One of our main responsibilities as pet owners is to ensure that our dogs live healthy and happy lives. Besides providing them with a balanced diet and regular exercise, another great way to improve your pup’s health is by giving them daily supplements for dogs like fish oil.
Our pets can greatly benefit from fish oil supplements, from gaining shiny coats to fighting off health conditions like arthritis. But just like us, their bodies can’t independently produce good fats like omega-3 fatty acids and can only gain them through a proper diet.
If you’re planning to elevate your pet’s meals in a small yet effective way, we recommend introducing fish oil supplements to their daily regimen. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of giving your dog fish oil and how to determine the right dosage for them.
What Are Fish Oil Supplements?
Fish oil is a supplement found in coldwater fish like salmon and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help balance the dietary fat our pups get from grains and processed foods. Most dog food manufacturers procure meat from animals that feed on corn or refined oil, resulting in high volumes of omega-6 fatty acids in our dogs' diets, which are pro-inflammatory. By giving your pup fish oil supplements with high omega-3 content, you’ll be able to balance the amount of omega-6 acids they consume on a daily basis and decrease a pro-inflammatory state.
Besides ensuring a balanced diet, there are several benefits of Icelandic fish oil for dogs, including how it can aid in treating certain conditions like kidney diseases.
Health Conditions Fish Oil Can Help Treat
Fish oil can help treat and alleviate the symptoms of these common diseases in dogs.
One of the most popular features of omega-3 fatty acids is their anti-inflammatory properties, which can alleviate the painful symptoms of arthritis in dogs. In an experiment conducted among 127 dogs suffering from arthritis, patients who regularly took supplements with omega-3 fatty acids showed major improvements in their ability to walk, play, and rise from a sitting position.
Both EPA and DHA can reduce the inflammation in your dog’s joints, which is the leading cause of related symptoms like joint pain and lameness. While fish oil supplements won’t cure your dog of arthritis, they can help manage pain and provide the necessary nutrients to decrease inflammation and help your pet become active again.
Inflammatory Skin Diseases
Besides reducing inflammation around your dog’s joints, pups suffering from inflammatory skin diseases can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids.
Recent studies have shown that the condition of patients who receive fish oil supplements significantly improved after six weeks of continued administration. Dogs developed less self-trauma because of decreased symptoms like itchiness, and researchers observed that their hair coat also improved over time.
Meanwhile, a separate study revealed that fish oil supplements are more effective for canines suffering from the early stages of their skin problems compared to patients with more advanced conditions. If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with a skin disease that may cause itchiness, fish oil supplements may help improve symptoms.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is a syndrome typically associated with older dogs and often resembles dementia in humans. The most common symptoms observed in CCD include confusion, anxiety, regression in training, and extreme irritability.
DHA can help lessen the severity of these symptoms as the compound is linked to brain development and cognitive support for older dogs. In an experiment conducted among a group of older dogs suffering from CCD, patients with a DHA-rich diet for two months showed major improvements in their condition within the said period.
Not only can fish oil supplements help your senior dogs regain mobility, but they can also significantly improve their overall mood.
Blood pressure and inflammation are two symptoms often associated with heart disease in dogs, making omega-3 fatty acids a potential key ingredient in a patient’s diet. With anti-inflammatory and blood pressure management properties, fish oil supplements can be a great addition to your dog’s diet if they’re prone to heart diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to promote better blood flow. When your dog’s body has proper blood circulation, its risk of getting blocked arteries is significantly lowered.
Veterinarians usually suggest fish oil supplements for dogs suffering from a kidney disorder called glomerular disease which causes excessive protein loss and could worsen Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Fish oil supplements can help slow the progression of your dog’s CKD with their anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce the production of inflammatory compounds that stresses your pup’s kidneys and could have a protective effect against acute injury in the organ.
Other Potential Benefits of Giving Your Dogs Fish Oil
Here are six scientifically published benefits of regularly fish oil supplementation.
Promotes healthy coat and skin
Eicosapentaenoic acids, or EPAs, are one of fish oil's main omega-3 fatty acids. EPA is known to improve a dog’s coat by preventing follicle hyperkeratinization and managing the production of oils. As a result, it makes our pet’s coats look and feel healthier.
Aside from this, other studies show that dogs with atopic dermatitis and other related skin conditions experienced major improvements after regular intake of fish oil supplements.
Reduces blood pressure
One of the most popular health benefits of giving your dogs fish oil is that it reduces blood pressure, which can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease. High blood pressure can result in poor blood circulation, leading to plaques in our pet’s arteries. Prescription meds can help regulate your pet’s blood pressure, but supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can likewise be beneficial in maintaining optimal blood pressure.
Improves brain development and function
Aside from EPA, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is another omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil supplements. Together, they are considered major building blocks of the brain, responsible for ensuring proper brain function.
Studies have shown that fish oil supplements can help senior dogs improve their memory. At the same time, they can help promote healthy brain development and behavior among growing pups. Giving your pregnant canines fish oil supplements may improve the cognitive development of their puppies.
Besides promoting healthy brain development and function, fish oil can also help your dog’s eyesight. DHA is known to prevent or slow the deterioration of our pet’s eyes due to health conditions like glaucoma, dye eye syndrome, and macular degeneration.
Additionally, prenatal dogs who regularly consume fish oil supplements can promote healthy eye development in their puppies once they’re born.
The benefits of fish oil for dogs go beyond physical health. Fish oil supplements can significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in dogs by promoting healthy brain activity. A 2016 research shows omega-3 fatty acids have a calming effect on canines suffering from depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity.
Boosts immune system
DHA is known to increase B cell activity, a type of white cell that plays a critical role in your pet’s immune response. These cells produce antibodies that protect our dogs from germs and other diseases.
The right dosage of fish oil for dogs
Before you start feeding your pet fish oil supplements, there are certain precautions you must remember. For instance, fish oil can potentially have problematic interactions with other medications like Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) medicine. Additionally, our dogs’ bodies can only tolerate a certain quantity of fish oil, making it crucial for pet owners to know the right dosage of fish oil for their dogs.
The appropriate amount of fish oil dogs should take varies depending on their size, but evidence shows a dose between 100-200mg of combined EPA and DHA per kilogram of body weight is ideal. If your dog consumes too much fish oil, it could lead to side effects like diarrhea and vomiting.
If you’re unsure of what dosage to give to your dog, we recommend utilizing this chart and consulting your local veterinarian.
Fish oil supplements can do wonders for your pet’s health when administered properly. Stryde™ fish oil is dosed at 100-200mg/kg of EPA and DHA to help provide the most benefit for your pet.
For more information on how fish oil improves the overall well-being of our pets, visit our blog here.