best fish oil for dogs

If you want to keep your dog’s coat healthy, support better immune system function, reduce shedding, and much more, a fish oil supplement may be just what you need. With fish oil for dogs, you can enjoy all of those benefits and quite a few others.

However, it’s not always easy to find the right fish oil for your pup. There are a lot of different factors you need to consider – from the grade of the oil, to the type of fish from which it has been extracted, the supplement type, and much more.

If you’re feeling a bit intimidated and you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be taking a look at the benefits of fish oil for dogs. We’ll also discuss the different types of products that are available on the market today, answering a few common FAQs about fish oil, and providing you with some of our recommendations for the top fish oil for dogs on the market.

Ready to learn more, and get started? Keep reading, and learn everything that you need to know about the best fish oil for dogs, and how to pick the right product for your precious pooch.

9 Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs

Fish oil contains both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are two of the most powerful omega-3 fatty acids, and have a number of proven health benefits both for humans and dogs. Here is a quick overview of some of the top, proven benefits that DHA and EPA can have for your dog.

  • Healthier skin and coat – Fish oil can help your dog’s coat in a number of ways. First, it can help reduce inflammation and itchiness due to allergies, which leads to fewer issues with scratching and itching in dogs. This, in turn, can lead to fewer “hot spots” where your dog scratches through its coat and begins irritating its skin. This has been proven in a lab-controlled study of dogs.
    In addition, fish oils can help your dog fight back against dandruff and promote a smoother, healthier coat. It also helps replenish the natural oils of your dog’s skin, which reduces the risk of skin dryness and flaky skin.
  • Decreased shedding – Excessive shedding can be caused by an unhealthy coat, skin itching, and nutritional deficiencies, and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help treat and address all of these issues. This means less time cleaning up fur, and a healthier, thicker coat for your pup.
  • Fights back against inflammation – Omega-3 supplementation for dogs has been studied extensively, and it has been shown that proper supplementation with fish oil or a similar DHA and EPA-rich oil has incredible benefits when it comes to fighting inflammation. Fighting inflammation can help your dog’s overall health in a number of ways and address a number of different diseases.
    The symptoms of arthritis, for example, may be reduced with proper supplementation with fish oil, and inflammatory skin conditions can also be treated with fish oil. If your dog struggles with inflammation and the resulting side-effects, it may be wise to supplement its diet with fish oil.
  • Helps regulate the immune system – Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help regulate the immune system and boost the function of immune cells in both humans and animals by regulating the proper function of cytokines. This can help control autoimmune disorders, which are caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells. Regularly supplementing with fish oil may help your dog fight back against autoimmune diseases, and regulate its immune system more effectively.
  • Supports better cognitive development, function – Supplementing with fish oil has been found to improve cognitive development of puppies when taken by pregnant females, and when fed directly to puppies. In addition, it helps promote better cognitive function in adult dogs. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are critical for regulating cell membranes in the brain and retinas, and for supporting the health of brain cells. Because of this, regular supplementation leads to better cognitive performance.
  • May promote weight loss in overweight dogs – A study conducted in 2004 where Beagles were put on a calorie-restricted diet showed that the group of dogs that ate a calorie-restricted diet and fish oil supplements lost more weight than the group that did not supplement with fish oil. If you’re trying to help your dog lose weight, fish oil may be a useful supplement.
  • Lower blood pressure, triglycerides – In dogs, fish oil has been found to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure), which can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular and brain-related diseases. It may also help reduce the levels of triglycerides in the heart. High levels of triglycerides are also related to an elevated risk of heart disease.
  • May help fight against cancer – Purified EPA and DHA have been shown to have some benefits in fighting against cancer in some limited trials, so these omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic benefits for treating cancer, and could inhibit the growth and spread of tumors.
  • Helps with kidney disease – Omega-3 fatty acids have been used as supplemental therapy for dogs with glomerular disease, and they have been shown to help improve kidney function, and protect the kidneys from future damage and deterioration. Because of this, fish oil may be a good option for protecting damaged kidneys and ensuring proper function in dogs.

While there are some other benefits, these are the most common – and if you pick the right fish oil with high-quality EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, your dog may be able to enjoy all of these benefits and more.

