Vegetable oil is used in cooking and found in a variety of products, which may have you wondering if it’s safe for your dog. After all, it’s easy to accidentally give your dog something with vegetable oil without realizing it. The good news is it’s generally safe.
Though there’s nothing toxic in vegetable oil, it’s not the best oil for your dog, and there are some risks involved in feeding it.
Is Vegetable Oil Safe for Dogs?
Vegetable oil is not toxic to dogs, so it’s not a big deal if your dog sneaks a little bit that spilled or eats something that has vegetable oil in it. It’s generally made from plant oils, such as canola or sunflower oil, and it may even be an ingredient in your commercial dog food.
There is a caveat, however. Dogs are facultative carnivores, so though they eat non-animal foods, it’s better for them to have natural fats from animal sources. Too much fat can lead to issues as well, such as obesity and related conditions.1
Another risk of high fat intake is pancreatitis,2 especially in one sitting. This vital organ releases enzymes to help with digestion. In a healthy dog, these enzymes don’t activate until they reach the small intestine. With pancreatitis, the enzymes activate upon release, inflaming the organ and surrounding tissue, causing significant pain, weakness, and diarrhea.
How Much Vegetable Oil Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs can eat a little bit of vegetable oil here and there, but it’s not good to make a habit of it. Too much vegetable oil too often can cause health problems.
If you want to give your dog something with vegetable oil, make sure to keep it under a teaspoon of oil per 30 pounds of body weight. It’s not necessary for your dog to have vegetable oil regularly, however, even as an ingredient in a treat. Your dog gets all the nutrition it needs from its diet, including healthy fats.
Can Dogs Have Margarine?
Margarine is an imitation butter that’s made out of several different vegetable oils. Like the oil itself, margarine is generally safe for dogs, but it can contain additives and preservatives that aren’t good. Generally, processed human foods are harder on dogs’ stomachs than our own.
If your dog gets a small taste of margarine, it’s probably not a cause for alarm. If your dog grabs a whole tub off the counter and eats it, that requires a call to a veterinarian. Your dog could become very sick, including severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Like many other oils, vegetable oils are a source of healthy fat—in moderation. Though it’s not toxic to your dog, it can cause problems with overfeeding, like obesity and pancreatitis. It’s best to leave the vegetable oil to your dog’s commercial food and stick to dog-friendly treats rather than human foods. If you’re concerned about your dog’s fat intake, speak to your vet about its diet before you make any changes.
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