Fish oils contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial to your dog’s health, but they do carry a risk of toxicity when given in large doses and can cause Vitamin E deficiency, which in turn can lead to health problems and even death.
Is fish oil good for dogs?
Fish oil is great for your dog’s overall health. It contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.
These fatty acids are found naturally in cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, and herring, but you can also find them in supplements or foods that include fish as an ingredient.
Fish oil can help prevent or reduce inflammation in dogs with conditions such as osteoarthritis, allergies, or inflammatory bowel disease. It also helps to improve skin and coat health by providing essential fatty acids that are missing from many commercial dog foods.
If you’re considering giving your dog fish oil supplements, there are some important things you should know.
- First, be sure to purchase a high-quality supplement that has been tested for safety and purity by a third-party company like Consumer Labs.
- Second, you should consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplement regimen for your dog—especially if your dog is currently taking other medications or has preexisting conditions. Your vet will be able to recommend the dosage based on your pet’s weight and other factors.
Can I give my dog fish oil everyday?
Although there are many health benefits to giving your dog fish oil, it is important not to give your dog more than they need. While the benefits of fish oil are plentiful, you should consult a veterinarian before beginning to supplement your dog’s diet with fish oil.
Most dog foods contain omega-3 fatty acids already, so it is unnecessary to add more on top of that. When recommended by a veterinarian for specific health issues, fish oil can be an excellent addition to a dog’s meal plan. However, giving your dog too much fish oil can have negative and even dangerous side effects.
What happens if I give my dog too much fish oil?
As beneficial as these supplements are, it is possible to overdo and give your dog too much fish oil, which can lead to acute vitamin E deficiency. If your dog is suffering from vitamin E deficiency, you might notice some of the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness and degeneration
- Leg swelling
- Decreased vision
- Skin problems
- Weight loss
- Decreased fertility
- Changes in behavior or other neurological problems
- Impaired immunity
I almost killed my dog with fish oil?
Like any supplement or medication, there are risks associated with giving your dog fish oil as well as benefits. The good news is that the risks of giving your dog fish oil are very low.
The side effects of fish oil in dogs are generally mild and short-lived. The most common fish oil side effects in dogs are vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. However, keep in mind that every dog is different and some may experience adverse reactions to fish oil supplements.
Adverse reactions from taking too much omega-3 fatty acids include increased thirst and urination; vomiting; diarrhea; bleeding; loss of appetite; weakness; bruising easily; pale gums; muscle tremors or cramps; seizures; coma and death.
Some dogs have an allergic reaction to fish oil supplements, so if your dog has never been exposed to fish before, it’s best to start with a very small amount and see how her body reacts before giving her more. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, hives, and swelling. If this happens, stop using fish oil immediately and contact your veterinarian for further instructions.
There are no known contraindications for giving your dog fish oil supplements. If your dog has any allergies or sensitivities to fish or other types of seafood, it’s best to ask your veterinarian before giving them any type of supplement containing fish products.
Some medications can negatively interact with fish oil supplements. These include anticoagulants, blood pressure medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. The combined effect of these drugs on the body could be dangerous if you give them together with fish oil supplements.
“I’ve been giving my dog fish oil for a while now, and have noticed that his coat has gotten better and he seems happier overall. But after I’d been administering a higher dose, he started to act strangely: he was lethargic and couldn’t walk without trembling. As it turned out, I’d given him too much fish oil in one day, which caused him to develop a vitamin E deficiency. This can lead to permanent muscle damage. Luckily for me and my dog, his condition was reversible with vitamin E supplementation. Bottom line: don’t give your dog more than the recommended daily dose of fish oil.”
“When I was first reading about the benefits of fish oil for dogs, I never thought that I could accidentally overdose on my dog. But that’s just what happened to me. I had started giving my dog Max the right dose of fish oil after noticing how achy and stiff he’d become over the past year. A friend recommended fish oil as a way to ease his joint pain, and after reading up on it I agreed. We got him started at a low dose of one capsule daily, and over time we gradually increased the amount of capsules to two per day. After about four weeks, though, Max was looking worse rather than better—his skin had become dry and flaky, his coat was dull and lifeless, and worst of all he seemed to be suffering from muscle weakness. When we took him for a walk he would stop often to rest, and sometimes he would even have trouble getting up from a sitting position. We were worried! Since this was not the kind of improvement we were expecting from our new supplement regimen, we decided to stop giving him fish oil altogether—and within days he was back to his old self again: walking without stopping or stuttering, his skin was no longer dry and flaky—it was back to its usual glossy.”
Alternative to fish oil for dogs
Here are alternatives that can be used in place of fish oil:
Both krill and fish accumulate omega-3s by eating algae, so they have a similar nutritional profile. However, krill oil has two advantages over traditional fish oil: it contains higher amounts of DHA and EPA (the two essential fatty acids), and it’s less likely to be contaminated with pollutants, such as mercury and heavy metals.
Flaxseed is a plant source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, maintain joint flexibility, and even improve their digestion. In addition to its health benefits, flaxseed oil is more eco-friendly than fish oil because it is not harvested from the sea.
Hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil, which is an all-natural source of essential fatty acids, has been shown in studies to have the same positive effects on dogs’ coats as fish oil. Some studies have shown that hemp may provide benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, balanced immune function, healthy skin, and coat.
Pumpkin seed oil
The pumpkin seed oil contains high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids while also being low in calories and saturated fats. It’s also rich in zinc, which helps with skin regeneration and healing wounds. It has been shown to help with problems such as seasonal allergies and hair loss by healing the skin from the inside out, so it’s effective both as an inflammatory agent and as an emollient.
Conclusion of fish oil for dogs
Fish oil is one of the best supplements to add to your dog’s diet. It can help to relieve symptoms of allergies and arthritis, as well as help with heart health. If your dog is suffering from any of these ailments, then fish oil may be a good addition to his or her daily routine.
You should talk to your vet before giving your pet any sort of supplement, including fish oil.