Different Forms of Fish Oil

Wondering what different types of fish oil treatments you can purchase, and how each one is different? Here is a quick overview of the different types of fish oil products that are available on the market. Take a look now, and see which one may be right for your dog.

  • Supplements – Supplements usually consist of a soft, flavored chew. Many fish oil supplements also include other vitamins and supplements to support your dog’s overall health, and are flavored to taste like chicken or fish, to ensure that your dog will eat them readily.
    Depending on your dog, you may want to feed the supplement directly to them by hand, or mix it into their food. If you do mix the supplement in with their kibble or other food, you should inspect the bowl once your dog has eaten, to make sure that it has eaten its supplement.
  • Treats – Fish oil dog treats usually consist of concentrated fish oil, which is used along with dried fish material and other tasty ingredients that dogs love. The mixture is pressed into a small treat, which you’ll feed your dog just like any other type of treat.
    You may also come across dried fish treats, which consist of dehydrated, dried out salmon, squid, or other fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. These treats are also a great option if you’d prefer a more natural way to supplement your dog with fish oil.
  • Liquid – Liquid fish oil is a great option for dogs that may not want to eat treats or supplements. It comes in a pump bottle, much like a bottle of soap or a similar product, and you can simply drizzle some of it over your dog’s kibble, or onto a treat or any other food that they’re going to eat.
    An added benefit of this is that most liquid fish oil has a very appetizing flavor for dogs, so they’re more likely to eat their entire bowl of food when you add some liquid fish oil.
  • Soft gels – Soft gels are made with a soft outer layer that contains a dose of fish oil. Most dogs can eat these when you feed them by hand, but soft gels can also be placed in your dog’s bowl, so that your dog will eat it along with its kibble, or fed to your dog with another treat or snack.
Depending on your needs, any of the above options may be a good choice for you, to ensure that your dog gets the nutrition and omega-3 fatty acids that it needs to stay healthy and happy.

Different Types of Fish Oils

There are many different types of fish oils on the market, so it may be hard to choose the best type for your dog. In this section of our guide, we’ll discuss a few of the top types of fish oil that you should consider giving to your dog.

  • Salmon –  Salmon is one of the fattiest types of fish in the wild, so it’s a prime source of fish oil, which is extracted and processed from its flesh. Wild salmon oil is often considered to be the “gold standard” for quality when it comes to omega-3s, so this is a great option if you want the very best for your dog. However, salmon oil is often a bit more expensive than other products.
  • Krill – Krill oil is a newer type of fish oil on the market, and it’s chock-full of omega-3s. It’s usually derived from Antarctic krill – tiny crustaceans which live in the Antarctic ocean, and are a key dietary staple for many sea animals. Unlike most other fish oil, krill oil has a reddish-orange color, rather than a yellow color.
  • Calamari/Squid –  Squid (or calamari, as it is often called) is another great source of omega-3s. Food-grade squid is very high in DHA and EPA, making oil derived from squid a great choice for your dog.

While you may find oils from other fish and seafood sources – like trout or mackerel – the above three are the most commonly used types of fish oil for dogs, because they offer high levels of omega-3 fatty acids at a relatively low cost.

Now that you’ve learned more about the different types of fish oil and supplements on the market, it’s time to take a look at our top picks for the best fish oil for dogs. Read on, and see which one of these products may be right for you and your pooch.

Overall Best Fish Oil Supplement for Dogs

American Journey Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Liquid Dog & Cat Supplement

Key Benefits:

  • Tasty flavor that dogs love
  • Drip-free cap
  • Made with wild-caught Alaskan salmon
  • 405mg EPA, 450mg DHA per teaspoon

Due to its reasonable price, formulation that uses wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and delicious flavor, this product from American Journey is our top overall pick. It’s easy to use by just drizzling a bit of oil directly over your dog’s food, and it has a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as some omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. When refrigerated, a bottle will last more than 6 months, and you can store it for up to a month without refrigeration without any loss of product quality.

Pros:

  • Simple to give to your dog with food
  • High-quality, wild-caught Alaskan salmon oil
  • High level of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Largest available bottle is only 32oz
  • In rare cases, dogs may dislike the flavor

Nutri-Vet Fish Oil Dog Soft Gels, 100 count

Key Benefits:

  • Easy-to-give, softgel design
  • 180mg EPA, 120mg DHA per gel
  • Contains vitamins A, D3, and E
  • 3 month shelf life after opening

Best Softgel – If you are looking for a softgel supplement for your dog, this product from Nutri-Vet is our top choice. It has been formulated to include both EPA and DHA, as well as a number of other essential vitamins and nutrients that will keep your dog healthy. The softgel can easily be given to your dog directly, or coated in peanut butter or another food to ensure that your pup eats the entire supplement.

