One of the most common supplements that is always recommended to us dog parents to include in our canine’s diets is fish oil, also known as omega 3 fatty acids. And, just as you might have heard about already, fish oil does wonders for your dog’s health just like it does for yours and mine.
The positive effect on skin and coat quality has moved large numbers of pet owners to add fish oil to the diets of their young and normal pets. Overall, the trend to supplement with fish oil is positive for pet health, but there is a flip side to that coin. Too much of a good thing may have adverse effects on health.
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Is Fish Oil For Dogs Good?
Usually, if you feed for dog a high quality diet consisting mainly high quality meat, then your dog doesn’t really need fish oils in their diet.
However, if you’re one of many dog owners that makes the mistake of giving your dog a lot of grains and plant-based oils instead of high quality meat, then your dog will benefit very well from supplementing with fish oil.
If your dog shows any of the following signs, then they probably can benefit a whole lot from fish oil supplementation:
- Constant fatigue and lethargy
- Bad coat condition, mainly dryness
- Skin problems, such as dryness and itchiness
- Hard nails that easily break
- Joint pain
Here are some of the most important benefits fish oil for dogs provide:
- Cancer: Fish oil is loaded with antioxidants that fight against many different forms of cancer and greatly minimize the risk of your dog getting affected by any
- Joints: Fish oil greatly aids in easing joint discomforts
- Heart Health: Fish oil reduces the risk of your dog getting affected by heart problems such as heart disease and strokes
- Kidneys: Improves kidney functions, especially dogs that are affected by kidney disease
- Skin: Fish oil improves the conditions of your dog’s skin and coat, while also making dry, irritated skin more moist and, well, less-irritated! 🙂 An indirect result of this benefit is greatly reduced shedding in dogs.
- Intestines: Improves intestinal functions
- Inflammation: Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties fish oil contains, fish oil helps arthritic dogs move much more easily than they used to and reduces the inflammation caused by arthritis.
- Energy And Stamina: Fish oil fights lethargy and ensures your dog remains energetic throughout the day
- Immune System: Fish oil greatly helps protect against auto-immune diseases, and also helps keep your dog’s immune system in check.
- Lowers blood triglyceride levels
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves digestion
- Reduces anxiety levels
- Brain Function: Fish oil greatly improves the brain development of dogs during their very early stages of life, and also improves brain functions in older dogs that get affected by old age.
- Obesity: Fish oil is notorious for it’s properties that fight against obesity and promote weight-loss effects
Fish Oil Dosage For Dogs
You can choose to give your dog fish oil in either capsule or liquid form.
- Capsule Form: The capsule form is great and easy to go with if your dog accepts taking it that way, or else you can mix in the liquid form with some of your dog’s food if they give you a hard time.
- Liquid Form: Liquid form fish oil is also very convenient if your dog needs large doses of fish oil, because giving them all the dosage they need with capsules is bound to be a difficult process.
Moreover, fish oil that is specifically designed for human consumption might not be accepted well by dogs, so make sure you only give them fish oil that was designed for dogs.
Before you go ahead and give your dog fish oils as part of their diet, there are recommended limits that you don’t exceed when it comes to EPA and DHA for dogs.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil.
In general, it’s always best that you consult with your veterinarian when determining the proper dosage of fish oil to give your dog, because they can give you a specific answer for your pet that is determined by their specific health status and specific needs, unlike general dosages that aim to be a one-size-fits-all answer.
So, How Much Fish Oil Can I Give My Dog?
For every 1 lb of your dog’s body weight, you can give your dog a dosage of 10-20mg (all the way up to 55 mg in extreme cases where such a high dose is necessary) of combined EPA and DHA.
You want to stay away from giving your dog excessive amounts of fish oil, because that can lead to negative results on your dog’s health, including:
- Excessive Bleeding: Dogs that are given excessive amounts of fish oil tend to bleed much more when wounded than other dogs, and tend to face harder times when they need to undergo surgery.
- Poor Wound Healing: The excess amount of EPA and DHA in the fish oil that your dog consumes leads to greatly slowing down the process of wound healing and re-generation of new skin in place of the old, damaged skin.
In Which Foods Can Fish Oil Be Found?
Here are some of the foods that EPA and DHA can mostly be found in:
How To Store Fish Oil
Any fish oil you give to your dog is only as good as it has been preserved, so pay close attention to this part.
Any fish oil you want to give to your dog must be kept away from direct light, heat, and air.
If you plan on giving your dog liquid fish oil, these are best preserved in your refrigerator in dark bottles.
To avoid giving your dog old fish oil that is no longer good-to-consume, always keep an eye out on the expiration date and the first instance you smell an odd odor, throw away the fish oil.