One of the most popular supplements for people is fish oil. You’ll often see it advertised on the label of supplements, along with DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, two of its main components. But why? Is it that healthy and, if so, can I give my dog fish oil?
Like many vitamins and supplements, giving fish oil to dogs should be discussed with your vet. Many dogs don’t need any supplements, especially if they’re good eaters of balanced meals and in good overall health.
However, veterinarians often conclude that a fish oil good for dogs has several anti-inflammatory and overall health benefits. In fact, fish oil supplements are one of the most-recommended by vets, even for healthy dogs.
But, as with any supplement, it’s important to do your research to answer, “Is fish oil good for my dog?”. It may not be for every dog, so giving fish oil to dogs should be something you seriously consider before doing so.
What Is Fish Oil? What Are The Benefits Of Fish Oil?
Fish oil can come from eating fish or taking a supplement. Since most dogs don’t eat fish, aside from some in their food, your vet may recommend a fish oil supplement. But what are the benefits of fish oil, and is it a necessary supplement?
Fish oil can help a number of ailments and functions within the body. The natural oil contains DHA and EPA, which are omega-3 fatty acids. They provide a wide range of health benefits, but find it difficult to survive in dog kibble. Therefore, the best way to get them is by eating fish, and secondarily, from a supplement.
Some of the general health benefits of fish oil include:
Weight Loss. Those trying to lose weight can take fish oil to help burn fat and strengthen muscle. Fish oil can also supply the body with energy for improved exercise.
Kidney Function. Fish oil can improve kidney function and can be prescribed for those with kidney failure, kidney disease, or kidney impairments related to diabetes or other disorders.
Heart And Blood Functions. Possibly the most common use for fish oil is to help treat heart-related ailments, like high blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also help prevent heart disease and stroke.
Brain Functions. Fish oil can help balance the moods of those suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and autism.
Immune System Function. Fish oil can help boost the immune system to help cancer patients gain strength, fight auto-immune diseases, and ward off infections in the body.
Skin Health. Fish oil can cure skin ailments, like psoriasis, eczema, and dry scalp, because of its conditioning properties.
Can I Give My Dog Fish Oil? What Does Fish Oil Do For Dogs?
Now that you know some of the general health benefits of fish oil, how does this translate to your dog? MaxxiDog explains some of the benefits of fish oil for dogs:
Fish oil is usually very safe for dogs and vets recommend it highly. Still, this doesn’t mean every dog needs it. Only your vet can determine that, based on your dog’s health history and current needs.
Dogs obviously don’t have the same bodies as humans, so let’s talk about how fish oil can benefit specifically benefit dogs:
Joint Health. Fish oil has an amazing way of strengthening and lubricating a dog’s joints for increased mobility and decreased pain. Dog breeds that are prone to joint issues can especially benefit from fish oil supplements.
Skin And Coat. Fish oil has soothing properties that can help regenerate healthy skin cells and provide essential oils to the skin and hair follicles. This leaves your dog with healthier skin and a shinier coat and can relieve dry, itchy skin.
Appetite. Fish oil can increase a dog’s appetite, or you can add it to your dog’s food for a more appealing flavor.
Boost Immunity. Your dog’s immune system can get a boost from fish oil. He will be more protected against infections and auto-immune diseases.
Energy-Level. Fish oil can increase a dog’s energy to make him more active, leading to weight loss and better overall health.
Heart Health. In addition to balancing out your dog’s heart and blood functions, fish oil can lead to weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and more.
How Much Fish Oil For A Dog Is Safe?
How much fish oil should I give my dog? And, how much fish oil for dogs is safe? These are questions that plague dog owners when deciding the balance between healthy and hazardous. A healthy dosage of fish oil for a dog depends on the dog’s health and any specific health issues he faces.
For a healthy dog to maintain healthy body processes, you can use the “Times 20” rule. First, multiply your dog’s weight by 20. So, a 30-pound dog’s number would be 600. Therefore, 600 mg of EPA is the target daily dose for a 30-pound dog.
You should make sure the supplement has Omega-3 listed, as this contains both EPA and DHA. But, look for the EPA dosage to make sure it matches the amount needed for your dog. DHA is usually fairly close to, but lower than, the EPA amount.
For dogs with specific dietary needs or health issues, consult your vet for the proper dosage.
Can Dogs Take Human Fish Oil Capsules?
Fish oil capsules for humans are typically safe for dogs, but proper dosage is key. There isn’t much difference in the two supplements, aside from their dosages. Always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog human fish oil capsules. Bring in the original bottle or packaging so he can look over it thoroughly and determine if it’s safe for your dog.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated with Fish Oil?
Although fish oil is usually a safe and effective supplement for dogs, it can have some side effects. Some of the common side effects of fish oil for dogs include:
Altered Platelets. Fish oil can potentially alter platelet functions that aid in blood clots in the event of blood loss.
Inflammatory Response. Since fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it can actually interfere with processes that need an inflammatory response, like combatting allergies and healing wounds.
Gastrointestinal Upset. Some dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain if their body cannot properly digest fish oil.
Oily Skin And Coat. For some dogs, fish oil can create an over-production of oils in the body, causing flaky skin and an oily coat.
As with any supplement for your dog, fish oil is one that needs to be considered carefully. It can provide a wide range of benefits to your dog’s health, from immune system functions to brain functions. However, if your dog gets plenty of DHA and EPA from its diet, a fish oil supplement can harm him.
Talk to your veterinarian to determine if you should give your dog fish oil and to find a fish oil good for dogs. He’ll be able to tell you how much fish oil for dogs is safe, and whether or not it’s safe at all for your dog.