Pros:

  • Veterinary-formulated for proper nutritional profile
  • Includes additional vitamins for healthy coat, skin and body
  • Easy to give to dogs

Cons:

  • Large breed dogs may require 2-3 soft gels for a proper dose
  • The source of fish oil is not listed on the product
  • Not suitable for small, toy breed dogs due to large size

ZestyPaws Omega-3 Salmon Bites EPA & DHA Support Salmon Flavor Chews for Dogs

Key Benefits:

  • Delicious, chewable treat that dogs love
  • Made with wild Alaskan salmon oil
  • Contains biotin (vitamin B)
  • Developed in an FDA-registered facility

Best Fish (Salmon) Oil Treats – If your dog has trouble eating soft gels and prefers chewable treats, this product from ZestyPaws is a great option. It’s made with natural ingredients including salmon, flaxseed meal, pea flour, and palm fruit oil, and contains DHA, EPA, and a number of other powerful nutritional supplements that help protect the health of your pup. It’s easy to give your dog, and they love the flavor.

Pros:

  • Easy to give to your dog
  • Suitable for dogs of any size, even those under 25lbs
  • Unique, heat-free cooking method [reserves nutritional value

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to liquid, softgel supplements
  • Very fishy smell
  • Some dogs may not like the flavor of the treat

5 More Fish Oil Sources

Looking for even more supplements that can help preserve your dog’s health? Above, we’ve provided you with our top choices for fish oil supplements. But there are also a few more supplements and fish oil supplements that you may be interested in, which didn’t quite make it to the top of our list. Learn more below.

International Veterinary Sciences Lipiderm Fish Oil Omega 3 & 6 Dog Supplement

Key Benefits:

  • High in omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Formulated for large dog breeds
  • Contains vitamins E and A
  • Made with natural ingredients including fish oil, flaxseed, safflower oil

Omega 3 & 6 Supplement – If you want a product that will help supplement both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for your dog, these soft gels from International Veterinary Sciences are an ideal choice. They are also designed specifically for the needs of large-breed dogs, requiring only 2-3 gels for dogs which are over 70lbs in weight.

Pros:

  • Includes omega-3, omega-6, vitamins and antioxidants
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Great for large dog breeds

Cons:

  • Not a good choice for small dog breeds
  • Source of fish oil is not specified
  • May be difficult to give to picky dogs

Zesty Paws Pure Salmon Oil Skin & Coat Support Dog & Cat Supplement

Key Benefits:

  • Made with pure salmon
  • Available in 3 different sizes
  • Packed with both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • 480 mg EPA, 528 mg DHA per teaspoon

Liquid Form Supplement – This liquid salmon oil supplement from Zesty Paws is relatively expensive, but it’s made with all-natural Alaskan salmon, and is made in an FDA-registered facility, ensuring top quality. It has only one ingredient – 100% natural salmon oil – so you can feed it to your dog with confidence, thanks to its natural formulation.

Pros:

  • 100% pure salmon oil
  • Extremely high in EPA, DHA
  • Delicious taste dogs love

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other salmon oil products
  • Does not contain any additional vitamins/minerals
  • Pump design is relatively messy when measuring dosage

Fish4Dogs Calamari Rings Dog Treats, 2.6-oz bag

Key Benefits:

  • Made from food-grade, oven-baked squid with 72% protein content
  • Natural source of omega-3
  • Free of any additives, gluten, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives
  • Highly-digestible, natural protein

Calamari Rings Dog Treats – If you’re looking for a unique treat for your dog that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, this product from Fish4Dogs is a fantastic choice. It’s all-natural, and made with only the highest-quality squid – no other ingredients. If you want to add a bit more omega-3 to your pup’s diet, this product is a great option.

