Fish oil is a popular holistic wellness supplement for dogs. It’s usually well-tolerated when dispensed in appropriate amounts, and many dog owners feel like they notice a difference in their pet with long-term use.
Fish oil has the potential to offer plenty of health benefits for many dogs, but it’s important to have reasonable expectations about the benefits of fish oil. It’s not a substitute for proper veterinary care, and it’s also not the sole solution for your dog’s wellness concerns.
Why Is Fish Oil Good for Dogs?
Fish oil has the potential to be a highly useful wellness tool in your pet care arsenal. Dogs get plenty of vitamins and minerals from a well-balanced diet, and fish oil contains other highly important things that they may not get from their regular dog food.
Fish Oil Is Rich in Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil is a great source of omega 3s and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids provide support to the body in many ways.
Dogs often consume a wealth of omega-6 fatty acids, which naturally occur in meat. Dog bodies and human bodies both require an ideal ratio of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats. Many types of omega-3s work to counteract some of the potential side effects of the overconsumption of omega-6 fats, like arthritis, weight gain, reduced blood clotting, and delayed healing of wounds.
Serving your dog fish oil with their meat-based dog food can promote a better omega fatty acid ratio and support their body properly. That’s why so many holistic veterinarians recommend fish oil supplements or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs with joint health conditions, especially older dogs since omega-3s can also support cognitive function and combat canine cognitive dysfunction.
Fish Oil Contains EPA and DHA
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are both plentiful in types of fish oil. DHA is essential for the health of your dog’s eyes, nervous system, and brain. EPA helps to support proper immune system function.
Although both DHA and EPA are necessary, your dog’s body is incapable of synthesizing them autonomously like it would with things like vitamin D. This means that EPA and DHA have to come from your dog’s diet.
EPA and DHA deficiencies are uncommon, but they can have serious consequences. If you’re concerned about deficiencies in your dog’s diet, talk to your veterinarian. Fish oil is a simple way to provide your dog with substantial doses of EPA and DHA if supplementation is necessary.
How Much Fish Oil Do I Give My Dog?
If your dog will benefit from fish oil supplements, the standard recommended dose is between 75 mg of fish oil per kilogram of your dog’s body weight to 100 mg per kilogram.
Unless a veterinarian has recommended fish oil supplements for your dog, it’s best to start low. Begin at 25 mg per kg for a week or two to monitor your dog for side effects.
If your dog tolerates 25 mg daily without any side effects, increase by 25 mg weekly until you reach 75 mg a day. Stay slow and steady and keep a careful eye on your dog’s eating habits and potty habits.
What Fish Oil Is Best for Dogs?
Choosing the right fish oil, like natural triglyceride oil, salmon oil, or krill oil, isn’t a simple process. It’s easy to assume that all supplements are safe, but that isn’t always the case.
Fatty fish, including anchovies, sardines, cod, and mackerel, are often exposed to toxins and heavy metals as a direct result of ocean pollution. While the fish we eat is heavily regulated and held to strict standards, supplements leave a lot of wiggle room.
Supplements aren’t regulated the same way food products or medications are regulated, leaving ample room for subpar ingredients to slip through the cracks.
It wouldn’t be unusual for fish oil supplements for dogs to be made from lesser quality fish. If these supplements were made overseas, quality control was likely little to none. You always run the risk of giving your dog contaminated fish if you don’t carefully source your fish oil.
Choose fish oil made by reputable companies who voluntarily have their fish oil supplements tested by a third-party lab. Look for transparency in sourcing and shop exclusively with reputable brands. Honest companies will go the extra length to be sure consumers know their supplements are safe.
When giving your dog fish oil, be very careful about proper dosing. Fish oil that is intended for human consumption contains higher doses, meaning you will be better off finding a product that was specifically made with your dog in mind. A product made for humans is likely too potent to give to your furry friend.
Can Too Much Fish Oil Be Bad for Dogs?
While most types of omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and necessary, there is an upper limit. It’s always possible to have too much of a good thing.
Omega-3 overload can cause diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, overload can interfere with the way blood platelets function.
Fish oil is a natural blood thinner, too, which may be a problem for dogs with blood disorders and can increase the severity of bleeds following injuries.
Fish oil also naturally works to reduce blood pressure, which can be a positive thing if your dog’s blood pressure is too high. If it isn’t, drops in blood pressure can be dangerous. Needless to say, fish oil shouldn’t be used in conjunction with blood pressure medications.
A well-balanced, fresh, high-quality dog food will often provide the right balance of omega fats.
Since fish oil poses the potential for significant side effects, it’s better to talk to your vet before providing a substantial amount of fish oil to your dog. However, adding a miniscule dose to your dog’s food is unlikely to cause harm.
That having been said, you shouldn’t assume that fish oil is the solution to your dog’s wellness needs. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of vision loss, cognitive decline, or joint mobility issues, talk to the vet first. If these symptoms are a result of a serious underlying condition, your dog’s best outcome will always come from early intervention.
Fish Oil Alternatives For Dogs
Ideally, a well-balanced diet is the best alternative to fish oil supplements. If your dog is getting everything they need from their regular food, supplements may not be necessary, but they can be helpful— especially if your dog struggles with certain health issues. Even dogs who eat kibble that contains all necessary nutrients can benefit from an extra boost sometimes, and you should consult your veterinarian for the most accurate advice pertaining to your dog individually.
In some cases, CBD can serve as a valuable alternative when it comes to supporting overall health and wellness. If you’re interested in fish oil supplementation to promote regular brain health or support overall joint mobility, CBD can provide some of the same benefits without the potential side effects or allergies fish oil may pose.
CBD oil tinctures are also highly bioavailable and readily absorbed by your dog’s body. They get to work quickly, and their effects last for eight to 12 hours. Consistent daily use will produce the best results. CBD needs time to positively influence your dog’s endocannabinoid system, providing your dog’s body with continuous support as it performs its natural functions.
VETCBD Hemp’s CBD tincture is made from American-grown hemp and is triple lab tested for quality and purity. There are no hidden contaminants or potentially unsafe ingredients like there may be with fish oil. Your dog deserves the best, and we’ve made it our mission to provide the best pet CBD products available.
If you believe that CBD may play a valuable role in your dog’s holistic wellness routine, ask your vet. If your pet is generally healthy and doesn’t have significant dietary deficiencies, CBD may be a useful solution for broad support.