4 min read


Why Dogs Don't Like Olives



4 min read


Why Dogs Don't Like Olives




Have you just given your pup an olive and rather than eat it, he's thrown it around the room as if it were a new toy? Did he leave it full of teeth marks before abandoning it in the middle of the floor? Did you expect him to munch on what you considered to be a tasty treat, but he spat it out and refused to even look at it? If you've just offered your dog an olive and he wrinkled up his nose in disgust, you might well have surmised your dog doesn't like olives and you'd be right. A lot of dogs don't like olives, but why?

The Root of the Behavior

Sometimes the things we think taste great are just not appetizing to your dog. You might be interested to know, considering how acute a dog’s senses are, surprisingly enough their taste is not as developed as their nose, eyes, or ears. In fact, one thing they're pretty short of is taste buds. Dogs mostly rely on their sense of smell to decide if something is edible or not. What a dog classes as prospective food doesn’t have to have the aroma of roast chicken for them to find it appealing either. Something which we humans find totally repulsive may well rank at the top of your dog’s list of favorites and vice versa. While we enjoy the salty tang of an olive, to your dog, when he gives it a sniff with his super sensitive sense of smell, he probably classes the aroma an olive gives off as somewhere along the lines of being equal to stagnant sea water.

His natural instincts will make him reject consuming it as he inherently knows not to eat or drink anything which is salty. If he was still in the wild and snacked on something full of salt, he’d have to go searching for extra water to quench the thirst it gave him. That would take up valuable time which could be put to better use hunting. Dogs are by nature carnivores. It’s only us nutrition obsessed humans who worry about our five a day and making sure we have a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Our canine friends are happy just to have a full belly of protein which they much prefer, given the choice, to get from eating meat. Your dog is not going to look at an olive and think - yum, that’s good, I’d better eat it. If it doesn't run away or have blood running through its veins, to him, it's basically not very interesting.

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Encouraging the Behavior

When you give your dog some human food and he doesn't gobble it down immediately, it may well be he knows, by natural instinct, that particular foodstuff is just not good for him. While it's perfectly normal as a pet owner to want to share lots of titbits, like olives, with your dog, it's not always a good idea. Many human foods contain toxins which can seriously harm your pet. To us, they're completely innocuous and we can digest them easily with no side effects, but that's not always the case when it comes to our canines. If your dog shows no interest in eating something it's much better to stop trying to give it to him.

It can be quite amusing if your dog reacts a bit crazily when you offer him something he doesn't like. While it might be entertaining to watch and may even make you laugh out loud, you need to consider how your pet feels. He's expecting a treat then, when he finally gets his mouth around something his beloved owner has given him, all he gets is a bad tasting shock. By giving your dog something he doesn't like, you're sending him a very confusing message; especially if you're telling him he's a good boy while you're doing it. If you do it continually, not only will he be completely baffled, but you'll start to lose his trust too. Jokes are fine between humans who understand them, but not with an animal who doesn't. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Although it is a rare occurrence, if you suspect for any reason your pet might have been accidentally poisoned by eating some human food which is bad for him, the best thing to do is consult with his veterinary professional as soon as possible. If you are not sure what food to give your dog or want to be better informed about your pet's nutritional requirements, consider consulting with your vet on the subject. They will be able to tell you what the best type of food is for your pup and how much of it he should be eating to stay healthy. 


Most dogs and quite a lot of people, don't like olives. A lot of dogs would sooner play with an olive rather than eat it. But if you think your dog is capable of developing a more sophisticated palate, you could try presenting him with an olive in a Martini, Bond-style, shaken not stirred. Though he probably still won't like it that way either.

By a Chihuahua lover Liz Correal

Published: 03/19/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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