Pros:

  • Completely natural source of omega-3
  • Protein is easy to digest
  • Contains only 1 ingredient – 100% squid

Cons:

  • Smelly, we recommend storing in an airtight container
  • Expensive compared to other dog treats
  • Relatively low omega-3 content compared to other supplements

Alaska Naturals Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Natural Dog Supplement

Key Benefits:

  • Available to buy in bulk with sizes up to 120 fl. oz
  • Salmon oil is fortified with tocopherols (Vitamin E)
  • Made from sustainable, wild-caught salmon
  • Easy-pump dispenser

Salmon Oil Supplement – If you have a large breed dog or go through a lot of fish oil, this product from Alaska Naturals is a great option, because you can purchase up to 120oz. If you buy in bulk, this is one of the cheapest 100% natural salmon oil supplements on the market.

Pros:

  • Cheap when purchased in bulk
  • Sustainable and made without any factory-farmed salmon
  • 455mg DHA, 409MG EPA per teaspoon

Cons:

  • Pricey if not purchased in a larger size
  • 120oz bottle has no dispenser
  • Some dogs may not like the flavor

Zesty Paws Wild Omega-3 Fish Oil Plus Antarctic Krill Oil Dog Supplement, 8-oz

Key Benefits:

  • Made with both krill oil and pollock oil for a complete nutritional profile
  • Comes in a convenient pump bottle
  • No artificial colors, preservatives or flavoring
  • Molecularly-distilled for proper absorption

Krill Oil Supplement – If you’d like to try a krill oil product, this oil supplement from Zesty Paws is a great choice. It’s made with both pollock oil and krill oil, and has the highest concentration of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids of any product on this list.

Pros:

  • Extremely high concentration of 1600 mg EPA, 1065 mg DHA per teaspoon
  • All natural ingredients
  • Sustainably sourced

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Oil is sticky and messy if spilled
  • Very smelly

4 Frequently-Asked Questions About Fish Oil For Dogs

You’ve got questions about fish oil, and we’ve got answers. Here are the 4 most frequently asked questions about fish oil for dogs – read on, and educate yourself before you purchase a fish oil supplement.

  • How much (milligrams) of fish oil can I give my dog? – Most fish oil supplements will come with a dosing chart, so you can follow this chart to make sure that you give your dog the proper dosage. However, you can also follow this rule of thumb: give your dog between 20-55 mg combined EPA and DHA per pound of body weight.
    In other words, if you have a 30lb dog, you should give it somewhere between 600-1650mg of fish oil per day safely. As long as you stay within those parameters, you’ll be able to make sure your dog maintains a healthy level of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • What happens if I give my dog too much fish oil? – There are only two things that might happen. First, your dog may get “fishy” breath. This is not a concern and is not a sign of anything bad happening. It’s just a bit unpleasant to smell! You can reduce dosage to eliminate this issue. The other potential issue is diarrhea. If your dog can’t absorb all of the oil, it may cause overactivity of the gastrointestinal tract. If your dog gets diarrhea, consider discontinuing use of fish oil for a few days, then starting your dog on a lower dose.
  • What does fish oil do for dogs? – Fish oil does a ton of great things for your dog. It can help reduce inflammation and treat auto-immune diseases, prevent scratching and itching, promote a healthy coat, and support healthy joint function by decreasing inflammation. It may even help treat cancer in dogs. For more information, consult with the “9 Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs” section of this guide, or ask your vet!
  • Can I give my dog human fish oil pills? You can, but since the proper dosage of fish oil is determined by body weight, you may find that the dose is too high for smaller dogs. Human fish oil supplements may have 1000-2000mg of omega-3 fatty acids per dose or more.
    In addition, human fish oil pills use human food-grade fish, while dog fish oil pills use animal food-grade fish. This means that human fish oil pills are more expensive, in most cases. While you can feed your dog human fish oil pills in a pinch, it’s a better idea to purchase a dog-specific product if you’re planning on the long-term supplementation of your dog’s diet with fish oil.

We hope these questions have been helpful and provided you with all of the answers you need to shop for fish oil for your dog.

Conclusion

Fish oil is one of the best supplements for dogs, thanks to the powerful benefits of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. If you’ve been considering adding fish oil to your dog’s diet, now is the perfect time to start. And with the information in this guide, we’re sure that you’ll be able to choose a high-quality, affordable fish oil supplement that your pup will love. Take another look at our top picks now, and find the right fish oil for your dog today!

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