface and encourage better moisture retention. To use this approach, you should add around ten drops of oil to one cup of water, then massage the mixture into the parts of the skin that look dry using your hands.

Once you’ve finished the session, wipe off the excess oil using a paper towel. You can use this method once a day until your dog’s skin is looking healthy and properly moisturized.

In Food/Direct Feeding

Adding olive oil to your dog’s food can also help to reduce dryness. The omega-three fatty acids can go a long way in improving the look and feel of the dog’s skin. When skin cells are lacking moisture, they tend to shrink and shrivel. This results in the layers peeling off like skin flakes, or as dandruff.

This is not the case with well-hydrated skin cells. These stick together, creating a healthy-looking skin. By adding some olive oil to your dog’s food, you are nourishing the epidermal cells at the foundation. As the new cells mature and travel to the surface, the result is the fresh-looking, radiant skin.

To feed the dog some olive oil, you can mix olive oil in its food or water. If you can get the dog to take the olive oil directly, go for it.

The right dosage when adding olive oil to your dog’s food is one tablespoon for every 20 lbs (10 kg) twice a day. So a dog weighing 80 lbs (40 kg) should have four tablespoons of olive oil added to its diet.

Remember to always consult your veterinarian when trying new things in your dog’s diet or for any ailments you seek treatment for.

Other Benefits of Adding Olive Oil to Your Dogs Diet

While the goal is to deal with dry skin problems, adding olive oil to your dog’s diet can also provide other benefits:

  • It contains monounsaturated fats and oleic acid. These can help fight cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • It is rich in antioxidants. The carotenoids, chlorophyll, polyphenols, vitamin E, and other antioxidants are great for boosting the dog’s immune system, making it less susceptible to communicable and seasonal diseases.
  • It can fight free radical cell oxidation. This can help fight premature aging.
  • It can fight cognitive decline. Some of the compounds we’ve mentioned above can help keep the brain cells fresh, which is important in aging dogs.
  • It can improve energy levels. Adding some olive oil to your dog’s food can improve blood circulation and breathing, thus lessening the effects of asthma and making your dog a lot more energetic. This is especially true for breeds such as bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds like pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apso, etc.
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What Type of Olive Oil Should You Use?

Any type of olive oil will do if you are only using the first approach and massaging the oil into the dog’s skin. If you are adding the oil to the dog’s food, however, you should use extra virgin olive oil exclusively.

Apart from the fact that the oil is high quality (from the first press of the olive), the acid content is also lower. This gives it a fresher taste and reduces the chances of your dog rejecting it.

If you buy virgin olive oil, you need to store it in a dark-colored bottle away from the high heat. This will ensure it doesn’t go rancid quickly.

Downsides to Using Olive Oil to Treat Dry Skin in Dogs

There are a few warnings you need to keep in mind using olive oil to treat dry skin in dogs.

Direct Feeding

Although there are no proven risks associated with feeding olive oil to your dog, it is not uncommon for the dog to develop stomach upset at first, if it has sensitive intestinal tracts. You should tone things down if you notice any signs of stomach upset in your dog.

Instead of adding the oil twice a day, make it once a day for a while and watch the reactions. If the discomfort comes with diarrhea or vomiting, remove the olive oil from the diet completely.

Another possible problem with adding olive oil to your dog’s food as treatment for dry skin is that it has a sizable calorie and fat content. One tablespoon contains around 30 g (0.11 oz) of fat and around 120 calories. The fat in olive oil is the healthy kind, but it can trigger problems in dogs that are at risk of developing pancreatitis.

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The calories can also lead to weight gain, so you should definitely weigh your options if you are trying to keep your dog’s weight down.

Another potential issue you should be aware of is that oils can absorb vitamins that are fat-soluble, leading to deficiencies. So, you should ensure your dog gets a higher serving of foods rich in vitamins E, D, and A when adding olive oil to its food or water.

Topical Application

If you choose to only rub the olive oil directly onto your dog’s skin and avoid the possible health complications, you still need to be wary of a few things. First, there is a chance that the dog will proceed to lick off the area you have just massaged.

If the dog continues licking the area, it could lead to aggravating the dry skin. This can be prevented by cleaning off any excess oils properly and avoiding dripping. Cleaning off the excess oils and preventing dripping is also a good way to ensure your carpet or furniture doesn’t get ruined.

Another possible issue with topical applications is that olive oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can make sores or wounds take longer to heal. You should, therefore, only apply olive oil to parts of the skin without open wounds.


Olive oil works as a treatment for dry skin in dogs when the dryness is not a symptom of any underlying conditions. Applying the oil topically or adding it to the food can lead to significant improvements in 2-3 weeks.

However, there are a few precautions you need to take to ensure that the remedy doesn’t lead to bigger problems for your furry friend. This is especially true when you are adding the oil to its diet. If you are unsure about the best approach to take, please talk to your vet first.