Omega-3s can provide many health benefits for your dog, but it’s important to know what exactly is in your pup’s omega-3 supplement. The best fish oil for dogs should:
- come from fish oils, not vegetable oils
- be rich in long-chain omega-3s
- be in the right amounts to prevent overdoses
- come from the right kind of fish, to avoid exposing your dog to heavy metals
Keep reading to find out all the details about why these paw-somely healthy supplements are so great for your pup!
8 minute read
Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs
Human-grade omega-3 supplements have been popular for decades, and now omega-3s are getting super pup-ular as a healthy supplement for dogs too.
And with good reason! You could argue that omega-3s are the single most potent supplement you can add to your dog’s diet.
Among other things, omega-3s can:
- protect our dogs’ hearts
- strengthen their immune systems
- slow down kidney disease
- soothe arthritis and help their joints
- help them with itchy skin due to allergies
- reduce mental decline (similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans)
It’s even been shown to slow down cancer!
Lio and Remy, who are both German shepherds, love what their omega-3 supplement does for their paw-some, luxurious coats. Ace, the fox terrier, has multiple allergies that his omega-3 supplement helps him with. Bruno, the English bulldog, counts on his omega-3s to help him stay healthy and strong. Finally, senior Labrador Cody takes them to help him stay sharp, playful, and loving life.
Of course, we all want to help our dogs to stay as healthy as they can for as long as they can. But are omega-3 supplements the right choice for your pup?
And what about dog foods that claim to have omega-3’s in them? Is your dog’s kibble or wet food enough to give your canine companion the health boost they need?
Also, if you decide to give your dog an omega-3 supplement, there are literally dozens to choose from! How’s a pet parent to know which one is best? And can’t you just give them the same one you take?
Keep reading to learn all about omega-3s and the best way to make sure your beloved furry family member is getting the right dose of these paw-some nutrients!
Fish Oil vs. Omega-3 – What’s the Difference
People may mean the same thing when they say “fish oil” and “omega 3,” but there is a difference!
“Fish oil” means oil that comes from a fish’s fat and tissues. It has omega-3s in it, but it also can have other elements in it.
“Omega-3” or “omega-3 fatty acids” are very specific nutrients found in fish oil.
Fish don’t actually make omega-3s – their food does! Microscopic algae make the omega-3s, then tiny creatures called phytoplankton eat the algae, and the fish eat the phytoplankton. Over time, the fish builds up a little storehouse of omega-3s inside itself.
This is really important news for our pups because their bodies can’t make omega-3s on their own – they need to eat them.
Can’t My Dog Get Omega-3s from His Food?
The non-scientific answer? Probably not.
Now for the scientific bit.
There are three types of omega-3s you’ll see mentioned a lot: ALA, DHA, and EPA.
ALA is what’s called a short-chain omega-3, and you can find it in a lot of oils made from plants, like flaxseed, soybean, walnut, and canola oils.
DHA and EPA are the long-chain omega-3s, and that’s what comes from fish.
You may think, “But they’re all omega-3s, right? Wouldn’t they all help my dog?”
The Differences Between Fish and Veggie Omega-3’s
When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, extensive research has shown that fish oil long-chains are the ones that have all the health benefits, and the little veggie oil short-chains just provide energy.
The problem comes when a concerned pet parent starts looking for foods full of omega-3s to help their pup live their best life.
Pet foods can say they have omega-3s, but legally they don’t have to say what kind. You may think you’re getting those heart-healthy omega-3s that come from fish oil, but if you look at the ingredients you may only see vegetable or nut oils!
Why Omega-3’s in Food Might Not Be Enough
Another factor to consider is how your pet’s food is made.
Omega-3s are temperature sensitive. Most commercial dog food is made at very high temperatures. That means that even if your food started out full of fishy omega-3 goodness, it may not have survived the manufacturing process.
Even if you feed your dog a raw diet, your furry friend may be missing out on their omega-3s if you’re not adding seafood or fish oils to their diet in sufficient quantity.
For all these reasons, it is recommended you guarantee your canine companion is getting their daily dose of the right kind of omega-3s from a supplement specially formulated for his particular doggy needs.
Can I Give My Dog Human Fish Oil or Omega-3 Supplements?
The short answer is maybe, but there are dangers.
Some human fish oil supplements have additives that are not safe for dogs, and it can be difficult to figure out what is and isn’t pup-friendly or pup-safe. For example, some human supplements have Vitamin D added – that can be toxic for your dog!
If it’s pure oil, it’s likely safe, but there’s another major factor to consider: dosage.
Human omega-3 supplements are made for, well, humans. Those pills are human-sized-portions, not dog-sized.
As with most supplements, if your dog gets “too much of a good thing” it can cause problems. A dog who overdoses on omega-3s can have vomiting, diarrhea, problems with blood clotting, and more.
To ensure your furry friend gets the omega-3 that’s right for them – and in the right amount – it’s always best to use an omega-3 supplement that’s made for dogs.
