Why Does Your Dog Need Fish Oil? What Is It?Fish oil is the common name for supplements containing oil extracted from the fat and tissue of fish. People sometimes use “fish oil” and “omega-3” interchangeably, but they’re not the same.“Omega-3” or “omega-3 fatty acids” are nutrients that are found in fish oil. In other words, fish oil isn’t omega-3, but it does contain omega-3. Not all omega-3 is created equal but comes in short and long-chain varieties. Plant products like flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil contain the short-chain omega-3. The more beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are found in fish oil.The omega-3 in fish oil has many benefits for your dog. They include:
- Protecting their hearts
- Strengthening their immune systems
- Slowing down kidney disease
- Soothing arthritis pain
- Increasing joint mobility
- Alleviating allergies and allergy-related itchy skin
- Keeping their coat healthy and shiny
- Reducing mental decline in senior dogs
- Enhancing brain function and supporting development in puppies
- Reducing or eliminating seizure episodes in dogs with epilepsy
Like humans, dogs can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own. They can only get them from their diet or a supplement. Giving your dog an omega-3 supplement is a great way to enhance their health now and help protect them from health problems in the future.But where exactly should your fish oil come from?
Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil - Which is Better for Dogs?
While not everyone is familiar with krill, these tiny crustaceans play a very important role in the omega-3 food chain. First, microscopic phytoplankton create the Omega-3s. Krill eat the phytoplankton and absorb the omega-3s into their bodies.Krill oil is very high in omega-3s, and some studies suggest they are more easily absorbed than the omega-3s in most fish oils.Krill are also lower in the food chain than salmon, mackerel, and tuna often used for fish oil. The bigger and longer-lived the fish, the more exposure it has to heavy metals from its food and environment. The small, short-lived krill avoid that possible contamination.Unfortunately, krill oil is much harder to harvest than fish oil, which makes it much more expensive. Krill also are an important food source for many different species, so overfishing them could cause problems in the ecosystem.But there is good news. Oil made from some of the small, short-lived fish that eat the krill - like sardines and anchovies - share their benefits. Giving your dog fish oil made from these small omega-3-filled fish ensures they’ll receive all those wonderful health benefits without the heavy metal risk.That’s why, unlike many brands of fish oil for dogs, Pawsomely Healthy’s Omega-3 is made from small, wild-caught fish.
Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil - Which is Better for Dogs?While cod are, of course, a type of fish, cod liver oil and fish oil are two different things.They both contain omega-3, specifically the beneficial long-chain varieties. However, cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D.And that can be bad news for your dog.While vitamins A and D are necessary parts of your dog’s diet, both are fat-soluble vitamins. That means if your dog eats too much of them, they won’t excrete them. And those excess vitamins could cause an overdose.Using fish oil as your dog’s omega-3 source - especially fish oil made from small, wild-caught fish - will give them all the benefits without any vitamin overdose risk.
Is Salmon Oil Good for Dogs?Salmon oil definitely has beneficial omega-3 oils in it, but there are some drawbacks.A lot of salmon oil comes from farm-raised salmon. While salmon in the wild eat smaller fish rich in antioxidants and omega-3, farmed salmon usually eat food pellets made of corn, grains, and animal byproducts. This means they will have lower levels of those beneficial nutrients than wild-caught salmon.Fish farmers also often include hormones and antibiotics to encourage growth. Oil from wild-caught salmon avoids these issues, but they have a problem of their own: heavy metals.Sadly, environmental pollution means you can find toxic metals in the ocean - and its inhabitants. As you go up the food chain, each level absorbs all the toxins ingested by the animals below it. Choosing a fish oil made from smaller fish lower in the food chain lowers the chance your dog will be exposed to these dangerous heavy metals.
Why Wild-Caught Fish Are the Best Fish Oil Source for Dogs
As mentioned above, farm-raised fish are more convenient, but they have quite a few drawbacks.Some fish farms are overcrowded, which causes outbreaks of disease. To prevent this, some fish farmers give their fish regular antibiotics. Hormones may also be used to make them grow fast.
Generally speaking, farmed fish don’t eat the same foods as their wild counterparts. While we discussed the processed pellets given to salmon, this is true for other farmed fish as well.Wild-caught fish eat the food nature intended them to eat. This maximizes their nutritional value - and the benefits of the fish oil made from them.But what kind of wild-caught fish is best?Once again, we can’t stress enough how important it is to give your dog fish oil made from fish low in the food chain. Toxic heavy metals build up in large fish, which can be harmful to your dog.We make Pawsomely Healthy’s Omega-3 fish oil for dogs from wild-caught cold-water fish like anchovies. Which gives your dog all the amazing omega-3 benefits without the farmed-fish risks.
The form of your dog’s fish oil matters too. Fish oil stored in pumps can easily go rancid over time - and it can cause a mess at your dog’s meal times. Our spray-dried and powdered fish oil stays fresher for longer. And that means it maintains its nutritional value longer, too!