A dog eating food from a bowl

Is Fish Oil for Dogs the Same as Omega-3?

Fish oil is an excellent way to support your dog’s health, with benefits like reduced inflammation and improved mobility. Omega-3 fatty acids make this dietary supplement effective for improving canine health.

Now, you may wonder if fish oil and omega-3 for dogs are the same. Let’s dig deeper into this, starting with what these terms mean.

What’s the Difference Between Fish Oil & Omega-3?

Some consider fish oil and omega-3 the same, but they’re actually different from each other. Omega-3 is a nutrient, while fish oil is a source of this essential fatty acid.

What is Omega-3 in Fish Oil?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, meaning they’re healthy to be consumed. These nutrients keep your canine healthy by storing energy and aiding their body in vitamin absorption and hormone regulation. However, omega-3s can only be obtained from food or supplements like fish oil.

These healthy fats come in two main forms: the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) - DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) combination and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

  • EPA and DHA are often found in cold-water fish, associating them with “marine omega-3s.” Salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines are rich in both nutrients.
  • ALA mainly comes from nuts, seeds, and other plant-based food. When consuming this fatty acid, your pet’s body must convert it into EPA and DHA.

What is Fish Oil for Dogs?

Fish oil is a dietary supplement containing omega-3s. A veterinarian may recommend including it in a long-term diet plan, or the supplement may increase the nutritional value of your canine’s current diet momentarily.

Fish oil for dogs is available as natural triglyceride, ethyl ester, and synthetic triglyceride oils, with ethyl ester being the purest of the three oils. Furthermore, it’s rich in DHA and EPA.

How Does Omega-3 Support Canine Health?

Omega-3 helps dogs of all ages stay healthy in different ways.

If you have a puppy that loves exploring their surroundings, they can encounter disease-causing microbes. Consuming omega-3s may increase their immunity, helping your puppy’s body combat illnesses and infections.

These essential fatty acids are also beneficial to adult canines. Omega-3s act as anti-inflammatory supplements for adult dogs with skin allergies and arthritis, ensuring healthy skin and coats and better mobility. Moreover, omega-3 for dogs is helpful for inflammation and wound healing in injured canines.

The benefits of omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties extend to older dogs as well. If your canine is diagnosed with a degenerative disease linked to inflammation, the nutrient may ease some of its symptoms and boost your pet’s immunity.

What Happens If My Pet Consumes Fewer Omega-3s?

Currently, no symptom has been associated with omega-3 deficiency in canines. However, if your dog shows these warning signs, you may need to give them the right amount of omega-3.

  • A dull or dry coat
  • Shedding
  • Obesity
  • Eye problems
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Weakened muscles

How Much Omega-3 Should I Give My Pet?

While canines are recommended to consume 75 to 100 kg/mg of EPA/DHA daily, specific dosages often depend on their weight. For instance, a dog weighing five pounds should take 230 to 574 mg of omega-3s.

If your pet gets these fatty acids from natural sources, consider following these dosage guidelines.

Omega-3 Source

Recommended Dosage per 6 oz


3,400 mg of EPA/DHA


2,800 mg of EPA/DHA (around 100 mg per small sardine)


2,200 to 3,800 mg of EPA/DHA

How Should My Canine Take Their Omega-3 Dosage?

When it comes to fish oil supplements for your canine, they’re available in pill, liquid, and chewable form.

Some dogs ingest pills easily, while others find it challenging. If you encounter the latter, try hiding a fish oil pill in your canine’s food, feeding it to them, or using a special pill-taking product. Alternatively, you can get your dog to ingest fish oil pills or capsules by removing the oil in them. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place some fish oil pills in a small ceramic bowl.
  2. Pour enough hot water into the bowl to cover half of the capsules.
  3. Stir and gently mash the pills with a fork or spoon. It’ll produce a mix of warm water and fish oil.
  4. Keep stirring the mixture until the oil is out of the capsule shells.
  5. Remove the squashed shells, then add the oil-water mix to your pet’s food.

Additionally, some brands offer liquid supplements. When giving this type of fish oil to your pet, always administer the proper dosage and ensure it’s consumed. You can even buy chewable fish oil that’s mainly available as treats or other chewable methods.

As for other sources of omega-3, your canine can get them from cooked fish, including salmon, cod, anchovies, and sardines. Dog food can also be a good source of omega-3s, but remember to check the ingredients to ensure the product contains these essential nutrients.

Help Your Canine Maintain Their Health with Fish Oil

Fish oil and omega-3 for dogs are different despite being used interchangeably. Still, they offer several health benefits to your pet, including healthy skin and help in managing canine arthritis.

For your pet to enjoy the benefits mentioned above, consult a veterinarian before including fish oil or natural sources of omega-3 in their diet. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine your dog’s ideal omega-3 dosage and where they should get it.

If you’re looking for a premium omega-3 supplement, consider Stryde for your canine’s diet and joint health. Learn more about our fish oil for dogs on our website, and get more expert tips from our blog.