Is Palm Oil Bad for Dogs? Navigating Nutrition

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Taking care of our dogs means providing them with food and amenities which are good for them. Lately, there is a buzz about palm oil, which is an ingredient in various products. But the question is: Is palm oil bad for dogs?

In this article, we will dive into the food world of our dogs to find out whether they like palm oil and is palm oil safe for them, and also what are other alternatives to palm oil.

Is Palm Oil Bad for Dogs

Is Palm Oil Bad for Dogs?

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. It is used in various products including dog food, treats, and supplements.

Palm oil is a versatile ingredient that is colourless, odourless, and has a semi-solid form. It has a better fatty acid formation than coconut oil and is safe for dogs when consumed in its pure form”, confirms a study at HMS.

Palm oil is not toxic to dogs. However, it should be avoided or given in moderation as too much of any oil can cause an upset stomach with symptoms such as diarrhoea, dehydration, and in extreme cases pancreatitis[1].

Palm oil can cause blockages in the digestive system due to its semi-solid form. Palm oil is imported into many countries via ships, in this process, it can get infected by bacteria and waste so, if your dog ingests infected palm oil or in excess then contact your vet instantly.

palm oil

“It is vital to choose fat sources for dogs which provide essential nutrients without excessive fats such as Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Chicken or Turkey Fat, Coconut Oil, and Sunflower Oil”, confirms the experts at PetMD

Hidden Sources of Palm Oil

Palm oil is a widely used vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree. It is found in many products, such as food, cosmetics, personal care, cleaning, and fuel[2].

However, not all products contain palm oil on labels. Some are by-products of palm oil hidden under other names, here are some of them[3]:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Palm fruit oil
  • Palm olein
  • Palm stearin
  • Palmitate
  • Stearate
  • Glycerin
  • Ethylhexyl

Safe Alternatives of Palm Oil

Palm oil is used in many products due to its versatility and low cost. However, concerns about various impacts have led many to seek alternatives, here are some of them:

dog eating food
  • Olive oil: It is rich in fats and antioxidants, making it a healthier option for cooking and baking.
  • Coconut oil: It is high in saturated fats and may have potential health benefits.
  • Avocado oil: Rich in fats and vitamin E, making it a good choice for salads and light cooking.
  • Sunflower oil: This oil is more stable for cooking and is used in many households.
  • Canola oil: Canola oil is low in saturated fat and has a high smoke point which is good for cooking.
  • Soybean oil: Soybean oil is a common alternative food, its benefits can depend on whether it’s refined or unrefined.
  • Peanut oil: Peanut oil is stable at high temperatures and is often used in frying.
happy dog

Importance of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet provides the necessary nutrients to our dog for the function of the body properly. Portion control is essential to prevent overeating and maintain healthy weight. Here are some more benefits:

  • Nutrient Intake
  • Weight Control
  • Disease Prevention
  • Energy Levels
  • Digestive Health
  • Mental Well-being

Additionally, it is important to consult with the vet before making any changes in the diet of your dog. A vet can consider your dog’s age, breed, size, activity level, and any health conditions to recommend the best diet.

Is palm oil safe for dog

The vet may also take the nutritional balance and health condition of your into consideration. Vets can also identify food allergies and suggest the right alternatives.


Why Is Palm Oil Bad for Animals?

While palm oil is not poisonous to dogs, it does have a laxative effect and, if eaten, can cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis. It can also cause blockages in the gut due to its semi-solid state. Some dogs have become seriously ill after ingesting palm oil.

Is Palm Oil Bad for Dogs?

Pure palm oil is not toxic to dogs but has a laxative effect when ingested in large quantities. It can cause digestive issues, including diarrhoea and vomiting. The toxicity risk of palm oil comes from the poisonous substances and products mixed into it and the oxidation from processing.

Is Peanut Butter With Palm Oil Bad for Dogs?

While there is generally not enough palm oil in a jar of peanut butter to be a cause for concern, peanut butter should still be used in moderation due to its high fat and sugar content. Peanut butter containing artificial sweeteners such as xylitol should also be avoided, as it is extremely toxic for dogs.

Why Is Palm Oil Avoided?

What is the problem with palm oil? Palm oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino.

What Peanut Butter Is Safe for Dogs?

The good news is that regular peanut butter is safe to give your dog as a treat. Just make sure to avoid peanut butter with Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in lower or sugar-free products. Xylitol is the only ingredient in peanut butter that’s bad for dogs.


In conclusion, as responsible pet parents we must ask ourselves is palm oil bad for dogs? We must provide our dogs with a balanced diet, that will provide them with vital nutrients and needed growth.

By embracing the right balance of palm oil in the diet, we can enhance the health of our dog, vets can help in this too. With these active steps, we can protect the health of our environment and dogs too!


  1. Willard, M. D., & Twedt, D. C. (2012). Gastrointestinal, pancreatic, and hepatic disorders. In Elsevier eBooks (pp. 191–225)- NIH
  2. Which everyday products contain palm oil? | Pages | WWFWorld Wildlife Fund.
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2023b). Palm oil- Wikipedia
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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