However, if you do decide to give your dog a human omega-3 supplement, please speak with your veterinarian first. That way you can be sure you are giving your dog the correct dosage and that the supplement doesn’t have any ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
Speaking of dosages…
What’s the Best Dosage of Fish Oil for Dogs?
For healthy dogs, their weight is the number one factor in figuring out their dosage of omega-3.
Just like the size of our dogs determines how much food they need, it makes a difference in how much omega-3 they need.
The most important thing is not to overdose your canine companion, which can cause nasty side effects. The National Research Council’s guidelines for dogs states that “a dose between 20-55mg combined EPA and DHA per pound of body weight is safe for dogs.”
Figuring out what that means can be tricky – especially if you’re measuring out your dog’s daily dose by hand.
No one wants to make a math mistake that makes their dog sick – which is another reason it’s a good idea to buy omega-3 supplements that are already properly portioned for your pup. Our Omega-3 supplement clearly lists the recommended dosage based on body weight. It also lists the amount of EPA and DHA in every capsule, so you know your dog is safe.
If your furry friend has certain medical conditions like heart or kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend a specific (usually higher) dose.
What Is the Best Fish Oil for Dogs?
There are several things you’ll want to consider before choosing an omega-3 supplement for your dog.
1) Since most omega-3 comes in oil form, is it better to have the oil in a pump or in capsules?
Capsules are better than pumps for several reasons.
If it’s in a pump, it can easily go rancid – and then you have to throw half the bottle out! Also, if you’re pumping the oil over your dog’s food, they may not appreciate the strong odor – and you may not, either.
Capsules aren’t perfect either, though. Some dogs don’t like swallowing pills (or are experts at ignoring them when you hide them in their food). In that case, you’ll still have to break the capsule to pour it on his food – which makes it very easy to get oil everywhere!
If you have a large breed of dog, capsules can be difficult for another reason – your large dog will have to take a lot of them!
But what other options are there?
2) Are there any options besides pumps and oil-filled capsules of omega-3?
Yes. There are supplements that come in as powder-filled capsules instead, which makes them far easier to give to your dog.
Omega-3 by Pawsomely Healthy is one of them.
When choosing an omega-3 supplement, making sure that it’s easy for your dog to take is very important. After all, even if you’ve found the very best fish oil for dogs, it doesn’t matter if your dog won’t eat it.
Our powder-filled vegetable capsules are 100% edible, you can just put the capsule in a bowl with your dog’s food. If your dog isn’t a capsule-eating kind of dog, you can open it and pour the powder on top of his food instead.
3) What types of fish should a good omega-3 supplement get its fish oil from?
You’ve probably heard about heavy metals like arsenic, lead, or mercury turning up in fish. Sadly, this is true, which is why it’s very important to make sure the fish oil we give our pets is less likely to have those poisonous metals in it.
One of the best ways to do this is to be picky about what fish our dogs eat – and what fish their fish oil supplements come from.
The best fish oil for dogs will get those super-healthy long-chain omega-3s from small fatty fish with a short lifespan, like sardines or anchovies.
Here’s the science as to why: these little fish live off of tiny creatures called krill, who in turn eat phytoplankton. Since they’re so low in the food chain and also don’t live that long, they don’t have a lot of time to accumulate those poisonous metals. This keeps them safe and healthy to use for fish oil.
Larger fish like tuna, mackerel, and seabass live longer, giving them more time to build up those toxic metals in their bodies. They also are carnivorous and are closer to the top of the food chain, so they’re eating fish who ate fish who ate fish… and all the toxins those smaller fish have eaten or absorbed are passed up the line. This is why we don’t recommend feeding these types of fish – or their oils – to your pets.
The oil in Omega-3 by Pawsomely Healthy comes from wild-caught anchovies in the South Pacific so your furry family member can get all of the amazing benefits of those healthy omega-3s without the risk of having poisonous heavy metals in their diet.
4) What are good manufacturing standards for fish oil supplements for dogs?
Your dog’s omega-3 supplement should be free of toxins, pollutants, additives, colors, fillers, preservatives, and, ideally, sustainably harvested.
Always make sure to buy your pet’s supplements from certified suppliers.
At Pawsomely Healthy, we take the manufacture of your dog’s supplements very seriously.
We know how important it is to be completely up-front about the ingredients that go into your dog’s supplements.
Our Omega-3 supplements are made in the USA in an FDA-approved and CGMP compliant facility. We have quality checks throughout the various stages of production, and it is all strictly overseen by doctors who ensure the delivery of precise dosages.
We never use ingredients that are harmful, harsh, or even questionable. This means we do NOT use ingredients known as carcinogens, toxins, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, or ingredients that cause organ toxicity, cell damage, or environmental harm.
It is our goal to earn your trust by always providing safe, reliable supplements for your precious pets.
How Do I Know if an Omega-3 Supplement Is Right for My Dog?
While omega-3s are a great supplement, every dog is different and wonderfully unique.
That’s why we’ve created a short quiz you can take to get a better idea of what supplements your pup needs to live their best, happiest, healthiest life.
Click below to find out more: