Is Vegetable Oil Good for Dogs?

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Moving on to the letter “V” in our dog food ingredient series. Today we are writing about vegetable oil.


What is Vegetable Oil?

According to Wikipedia, A vegetable oil is a triglyceride extracted from a plant. The AAFCO definition of vegetable oil is: the product of vegetable origin obtained by extracting the oil from seeds or fruits which are processed for edible purposes.

Common names for Vegetable Oil

Besides the generic “vegetable oil”, other plant based oils that are used in dog food include canola oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.


Why is Vegetable Oil in Dog Food?

Vegetable oil is used to add fat and flavor to a dog food as well as to keep the coat shiny.
vegetable oil

Is Vegetable Oil Commonly Used in Dog Food?

Vegetable oil is in about 5% of all dog foods. While used in both dry and we foods, it is much more prevalent in the dry varieties.

Common Benefits or Risks of Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is used as a source of fat and a dog’s bodies are meant to process fats and need proper amounts to function properly. Fats are an important source of energy and necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues. Fats ensure that the body can absorb certain vitamins called the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).


The problem with vegetable oil as an ingredient is that there is no way to know its actual source and therefore its nutritional profile and fatty acid makeup.


Unsaturated vegetable oils can be transformed through partial or complete “hydrogenation” into oils of higher melting point. Partially hydrogenated oils and their trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of mortality from coronary heart disease and other increased health risks.


Depending on the source of the oil, (e.g. canola, corn and soy), vegetable oils can distort the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.


We did a scan of dog foods that contain vegetable oil in their ingredients and have determined that it is used mostly in lower quality foods. Below is a sample ingredient list that is representative of the type of food that contains vegetable oil:

Ground Whole Corn;Meat And Bone Meal;Ground Whole Wheat;Corn Gluten Meal;Animal Fat (Preserved With Bha And Citric Acid);Wheat Mill Run;Chicken By-Product Meal;Natural Flavor;Salt;Rice;Potassium Chloride;Vegetable Oil (Source Of Linoleic Acid);Vitamins (Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source Of Vitamin E];Choline Chloride;L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source Of Vitamin C*];Vitamin A Supplement;Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1];Biotin;D-Calcium Pantothenate;Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2];Vitamin D3 Supplement;Vitamin B12 Supplement);Dried Vegetables (Peas;Carrots);Minerals (Zinc Sulfate;Zinc Proteinate;Copper Sulfate;Copper Proteinate;Manganese Proteinate;Potassium Iodide);Added Fd&C Colors (Red 40;Blue 2;Yellow 6;Yellow 5)


Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

Due to the fact that the specific source of vegetable oil is unknown, it gets the SlimDoggy Sad Face.


Miscellaneous facts about Vegetable Oil

Olive oil and other pressed oils have been used for centuries but it was ‘innovation’ by Procter & Gamble that extended the use of vegetable oil. P&G started selling cottonseed oil as a creamed shortening, in 1911.


Sources and further reading


Editor’s note: to view all of the dog food ingredients we have covered, search on the tag “ingredients” or click here:

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  1. I see what you mean about not knowing the source of the oil in that ingredient list. Lots of unknowns in that list.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Making The Most Of A Winter NapMy Profile

  2. Interesting. Not sure if it is in our food or not, but I don’t think we ever use it when we bake dog treats. Mom doesn’t use it very much for human food either.
    Emma recently posted…The Task Of Gift WrappingMy Profile

  3. Very interesting, I cringe when people tell me they take straight veg oil, corn oil, and other oils and just put them on their food. If given too much it can flare up the pancreas and line up a whole new set of problems, not worth it for me.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tasty Tuesday~Chewy Style With A Merrick TreatMy Profile

    • Abslolutely…I can understand a little olive oil with some nice italian bread…but that’s about it 😉
      mkob recently posted…Is Vegetable Oil Good for Dogs?My Profile

  4. We stick to fish and coconut as our choices of oils for the pups here 😉
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…DIY Dog Silhouette DecorationMy Profile

  5. Olive oil is definitely our oil of choice and coconut oil on occasion
    jan recently posted…Holiday dining with rescue petsMy Profile

  6. I haven’t used it once while baking my own dog treats, I will have to check the food though
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Holiday Pet Subscription BoxMy Profile

  7. Interesting. Can’t say I’ve noticed it listed much in Harley’s dietary regiment but now I’ve got to go look –

  8. That’s a nasty sounding list of ingredients there! I dread to think that I might have fed my dogs food like that in the past….thank goodness we know better now.
    I used to think canola oil was a good oil but have since heard otherwise…I use mostly olive oil for cooking. The dogs love coconut oil and get a little bit of that sometimes.
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  9. Thanks for this post. I was stuck the other day and wondered if I could use vegetable oil in place of salmon oil when hydrating our Olewo carrots for the dogs. I found the olive oil and used it instead. This is good information to know.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…A Biased Review of Beyond Simply 9 Natural Dog Food by PurinaMy Profile

  10. I haven’t used vegetable oil in years. In my house it is Olive or Coconut oil for both the humans and the dogs.

    Since we feed raw, sometimes (not very frequently) they get a little drizzle of olive oil on their chicken necks. They used to get coconut oil every day but that stopped and I can’t remember why. I think I need to give them a bit again.

    And BTW, that ingredient list is horrific. I can’t see one thing in there that might be good for a pup. 🙁
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