Today that’s just what I want to talk about!
Firstly, I want to talk about what the benefits of fish oil are for your dog and secondly, I want to touch on the different types of fish oil.
What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil For Dogs?
The benefits of fish oil are found in the omega fatty acids particularly DHA and EPA.
These fatty acids can be found in whole fish, fish oils, and fish oil capsules.
Fish oil pumps or fish oil capsules are the most concentrated forms of omega fatty acids and are the preferred method of supplementing dogs with adequate omega fatty acid levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Vs Omega-6 Fatty Acids
The two fatty acids that give fish oil its benefits are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Both of these fatty acid groups are important to the optimal functioning of the body.
Omega-3’s which include EPA, DHA and ALA, are particularly important to cell health and hormone production.
Omega-6’s which are made from polyunsaturated fats, are particularly important to muscle growth, hormone production, and brain function. Unfortunately, omega-6 fatty acids also have the side effect of causing damage and inflammation within the body so it’s important to eat fewer omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3’s.
The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is debated, but it sits somewhere around 1:5, that is 1 omega-3 for every omega-6.
Many commercial dog foods already include omega fatty acid supplements, however, they are rarely well balanced so take this into account when supplementing your dog with fish oil!
Why are Omega fatty acids beneficial to your dog?
Fish Oil For Dogs: Skin and Coat Benefits
Fish oil fatty acids help to hydrate the skin as well as reduce inflammation of the skin. This makes them ideal for dogs with allergies, mange, skin infections, or just dry skin!
Fatty acids are great for your dog’s coat too. They help to strengthen weak hair shafts, provide shine by moisturizing, and thicken out thinning coats!
Fish Oil For Dogs: Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
One of the most appealing benefits of fish oil for dogs is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation is caused in part by cytokines and prostaglandins. The omega fatty acids in fish oil block these substances and the body then converts them into anti-inflammatory resolvins! This makes fish oil great for dogs with joint problems or arthritis!
Fish Oil For Dogs: Immune System Benefits
Fish oil doesn’t only assist the immune system by reducing swelling throughout the body, but it also enhances the activity of B-cells in the body. What are B-cells? They are the white blood cells that are responsible for antibody secretion. This helps the body to protect itself against foreign or toxic substances!
Fish oil is helpful for boosting the immune system of chronically ill dogs as well as aging dogs with compromised immune systems.
Fish Oil For Dogs: Mental Development and Cognitive Function
In early life and during fetal development, the brain requires fatty acids to develop. Deficiency in these fatty acids can result in malformation of the central nervous system or slowed mental development. Luckily, these fatty acids can be found in fish oil!
Fish oil fatty acids aren’t just beneficial for young and developing dogs, though! The omega fatty acids in fish oil are also beneficial for the cognitive function of adult and aging dogs. They are particularly important to nourish the brain of older dogs experiencing canine cognitive dementia and sundowning!
Fish Oil For Dogs: Reduced Blood Pressure
The omega fatty acids in fish oil have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. Contrary to popular belief, dogs can suffer from high blood pressure, particularly as a result of a primary health condition. Fish oil can be a good method of controlling a dog’s minimally elevated blood pressure rather than relying on prescription medications.
Fish Oil For Dogs: Cardiovascular Support
Fish oils are also noted to be beneficial for heart health due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Dogs with heart disease, in particular, can benefit from this controlled inflamation. The heart protecting properties of omega fatty acids aren’t only for dogs with compromised cardiovascular systems, however, they are also beneficial in guarding against heart disease.
Fish Oil For Dogs: Renal Support
Multiple studies have shown that fish oil can be beneficial for dogs with compromised renal systems. No one is quite sure why this is yet, but dogs with kidney failure who took fish oil supplements lived longer on average than those who didn’t.
Fish Oil For Dogs: Cancer Fighting Properties
Deficiencies in fatty acids have been linked to the development of certain types of cancer including breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Being particularly prone to cancer, most if not all breeds of dog can benefit from fish oil supplementation.
