Making sure that your dog is eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of your main responsibilities as a dog owner. It is important that your dog gets all the right nutrients to stay healthy, and it is just as important that you avoid giving them anything that is potentially harmful. Therefore, it is important that you always check before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet. Fish oil has many health benefits for humans, and this leads many dog owners to wonder if the same benefits apply to their dog. So, is it safe to give your dog fish oil?
Is Fish Oil Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Generally, fish oil is a safe food to give your dog as part of a healthy and balanced diet. In most cases, your dog will not come to any harm if you give them this food, and they may even benefit from the nutritional properties of the food. Fish oil contains a good balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There are often not enough omega-3 fatty acids in processed food, and sometimes there are too many omega-3 acids. Adding fish oil to a dog’s diet can rectify that imbalance.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Feeding Fish Oil to Your Dog?
Research by nutritionists and veterinarians has shown that there are multiple benefits of including fish oil in your dog’s diet, and this is because of the omega fatty acids that they contain. According to Dog Swim, the many benefits of eating fish oil for dogs include:
- Healthy skin with reduced dryness and irritation
- Improved coat health and reduced shedding
- Decreased inflammation
- Increased stamina
- Induces a dog’s appetite
- Reduced joint discomfort
- Renewed energy
- Protection against auto-immune diseases
- Steady triglyceride levels
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- Antioxidant properties that reduce cancer risk
- Reduced risk of heart problems or stroke
- Aids cognitive development in puppies
- Improves cognitive function in older dogs
These benefits mean that fish oil is often beneficial for dogs that are suffering from certain health conditions and that it can also reduce the likelihood of them developing some serious health conditions in the future.
Are There Any Potential Dangers to Giving a Dog Fish Oil?
Although there are many benefits for dogs who have fish oil included in their diet, Dogs Naturally Magazine notes that there are also some potential dangers. They note that the omega-3 fats in the fish oil are what gives the most benefits, but there are some risk factors linked to the omega-6 fats that fish oil contains. Omega-6 fats have been linked to inflammation, and this can then lead to other problems. When a dog has excess inflammation in its body, it has an increased risk of suffering from allergies, joint pain, diabetes, and auto-immune disorders. Another point to note is that the long-term use of fish oil as a supplement to a grain-based diet can deplete vitamin E levels, says the American Kennel Club. This may mean that you also need to supplement the vitamin E.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Fish Oil?
Many dog foods already contain fish oil. If you look at the nutritional values of the food and see any omega fatty acids listed, then it is likely that you are already giving your dog fish oil without realizing. Not all dog foods contain fish oil, but there are ways that you can add this ingredient into your dog’s diet so that they can reap the rewards. The first option is to feed your dog a food that naturally contains fish oil, such as salmon or oily fish. You should always make sure you have removed the bones first. Another option is to give your dog fish oil supplements, which you can add to their food. There are three types of fish oil supplements available for dogs. These are:
- Natural triglyceride oil- This is the most natural form of fish oil and it is the easiest for dogs to absorb. The downside is that it can contain contaminants because it is not purified.
- Ethyl ester oil- This is a concentrated and distilled form of fish oil that has the impurities removed.
- Synthetic triglyceride oil- This is synthetic, so it is the one that is the least easily absorbed.
How Often Should You Give Your Dog Fish Oil?
Giving your dog a daily dose of fish oil can benefit their health. If you are giving them supplements, check the guidelines for how often you should give them to your dog. In most cases, you will only need to give your dog one supplement per day. Your veterinarian may recommend a short-term plan of taking fish oil to support recovery from some conditions. They may also recommend long-term use of supplements to complement your dog’s regular diet. Before adding fish oil supplements to your dog’s diet, it is always best to check with your veterinarian first, especially if your dog has an underlying health condition. Your veterinarian can give you advice regarding how much to give your dog and if they even need it at all to supplement their diet.
Feeding Your Dog Fish Oil – The Final Verdict
Generally, fish oil is safe for dogs to eat, and it is even included in some dog foods. If it is not included in their food, you can add foods to their diet that naturally include omega fatty acids. Alternatively, there are various supplements you can buy that contain fish oil. Before giving these to your dog, it is best to speak to your veterinarian. Giving your dog fish oil can create a good balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This can have a lot of short-term and long-term benefits for your dog’s health. Therefore, it can contribute to your dog having a healthy and balanced diet that meets all its nutritional needs and helps them to stay healthy.