Fish Oil For Dogs?

There are many ways we can help our dogs to stay healthier and live longer lives, but there seems to be a bit of a debate these days over one particular supplement. Is it 100% safe for all dogs? The supplement in question that I will be discussing with you all today is fish oil.

Majority of Veterinarians and pet owners out there seem to be pro fish oil when it comes to the debate, and I am one of those that believes that if it’s good for you it’s good for your pup! However, I want to warn you all to be cautious, not all dogs are the same. As always, I encourage you to speak with your Veterinarian before giving your dog fish oil, since too large a dosage can cause adverse side effects.

When it comes to the pros of fish oil, there are many. This supplement can greatly improve your pups skin, coat, joint, kidneys, heart health, immune system and more! Fish oil has even been shown to aid in some more serious problems, like cancer, and can improve your pet’s health and comfort.

Fish oil supplements contain two essential fatty acids: EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid); both are omega-3 fatty acids that can only be made in a limited capacity in dogs. These two fatty acids come straight from fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, black cod, herring, anchovies, and albacore tuna.

Both EPA and DHA are important components of cell membranes in both humans and animals, these unique fatty acids act as signals in cells to decrease inflammation. Less inflammation leads to less pain, redness, and swelling in the skin, joints, or other organs (inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease). 

EPA acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping with any condition that causes inflammation of the heart, kidneys, skin, and joints (such as arthritis). EPA can also ease inflammation due to allergies, and reduce itchy skin and dandruff, as well as be an effective way to decrease the incidence of hot spots on your pup. Fish oil has been proven to promote a shiny, healthy coat, as well as a reduction in shedding. 

DHA, the other omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, is important in brain and eye development in puppies. Giving fish oil to pregnant or nursing pups can benefit the babies once they’re born. Some studies have shown that fish oil even slowed the growth of cancer, and some Veterinarians recommend it for any pets with cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA, also act to promote neuron development. This fatty acid affects cell permeability and the growth of nerve cells. So when a puppy’s nervous system is developing in the first few months of life (and even while developing before birth), delivering ideal amounts of DHA is important for optimal development. It also helps to improve cognitive function in older dogs.

So how do you give this amazing supplement to your pup? Fish oil for dogs comes in a soft gel or liquid form. If your pup will cooperate, give them the soft gel to eat, hide it in their food (which is what I do) or a pill pocket. If your pet has no interest in swallowing the soft gel, use a clean pin or a small knife to open the pill, and squeeze the liquid onto your pet’s food.

I stress one more time in this post to ALWAYS consult your own Veterinarian before giving anything to your pet that they have yet to receive! 

Sources and further reading:

https://keepthetailwagging.com/is-fish-oil-safe-for-dogs/

http://m.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ktudor/2013/aug/the-dangers-of-too-much-fish-oil-30731

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/pets-pet-care/fish-oil-for-dogs/

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_9/features/Fish-Oil-Supplements-For-Dogs_20600-1.html

http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diet-nutrition/five-dog-diseases-fish-oil-can-help-treat