Fish Oil for Dogs – MUST READ GUIDE for Owners!

Fish oil is one of the most common supplements that are added to your dog’s diet.

There are several benefits of adding fish oil for dogs. But there are also lines that you shouldn’t cross.

Do you know everything about the fish oil that you give your dog? Think again.

Continue reading as we discuss the basic yet vital aspects when using fish oil for your dogs.

Why Fish Oil?

Fish oil is one of the biggest and well-known sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

But there are other sources as well, like Flax seed oil. Why is fish oil preferred over them?

Here’s the reason.

All the Omega-3 fatty acids are not just the same. Fish oil provides them in the form of EPA and DHA while flax provides them in the form of ALA. The problem is ALA must be converted later into EPA and DHA before absorption.

That’s the reason fish oil is preferred over oil from plant sources. The same reason can’t be said for all the oils, but the fact is fish oil beats them fair and square in terms of quality and also cost.

Fish Oil Dosage for Dogs

Following a recommended dose of fish oil for your dog can reap excellent health benefits.

But if you do it in excess then it could lead to a number of health problems (discussed later) which is why it is crucial to follow a safe dosage of fish oil for dogs.

A safe upper limit of EPA and DHA has been set by the National Research Council. Translating the data, we can say that you can give 20 to 55mg of fish oil per pound of body weight. This is considered safe, and there will be no adverse effects.

There may be some cases where the therapeutic dosage required might be higher than usual. You must consult your vet to weigh the risks and rewards before giving one.

Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs

Now we’re getting to the good part. Let’s talk about some benefits.

1. Itching

Fish oil plays a vital role in treating hot spots. It also improves hydration and acts against inflammation. We’ve heard of using an antihistamine like Benadryl for treating an itch, but fish oil works fine as well.

If your dog has a dry skin, then add some fish oil to its diet as per the recommended dosage above. You can also consult your vet and include it in the diet if your dog is suffering from a skin condition.

2. Better Coat

If your dog has a nice, shiny coat, then problems like dry skin and hot spots can be prevented. The omega-3 acids present in the fish oil can help in giving your dog a healthier and a shiny coat.

Many of you will feel like this is purely a cosmetic benefit. But hey if it works and looks good too, who are we to say no, right?

3. Cholesterol

People are lazy and sometimes their pets are lazy as well. As a result, we could have an obese animal in the house.

The omega-3 fatty acids can help in reducing the triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Reducing the triglyceride levels will also lower the risks of your pet getting a heart disease.

So, if you see some extra weight there, add some fish oil to his diet.

4. Brain and Eye Development

The DHA that is present in fish oil plays a crucial role in the development of brain and eyes in puppies.

So, giving fish oil in the right amount to pregnant dogs can be useful to the puppies once they step out into our world.

5. Cancer

The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil seem to restrict the growth of tumor cells. They may also cause the cancer cells to self-destruct. Though it is not set in stone, vets ask people to give fish oil to the pets that have cancer.

6. Arthritis

Arthritis is painful, and that is no different in dogs. If it is too hurting for your dog to move around, you can include fish oil in his diet.

The omega-3 acid reduces stiffness and helps to fight against cartilage-destroying enzymes. With the intake of fish oil, your pet can rely less on medicine as the pain should be reduced by now.

Side Effects of Fish Oil for Dogs

If you don’t follow the recommended dosage of fish oil, then there will be some side effects that may or may not be dangerous depending on the dog’s condition.

1. Hemorrhage

Fish oil is given to dogs mainly for its anti-inflammatory property. This property increases the production of chemicals that mess with the blood platelet function.

Whenever there is a wound, there is blood loss and clotting of blood will take place. Due to the excess consumption of fish oil, blood clotting might be delayed because of the reason mentioned above.

It is also important to notify your vet of this issue (overconsumption of omega-3) if you are taking your pet dog for a surgery or something that involves bleeding.

2. Vitamin E Deficiency

Taking more fish oil than necessary could also result in Vitamin E deficiency in your dog. Your dog only needs 4% of polyunsaturated fatty acids in its calories. Just following the right dosage could get this amount.

Vitamin E deficiency in dogs could lead to a number of problems like muscle weakness and paralysis. Though they can be reversed by adding Vitamin E supplements in their diet, it still can hurt your dog.

3. Disturbed Inflammatory Response

Whenever there is an abnormality in the body, there is an inflammatory response that shows you that there is something wrong. This is a very important and excess EPA and DHA can mess with this function.

An inflammatory response must be maintained in the body in the case of a problem. To let this happen without disturbance, you must control your dog’s fish oil intake.

Can I Use Human Fish Oil for Dogs?

The first question most of the people ask is, is fish oil good for dogs? The second most commonly asked question is can I give my fish oil to my dog?

Yes, You can. But it is better to ask your vet if it is okay for your dog. For a smaller dog (less than 10lbs), you can give your regular strength fish oil capsules. Read the label to note the dose per capsule and give accordingly.

For a bigger dog, go for extra strength capsules. Again, consult with your veterinarian before you give anything to your dog.

Once you start giving fish oil to your dog, it may take around 3 to 6 weeks to see notable improvements. So be patient and continue giving your dog fish oil in the prescribed amounts.

Featured photo credit: plepraisaeng/depositphotos