Fish Oil For Dogs: Benefits, Side Effects, And Choosing The Right Supplement
There’s an abundance of research, in species from mice to dogs to humans, that shows omega-3’s benefits for heart health, joint health, immune system function, and more.
It’s the gold standard for what we’ve always called “healthy fats.”
Fish oil is one of the best sources of these omega-3s. and dogs can tap into these benefits in similar ways to humans.
And, mammals can’t produce them naturally, so our pup needs to get them from food or from supplements.
Fish Oil Can Improve Your Pup’s Overall Health
We’ll get into the specific ways fish oil can improve your dog’s health. But broadly speaking, omega-3s balance out their diet.
As we’ve discussed, most dog food and supplement manufacturers lace their products with crappy ingredients. This means our dog’s diet often contains crappy, by-product meat and refined grains like corn and low-quality vegetable oils which are high in omega-6.
While there are alot of necessary steps we can take to improve our dog’s health, we can balance out these oils high in omega-6 by increasing omega-3 intake.
Dogs (and humans, for that matter)) with insufficient omega-3s are more likely to suffer from heart problems, high blood pressure, joint pain, arthritis, and cognitive decline. Basically, everything deteriorates. A high-quality fish oil supplement at a modest, regular dose can offset this.
What Are The Benefits of Fish Oil For Dogs?
As we foreshadowed, the benefits of fish oil can target specific areas. If your pup struggles with these in particular, then there’s even more reason to invest in a fish oil supplement.
Also, depending on the intended purpose, you can vary the dose.
Joint Health and Arthritis
Fish oil is an anti-inflammatory. As the term implies, this means it reduces inflammation. Inflammation causes a whole host of problems, most obviously it causes pain. So by reducing inflammation, we can reduce pain.
This is exactly how over-the- counter NSAIDs like Advll (ibuprofen) work, except they’re much stronger than fish oil and come at the cost of negative long-term health problems, for all mammals including dogs.
If your pup needs anti-inflammatory support, fish oil will provide a safer route. It can even help them ween off of NSAIDs.
In one study of osteoarthritic dogs, 16 weeks of fish improved everything from pain, to quality of life, while reducing the amount of NSAIDs their owners gave them.
For older dogs who struggle with mobility, fish oil can help them regain joint movement.
If your dog has arthritis or other joint problems, then you can use a higher dose than those using fish oil for overall health.
A typical dose of fish oil contains 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids. These dogs should look at taking a higher dose. Just make sure to add it gradually into their diet, instead of all at once.
Heart Health, Blood Pressure, Skin and Hair Support
A fish oil supplement will improve your dog’s health across the board. In particular, though, fish oil has been shown to support a healthy heart (and maintain healthy blood pressure). Many pet owners report that their pups have a healthier sheen back to their skin and hair. In the same 16-week study, owners reported a healthier glow to their elder pups.
Fish oil is not just for elder dogs with joint, heart, or hair problems. In fact, giving it to your puppy can help prevent a lot of these problems before they come up.
Specific to puppies, the healthy omega-3 fats aid in proper brain and eye development. For that young developing brain, fish oil supports a smart pup that will listen to you when you tell them to drop the ball.
Similarly, older dogs with cognitive decline can see a boost from fish oil. Fish oil is a rare supplement with benefits for a wide range of populations. And because the domesticated dog diet doesn’t include as many omega-3s as their wolf ancestors, most dogs have some deficiency.
What Are The Side Effects of Fish Oil For Dogs?
As long as you’re sticking to the dose, your dog shouldn’t experience any side effects. Because it’s an oil, at higher doses it could cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
To avoid this, gradually introduce the supplement into their diet.
If you plan on increasing the dose, which is often the prescription for arthritic dogs, do so slowly over several weeks.
How Do I Choose a Good Fish Oil Supplement For My Doggo?
As we’ve written about at length, the pet supplement industry has a huge problem. In sum, it’s the only industry with FDA approval to not follow FDA regulations. The FDA has specific, explicit exceptions just for pet products.
It’s a complete mess.
This means pet supplement companies can put heavy metals, toxins, and cheap crappy grains into their products without telling the consumer.
That’s why you should look for companies with third-party verification of their products, and that what’s on the label is what’s in these products, and who are transparent about these common problems. If they’re not talking about it, there’s a good chance they’re a part of it.
In fact, this frustration with an industry that doesn’t really care for our pups and their health is why we started Pup Labs, and why our fish oil supplement is one of, if not the, purest product on the market.
Learn more about Pup Labs fish oil and our transparent manufacturing processes.