As you age, you may hear about the benefits of fish oil tablets or an omega-3 supplement for general health. But did you know that some benefits of taking these supplements may also apply to dogs? The idea of eating fish oil may seem absurd, but they’re actually full of fatty acids that have proven health benefits in both dogs and people. If your pet is aging, it may be time to look into an omega-3 supplement for them.
But what is omega-3 for dogs? Is fish oil good for dogs? How much fish oil is safe for dogs to take? In this article, we’ll be going through what omega-3 fatty acids are, why you give them to your dog, and how much to give them.
What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are often prescribed to dogs to prevent skin conditions, heart disease, arthritis, and more. But what are they?
There are two major omega-3 acids that dogs cannot naturally produce on their own. These are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These acids have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help prevent many diseases from worsening. For this reason, many pet owners begin giving their dogs omega-3 supplements early on before conditions begin to appear.
There is another omega-3 acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but dogs can’t transform this into the more useful EPA and DHA, so it’s not recommended to give them ALA. Omega-3 acids and fish oil tablets contain EPA and DHA, so you usually don’t have to worry about looking out for ALA in products branded as a supplement for dogs.
What Is DHA in Dog Food?
Certain types of dog food may contain DHA, depending on what you normally buy. For example, if the dog food you regularly purchase is fish-based, it will probably contain DHA. For this reason, before putting your dog on omega-3 supplements, check the ingredients list to see if they’re already receiving a regular source of fatty acids.
While the inflammatory effects of DHA and EPA may be beneficial in the correct doses, Dr. Ken Tudor of PetMD says that too much of the supplements can lead to a loss in blood clotting, so wounds that your dog suffers may not easily heal. The dog’s body needs a certain amount of inflammatory capability in order for their immune system to correctly work.
What Is Krill Oil, and Is It OK to Give Dogs?
Many omega-3 supplements specify krill oil instead of fish oil. This is OK, as krill is a smaller crustacean that provides the same EPA and DHA that fish oil does. Krill is a more sustainable source of the oil, as krill reproduce very quickly and aren’t at a risk of overfishing like some other sources of fish. In the ocean, whales eat krill by the hundreds!
Is Fish Oil Bad For Dogs?
Fish oil is not bad for dogs with the correct dosage. However, be sure that you’re getting fish oil from a reputable source, as fish are known to sometimes contain mercury and other toxic metals. Friend of BarxBuddy and Evolved Paws, Dr. Sarah Ochoa, says “Fish oils are great to give to your dog. If [given in] high amounts, it can cause diarrhea or vomiting. I also recommend not giving human fish oils as they are very high in omega fatty acids and often lead to GI issues.”
Fatty acids can also interact poorly with other medications that your dog may be taking, so consult your veterinarian before adding supplements to their daily diet.
What Does Fish Oil Do For Dogs?
The fatty acids in fish oil and omega-3 supplements can prevent arthritis and other joint pain caused by tissue inflammation. Dr. Ochoa mentions that omega supplements are great for allergy season. “Omegas are great for your dogs’ and cats’ skin and coats,” she said. She said omegas help decrease allergic reactions, improve joint health and help with heart health: “Omegas are a great supplement that you can give your pet each day to help treat and prevent many health issues.”
Can Dogs Take Fish Oil Supplements?
Yes, dogs can take fish oil supplements. Many vitamin blends like our Evolved Paws Omega Blend contain fish oil to improve your dog’s skin and coat. Talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about using fish oil supplements with your dog.
Can You Give Omega 3 To Dogs?
Yes, most dogs can safely take omega-3 supplements. BarxBuddy offers an Omega supplement in powder form that can be sprinkled over your dog’s food or in their water. Our omega supplement includes a blend of fish oil, EPA, and DHA. Remember to consult a veterinarian before prescribing supplements to your dog, as the correct dosage of fatty acids matters.
How Much Fish Oil Should I Give My Dog?
The dosage of fish oil that your dog needs every day is dependent on their body weight. Smaller dogs will need less of the supplement than larger ones. Take note that there is an upper limit that’s safe for dogs to consume, so you need to consult with your veterinarian on the correct dosage before giving your pet any supplements to avoid harming them.
To get a rough idea of a higher end dosage that dogs with arthritis usually take, Dr. Ochoa suggested this chart sourced from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University.
For an idea of the lower end of the dosages to treat issues like skin conditions, check out this canine fish oil dosage chart from Colorado State University.
Dr. Ochoa notes that most veterinarians will recommend starting out with 1/4th of the normal dosage and working your way up to the full dosage in order to avoid issues in their dogs’ GI tracts.
Remember that your dog may be getting EPA and DHA in other parts of their diet, so be sure to check the ingredients of your dog’s food to see how much fatty acids they’re already consuming in their daily diet.