Owner holding out fish oil supplement in front of dog

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Fish Oil For Dogs: Is Fish Oil Good For Dogs?

Certain supplements can help your dog stay healthy by making sure they have all the nutrients they need. Fish oil for dogs contains important omega-3 fatty acids that have a variety of health benefits, including helping maintain a healthy heart. If you want to keep your dog happy and healthy, you might be wondering, is fish oil good for dogs?

Talking to your vet about the benefits of fish oil for dogs before you give your dog any supplements is a smart idea. While vets may recommend fish oil for dogs in some cases, they may not recommend it for other dogs. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting the dosage right if you’re giving your dog fish oil.

While fish oil may be good for your dog, you should talk to your vet before you make any major decisions regarding your dog’s health. Your vet can tell you whether your dog should be taking a fish oil supplement, how much they should take, and what else you can do to keep them healthy. If you want to find out more about fish oil for dogs, keep reading.

Definition of fish oil

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is oil that comes from fish that have high oil content, such as tuna, salmon, and herring. This fish oil is one of the reasons that salmon, tuna, and other oily fish are considered so healthy. Fish that are especially oily tend to be in high omega-3 fatty acids, a key nutrient that promotes heart health, brain function, and more.1

You might have heard your doctor mention taking a fish oil supplement as you age, or making sure you’re eating plenty of healthy fish. Fish oil supplements are common for humans too, providing a wide range of potential benefits.

Keep in mind that omega-3 fatty acids can also be sourced directly from fish, so adding more fish to your diet or your dog’s diet is another way to keep them healthy. That being said, fish oil supplements are a simpler alternative for people and pets who need omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish oil may promote heart, joint, immune health and hair/coat growth

What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs?

If you’re thinking about giving your dog a fish oil supplement, you might be wondering what the benefits are. As we mentioned previously, the benefits of fish oil come from the omega-3 fatty acids that are in them, which can affect several parts of your body. In general, fish oil is considered to be a healthy supplement for dogs, especially when combined with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.2

Heart health is one of the big benefits of fish oil for dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids help support heart health, which is why fish oil supplements have been recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) for decades. Fish oil supplements may be especially beneficial for dogs that have already had heart issues.

In addition to heart health, fish oil for dogs can help relieve pain and swelling from arthritis symptoms. If your dog has arthritis that makes it difficult to move or causes them a lot of pain, your vet may recommend a fish oil supplement for symptom relief. With the right medication and treatment, your dog can still be active and agile even if they have arthritis.

Fish oil for dogs can also help prevent dry, flaky, and irritated skin, which is a fairly common issue among dogs. Your dog may have dry skin as a result of fleas, allergies, skin infections, and more. While taking a fish oil supplement won’t treat the underlying cause of dry skin, you can help reduce the risk of skin problems with fish oil.

There are also certain medical conditions your vet may recommend fish oil for. Fish oil may help your dog manage symptoms if they’re dealing with certain diseases, so talk to your vet about whether or not fish oil is right for your dog. While there are several potential benefits of fish oil for dogs, you need to consider your dog’s health when you’re deciding if fish oil is right for them.

In general, it’s best to consult your vet before giving your dog any supplements or making major dietary changes. While dietary changes can help relieve certain symptoms and keep your dog healthy, other dietary changes may limit crucial nutrients and lead to health problems. Whether you’re switching to new dog food or giving your dog fish oil, make sure you ask your vet for advice first.

Fish Oil Dosage for Dogs

If you do decide fish oil for dogs is right for your pup, it’s important to make sure you’re giving your dog the right dosage. Too much fish oil can lead to health problems, while not enough fish oil may not provide the benefits you’re expecting.

Before you give your dog fish oil supplements, make sure you talk to your vet for clear instructions. You need to make sure you’re choosing the right supplement in the first place, then you need to get the dosage right. The thing is, the proper fish oil dosage for your dog depends on their weight, their medical history, and other important factors. What works for one dog may not be ideal for another when it comes to fish oil dosages.

As a pet parent, consulting your vet about major decisions is crucial. If you’re considering fish oil for dogs, see what your vet thinks and how much they recommend first.

Fish Oil For Dogs: FAQs

Can you give a dog human fish oil?

It’s important to remember that there are different types of fish oil supplements, and some of those supplements are more concentrated than others. That being said, it’s generally safe to give your dog human fish oil supplements as long as you’re sticking to the recommended dosage. Fish oil for dogs is a simple way to make sure your dog is getting the proper daily dose of fish oil, but you can split up regular fish oil supplements to give your dog the right dose. Before administering fish oil for dogs, make sure you talk to your vet so you aren’t giving them too much.

Should I give my dog fish oil every day?

Much like fish oil dosages can change quite a bit depending on your dog, frequency of administration is another variable when it comes to fish oil for dogs. While some dogs may need the occasional fish oil supplement to help keep omega-3s up, your vet may recommend a daily fish oil supplement for your dog. It all depends on your dog’s breed, weight, age, and medical history. If you’re not sure how often you should be administering fish oil for dogs, talk to your vet about figuring out a schedule.

How much fish oil is safe for dogs?

Like just about every substance, fish oil can cause problems if you give your dog too much of it. Dogs that take fish oil supplements should be given a veterinarian-recommended dosage on a schedule that a vet recommends. An excess of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain, and slow wound healing. This is why it’s so important to talk to your vet before you give your dog any supplements at home. Even relatively safe supplements like fish oil for dogs can lead to problems in excess amounts, so consult your vet if you’re considering fish oil.

Hand holding out fish oil supplements

Final Notes

Fish oil for dogs offers several benefits for heart health, dry skin prevention, pain and swelling from arthritis, and more. Your vet may recommend fish oil depending on your dog’s medical history and current condition. Before you give your dog a fish oil supplement, talk to your vet about the proper dosage and finding the best fish oil for dogs.

From heart health to maintaining a healthy weight, taking care of your dog is important. With Dutch, you can get online vet help from the comfort of your home, whether you’re looking for pet care tips or a diagnosis. Just schedule a video chat through Dutch and you can connect with a vet in no time.
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References

  1. Shane-McWhorter, Laura. “Fish Oil - Special Subjects.” Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, 18 Apr. 2022, https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/special-subjects/dietary-supplements-and-vitamins/fish-oil

  2. Deborah E. Linder, DVM. “Should I Give Fish Oil to My Pet?” Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School, 25 Oct. 2018, https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/06/should-i-give-fish-oil-to-my-pet/

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

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In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.