- What is Fish Oil?
- Why Do Dogs Need Fish Oil and Salmon Oil?
- What are the Benefits of Fish Oil?
- Why is Salmon Oil Another Good Dietary Supplement?
- #1. Has anti-inflammatory properties
- #2. May lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol levels
- #3. Improves blood flow
- #4. May promote brain health
- #5. Improves skin and coat
- How Much Fish Oil Supplement Should You Give Your Dog?
- Why is it Important to Store Fish Oil for Dogs Properly?
Fish oil is one of the most popular supplements that pet owners are interested in. There are many health benefits from fish oil for dogs, as long as the ingredients truly contain Omega 3 fatty acids from a reputable supplier and if it is given at the correct dose for your beloved pet.
You might have heard about the rave about giving yourself fish oil, but then you hear about salmon oil. So what's the difference? Simply put, both are nutritionally the same; salmon oil, especially Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is pure and caught in the wild. Fish oil, on the other hand, can come from sardines, cod, krill, etc., and is mostly farmed.
What is Fish Oil?
First and foremost, fish oil is one of the best supplements to add to your dog's healthy diet. It contains "good" fats called Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for your dog's body and brain.
Like humans, dogs (and cats) can't produce Omega 3 fatty acids on their own. They need an external source of Omega 3s for their diet, just like we do.
Luckily, fish oil contains these Omega-3 fatty acids. The two main ingredients in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA are fatty acids that are more commonly known as Omega 3s. In nature, EPA and DH are bonded to a Carbon structure called glycerol. Together they are called a triglyceride, making fish oil a triglyceride.
Omega fatty acids are not naturally found in the body, but they are primarily found in cold-water fish, plant oils, nut oils, shellfish, and flaxseed.
Why Do Dogs Need Fish Oil and Salmon Oil?
Since Omega 3s are not naturally found in their bodies, they need an external source. That is where fish oil supplements come in.
Omega 3s help balances out Omega 6 fatty acids, which are commonly found in processed foods and grains. Since many dog food manufacturers contain meat from corn-fed animals or refined oils - both high in Omega 6 - dogs can have too much Omega 6 in their diet. This becomes a problem when there is too much Omega 6 and not nearly enough Omega 3. A good balance is essential, so fish oil supplements - like cod oil and salmon oil - will benefit your pet.
Depending on your dog's general health, medical history, and diet, fish oil can either be a temporary boost or part of their long-term health plans.
What are the Benefits of Fish Oil?
Fish oil is known to offer the following benefits thanks to the Omega 3 fatty acids it contains.
- Protects the heart
- Provides support for dry, flaky skin and allergies
- It helps slow down the progression of kidney disease
- Supports cognitive functions
- Supports healthy blood triglyceride levels
While fish oil is a healthy supplement, salmon oil is an alternative that was recently introduced into the market. Salmon oil is a good source of Omega 3s for humans, too. Please keep reading to find out how it can keep your dog healthy!
Why is Salmon Oil Another Good Dietary Supplement?
You have probably heard of salmon oil for dogs in the market but aren't familiar with its health benefits.
We have narrowed down the six reasons you should consider giving your dog salmon oil as a good source of Omega 3s.
#1. Has anti-inflammatory properties
Naturally, your dog's immune system has a good inflammatory response. However, excessive inflammation can give rise to chronic diseases like heart problems and even diabetes.
Research shows that Omega 3 fats in salmon oil can suppress the inflammatory responses in many ways and even manage symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis and heart diseases among aging dogs.
#2. May lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol levels
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. High levels of triglycerides are actually a risk factor for heart disease. HDL cholesterol - or the "good" cholesterol - is known for having protective effects on heart health. Research shows that salmon oil can lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol in dog's bodies (and humans, too). A steady consumption of salmon oil improves the concentration and composition of fats in the blood.
#3. Improves blood flow
Omega 3 fats found in salmon oil are used up by dog's bodies and help relax blood vessels, leading to an improved flow and reduced blood pressure.
DHA and EPA supplements have been found to improve oxygen delivery among active dogs.
#4. May promote brain health
It's no secret that Omega 3 fats are important for brain development, even among children. Now research suggests that it can even help among the cognitive function of dogs, especially older ones.
An adequate intake of DHA in a dog's diet helps reduce the risk for cognitive dysfunction and memory loss, thus improving your dog's brain health.
#5. Improves skin and coat
When you give your dog fish oil supplements, the Omega 3 fats actually improve their skin and coat as well. Omega 3s in salmon oil contribute to healthy skin because of its anti-inflammatory effects. It can help alleviate the itchy, dry, flaky, or allergy-prone skin problems of your dog. Furthermore, it boosts their immune system to speed up wound healing whenever they scratch at their dry skin.
Incorporating salmon oil into your dog's diet is easy because it comes in many supplement forms like tablets, liquid, or soft gels. There are even dog food and treats made from farmed or wild-caught salmon - surely your dog will enjoy these flavors!
How Much Fish Oil Supplement Should You Give Your Dog?
The most potent source of EPA and DHA is fish oil. You can support your dog's health by giving them a steady supply of fish oil supplements, whole fish (anchovies, sardines, salmon), or feeding a prescription food that contains high levels of fish oil. However, if you feed your dog whole fish, there are risks between wild-caught and farmed salmon. Salmon is also not the most affordable or sustainable choice, so keep this in mind as you look for a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
While flaxseed and plant oils (like linseed or canola oil) also contain fatty acids, these are not readily processed by your dog's body. They cannot metabolize it sufficiently to treat problems like arthritis, allergies, and kidney disease. Flaxseed products contain high concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, which is also a fatty acid. Still, dogs and cats have minimal ability to convert ALA to DHA or EPA. We recommend choosing whole fish or fish oil supplements as a source of Omega 3 instead of flaxseed and plant oils. But before purchasing any product and giving it to your dog, consult with a trusted veterinarian first.
Generally, the recommended dose of fish oil is 75-100mg/kg total EPA/DHA. Please take note that there is an upper limit on how much Omega 3 is good for them. Overdosing with Omega 3 can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, altered platelet function, delayed wound healing, weight gain, and altered immune functions. It is vital to take your veterinarian's advice and never give more than the recommended amount.
The dosage is based on your dog's body weight, size, and age. The ideal dose should be the total of EPA + DHA, not necessarily the total Omega 3 content. You can refer to the information listed on the supplement package on the total Omega 3 content to determine what dose to give your dog.
Typically, the most common side effect is diarrhea, especially at higher doses. Professionals recommend gradually increasing the daily dose of Omega 3s until you reach the recommended dose for your pet's weight.
Why is it Important to Store Fish Oil for Dogs Properly?
Fish oils are highly prone to oxidation, so it is crucial to store them from light and open air. The formula of fish oil supplements should contain adequate levels of Vitamin E or other antioxidants as preservatives. However, if preservatives are not added, the product must be refrigerated. Also, take note of the expiration date so your dog can achieve its full benefit.
There are many options for fish oils with Omega 3s in the market. Keep an eye out for high-quality products that will surely be good and healthy for your dog.
It would help if you always bought the triglyceride formulation (the natural formulation) of fish oils and from a reputable company. Not all fish oils are created equal. Some are not even FDA regulated. Always purchase from a high-quality brand that passed quality assurance tests for purity, accuracy, and safety. Your dog deserves no less!