The Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs

Using fish oil for dogs to supplement their regular food can help keep your dog strong and healthy. Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, a dietary component that has been found to strengthen and support many of your dog’s structures and systems. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are essential for the healthy functioning of cells in the brain, nervous system, eyes, hormones and organs.

Benefits of Fish Oil in Your Dog’s Diet

  • Cancer prevention – Many veterinarians are now prescribing fish oil as a supplement for dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer as the omega-3’s slow down the growth and spread of cancer cells.
  • Treatment of arthritis – Fish oil reduces the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis by reducing the inflammation associated with the disease. EPA protects the tissue that lines the joint, reducing the effects that enzymes have upon the tissue.
  • Prevent heart disease – Fish oil has a mild “blood thinning” effect, essentially reducing the pressure on the cardiovascular system and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
  • Improve cholesterol levels – The introduction of higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet helps to prevent the build-up of unhealthy cholesterol levels, reducing the build-up of arterial plaque.
  • Maintain healthy skin and coat – EPA and DHA are important components in the health and well-being of your dog’s skin and coat.
  • Supports emotional health – Many dogs who experience separation anxiety, are nervous or depressed often experience a calming effect with the addition of fish oil to their diet.

Dosage Requirements for Fish Oil

While many dog foods now promote that they are fortified with fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids, the levels added to the food are typically not sufficient for relieving a pre-existing condition. Adding fish oil to your dog’s diet can be done through the use of chewable tablets, capsules or bottled fish oil. Capsules and tablets are easy to give, but frequently provide excessive omega-3’s for smaller dogs. In these cases it is easy to draw up the correct amount in a dosing syringe and add it to your dog’s dog food.

Basic supplementation indicates that a dog should receive 20 mg of fish oil for each pound of weight. To calculate your dog’s dosage, simply multiply his weight by 20. As an example, a 15 pound dog would receive 300 mg of fish oil daily. If your dog has been diagnosed with something like arthritis or cancer, he will need additional fish oil to combat the effects of the condition. Consult your veterinarian for dosing recommendations to support the particular condition.

Use of fish oil as a skin and coat supplement has been an accepted practice for a long time. As the use increased, additional benefits have been recognized. Many veterinarians now use fish oil supplementation as the base to treating a variety of conditions because of its benefits to a wide variety of cellular functions. Even if your dog isn’t fighting a health condition, you can know you are providing him a healthy supplement that can prevent the onset of a variety of conditions.