For us pet owners, the health and wellbeing of our pooches are among our highest priorities. We scour the shelves for the highest quality dog foods and treats, and we care for their health from nose to tail. Aside from foods, dietary supplements are a great way to ensure your pup’s health.
Fish oil can support heart and skin health as well as a shiny fur coat. It may promote a healthy immune system and keep your floofer spritely for years to come. In this guide, you’ll learn about fish oil for dogs, including health benefits, dosage, and how to choose the right fish oil products.
What Is Fish Oil?
Fish oil supplements are made of fatty substances found in a wide variety of fish. These supplements are most commonly made from cold-water fish, including menhaden, salmon, trout, tuna, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel. They can also be made from flaxseeds and shellfish or derived from plant and nut oils.
Fish oil is packed with omega fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat dogs and humans can only get from certain foods. Known as essential fatty acids, these fats play a key role in protecting your dog’s joint health, heart health, and immunity. From omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids, there are several different types.
Dogs get a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids from foods that contain grains, vegetable oils, and animal fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are less common in dog foods, meaning it’s often useful to give your pet a supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — which can help reduce inflammation — and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which supports brain function. DHA and EPA are more commonly found in animal fats and aren’t as prevalent in fish oil supplements made from flaxseeds or vegetable oils.
These healthy fats are essential for a dog’s overall health. The only way to get fatty acids is through giving your dog dietary supplements or foods with omega-rich ingredients. Unfortunately, most dog foods contain large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids but not enough omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA.
That’s why a fish oil supplement might be beneficial for your pup. Supplements are available as soft gels, liquids, and chews.
Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs
Fish oil for dogs can help support wellbeing and may be useful in the treatment of arthritis and kidney disease. Research indicates these supplements may help protect cognitive function and improve brainpower in older dogs. Here are some benefits of fish oil for dogs.
Cognitive function plays an important part in training and learning. Some research shows essential fatty acids may help boost learning abilities and protect cognitive function in aging pets.
One study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association shows a clear impact of DHA fatty acids on their brain health. Researchers found puppies who ate foods high in DHA demonstrated better task learning abilities and early psychomotor performance. Puppies who had more DHA were better at navigating side to side in an obstacle course and were faster at recognizing visual cues and completing memory tasks.
Research also shows fish oil may help preserve mental capacities in older dogs. One such study conducted by the Purina Institute found a combination of DHA and B vitamins resulted in an improvement in cognitive function and better visual learning capabilities.
Fish oil may also help to protect against or ease the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain in dogs. One study found fish oil offered minor relief for dogs suffering from arthritis. Compared to a placebo, dogs who were given fish oil had lower scores on the pain index and reportedly needed fewer pain medications such as NSAIDs.
Researchers point to the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil supplements as the main actors behind these improvements. Additional research indicates fish oil may help improve movement, reduce pain, and increase play in dogs with ligament injuries or osteoarthritis.
Skin and Coat Health
Fish oil contains healthy fats that support healthy skin. It may help address dry skin, itchy skin, and other skin problems as well as improve the look of your dog’s fur coat. Research shows fish oil and omega fatty acids may help treat atopic dermatitis as well as pruritic skin disease. Additional research shows fish oil may help with wound healing by decreasing inflammation and improving blood clotting.
Fish oil supplements may help support heart health and ease symptoms associated with heart disease in dogs. One study found that fish oil supplements significantly improved arrhythmia in dogs. Other studies show fish oil may help to prevent sudden cardiac death in dogs with heart disorders.
How to Choose a Fish Oil Supplement
Some dogs get enough essential fatty acids from their food sources, but others may need a supplement. Talk to a licensed veterinarian (DVM) to see if your dog needs a fish oil supplement. The veterinary medicine professional can examine your dog’s diet and take into account health issues such as heart or kidney disease to determine the appropriate course of action.
There are different types of fish oil supplements for dogs, including natural triglyceride oils, ethyl ester oils, and synthetic triglyceride oils. Consult your vet to help you choose the right one.
Natural triglyceride oils are the easiest for your dog to absorb. Since they’re made from all-natural substances, they may contain contaminants. Ethyl ester oils are purified and formulated with concentrated amounts of DHA and EPA, making them effective but less natural than natural triglyceride oils. Lastly, synthetic triglyceride oils are made from synthetic sources and are not as easily absorbed.
There isn’t one-size-fits-all advice when it comes to fish oil for dogs. Your dog’s breed, body weight, size, and health situation all play a role in choosing the best fish oil supplement. That’s why it’s important to consult your vet before making a decision. Your vet can also help you determine the recommended dose, so your pup avoids any side effects caused by taking too much fish oil.
Fish Oil Supplements From PetHonesty
At PetHonesty, we love your pets as much as you do. Our fish oil supplements are designed to help your dog’s skin and coat look lustrous and support their overall health.
Try our Omega-3 Fish Oil made with sardines, anchovies, herrings, and mackerel. Our fish oil is 100% natural, and one serving contains 800 milligrams of DHA and 525 milligrams of EPA.
This fish oil is naturally purified, so it won’t stink up your home. Plus, the liquid form makes it easy to add to your dog’s favorite food. You can also grab a 3-Pack to stay stocked on the fish oil your dog needs.
You can also check out our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil made with sustainably caught salmon. It’s also available in a 3-Pack, and each serving has 423 milligrams of EPA and 465 milligrams of DHA to help improve joint and skin health. Additionally, our Omega Salmon Chews are the perfect way to treat your dog and contain kelp, wild Alaskan salmon, vitamin E, and DHA. Your dog is sure to love these tasty omega-rich supplements and treats that help them get the nutrition he or she needs.