Fish Oil For Dogs: Weight Loss Benefits
Fish oil has also been linked to increased weight loss when combined with restricted calorie intake. What does that mean for your dog? It means that if your dog has some weight to lose and they are on a restricted calorie diet, they are going to lose more weight with the addition of a fish oil supplement.
The Different Fish Oil Types
You have likely noticed that there are different types of fish oil on the market and I frequently hear people asking about the difference between the different types. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Salmon oil is one of the most preferred fish oils for dogs. We like the Raw Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil ($35.99 / 16 fl.oz) because it’s from wild caught not farmed salmon. It’s also human grade, contains no hormones, no preservatives, and it’s made in the U.S.
What are the benefits of salmon oil?
Salmon oil is particularly high in EPA and DHA – the fatty acids that provide skin and coat benefits as well as cognitive and nerve function benefits!
Salmon oil also has high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids which are beneficial for overall health.
It is important, however, to always use a high-quality salmon oil like Raw Paws and to always give your dog the correct dose – starting with the minimum dose. Too much salmon oil can cause tummy upset!
What you need to know about Raw Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
Price: $35.99 / 16 fl.oz
Ingredients: 100% Wild-Caught Salmon Oil
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 30%
DHA (min): 9.0%
EPA (min): 11.0%
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 7% (min)
Pollock oil is another type of fish oil that is preferred by many pet owners because it is often lower in cost than salmon oil ($13.50 / 16 fl.oz). The difference between salmon oil and pollock oil, however, is that where salmon oil has high levels of EPA and DHA and Omega-6 fatty acids, pollock oil has high EPA levels, low DHA levels, and low Omega-6 content.
What are the benefits of pollock oil?
Where salmon oil provides high EPA and DHA, pollock oil provides high EPA which is beneficial for dogs that only need the skin and coat benefits of fish oil.
Again, it is important to purchase a high-quality pollock oil supplement like Grizzly and to heed serving size recommendations!
What you need to know about Grizzly Pollock Oil
Price: $13.50 / 16 fl.oz
Ingredients: Pollock Oil, Tocopherols
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 22.0% (min)
DHA (min): 6.0%
EPA (min): 12.0%
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 1.5% (min)
Fish oil blends like Only Natural Pet Pure Oil Blend with Krill and Cod Liver Oil are another fish oil option for supplementing your dog’s diet. We like the Only Natural Pet brand of fish oil blend because they comply with Friend of the Sea sustainability requirements and their oil blend is more bioavailable.
What are the benefits of fish oil blends?
This type of fish oil blend not only delivers the benefits of high EPA and DHA levels, but it also offers the astaxanthins and natural phospholipids of krill oil that can be found nowhere else. The combination of phospholipids and astaxanthins enhance the anti-oxidant properties of fish oil. Krill is also a good source of antioxidants because unlike fish, krill does not accumulate heavy metals like mercury.
A fish oil blend like this one is going to cost more than other fish oil options ($39.99 / 8 fl.oz), but it is the very best resource for dogs suffering serious arthritis or joint complaints or canine cognitive dysfunction with sundowning.
What you need to know about Only Natural Pet Pure Oil Blend with Krill and Cod Liver Oil
Price: $39.99 / 8 fl.oz
Ingredients: Cod Liver Oil, Krill Oil, Vitamin E
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 22.0%/880 mg
DHA (min): 9.0%/420 mg
EPA (min): 8.0%/380 mg
Vitamin A: 3000 IU
Vitamin D: 300 IU
Phospholipids: 2.5%/95 mg
Astaxanthin: 200 mcg
What You Need to Know About Fish Oil For Dogs
All fish oil should be stored in a cool dark place and not exposed to sunlight or heat.
Some supplements will require you to store them in the refrigerator after opening.
Dosing of fish oil supplements depends on the supplement you use, your dog’s size and their health. Pay attention to dosing details on the back of your supplement bottle and always start with the lowest dosing and work your way up if needed.
Too much fish oil will cause gastric upset.