As a dog owner, you want what’s best for your pet, whether it’s food, toys, a comfortable place to sleep or healthcare. That’s why many dog owners are starting to add fish oil supplements to their pet’s diet. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA, which have many health benefits for humans and their canine friends.

Fish oil for dogs can help to support the functioning of the heart, kidneys, joints and immune system. It makes their coats glossy and healthy, and it improves cognitive functioning at any age. It may also reduce the risk of diseases like cancer.

Fish oil can be given as a supplement and is often used as an ingredient in prescription diets for dogs. It is available in different forms, such as capsules or liquid oil. If you’re planning to add fish oil to your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to first discuss it with your vet, to ensure that there will be no interactions with other medications.

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is extracted from cold-water fish like trout, salmon, and mackerel. These oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits for people and dogs alike. Omega-3 fatty acids are often called the essential fatty acids, but neither humans nor dogs can produce them on their own. This is why fish oils are used as a supplement for humans and as an ingredient in prescription dog food.

The most beneficial fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are found in marine life including fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, mullets, sturgeon, anchovies, herring, trout, sardines, and menhaden. Fish oil for dogs has many health benefits and also improves the appearance of the coat, giving it a glossy, healthy look. It also helps to prevent diseases and improves the functioning of the heart, kidneys, joints, and immune system.

Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs

People nowadays treat their pets like family and want the best for them. So it’s difficult to watch them suffer discomfort and worse from ordinary chronic ailments like skin allergies and arthritis. Many studies have shown than fish oil has health benefits for humans and dogs. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil for dogs have also been called the good fats, which the body needs.

Fish oil is now widely used as a supplement for humans as well as dogs for the many health benefits it provides. For dogs, the benefits include maintaining a healthy skin and coat, vision and cognitive functions. It has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce the risk of arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer. It helps to promote their overall health and well-being.

fish oil in dog

Promote General Health and Well Being

Fish oil is especially helpful in cases of chronic conditions like arthritis and skin problems like rashes and itchy hot spots. These can be difficult to treat, and it is heartbreaking for pet owners to watch their dog’s discomfort and suffering. Older dogs and some large breeds are prone to arthritis and other joint problems like hip dysplasia. Fish oil for dogs can be used to supplement their diet and other treatments.

DHA is often given to pregnant and nursing dogs because it promotes brain and eye development in puppies. Omega-3 fatty acids and especially DHA, promote neuron development and the growth of nerve cells.  This helps in the development of the nervous system and also promotes better vision. Many veterinarians use fish oil for dogs for its therapeutic benefits in treating common health problems. These include arthritis, skin allergies and itches, kidney and heart problems and cognitive disfunction in older dogs.


Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce pain, redness, and swelling in the skin or the joints. This makes them useful for treating dogs who have arthritis and other joint diseases like hip dysplasia. Some larger dog breeds have a genetic disposition for such problems, and older dogs can also have difficulty in activities like standing up, walking and running.

Fish oil for dogs is used in prescription diets made specifically for arthritis and helps to ease all of these functions. It is not a cure in itself but can be used alongside other treatment options to provide relief and improve mobility.

Skin Disease

Allergies and skin diseases of all kinds are another common ailment that effect dogs. They can also be persistent and difficult to treat and cause irritation which leads to scratching, worsening the situation. For dog owners, it can be both frustrating and heartbreaking to watch their pets suffer through the cycle of skin infections and self-trauma caused by scratching.

Fish oil for dogs can help to improve the itching and prevent the further trauma caused by scratching. It has important anti-inflammatory properties that help ease skin conditions. It is more effective when used in the early stages. Fish oil also improves the appearance of the coat.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Older dogs suffer from canine cognitive dysfunction. This is similar to memory loss and related conditions in older humans. It can cause behavioral changes like disorientation, altered sleep patterns, new. Adding  omega-3 fatty acid, DHA as a supplement in food can help to improve these symptoms. DHA has also been shown to slow down the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in humans as well.

Heart Disease

Dogs suffering from chronic heart failure often also suffer from a significant and sudden weight loss. Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce weight loss and survival times in dogs with heart disease.

Kidney Problems

Glomerular disease can worsen kidney disease in dogs. This is a kidney disorder which caused the loss of excessive amounts of proteins in the urine. Fish oil supplements can reduce the rate of kidney damage. They also protect against acute injuries to the kidneys.

benefits of fish oil for pet dogs

How to Give Your Dog Fish Oil

Fish oil for dogs is available in many forms, including pills and liquid oil. You can give capsules to dogs hidden in a favorite treat like a small piece of cheese. Liquid fish oil can be poured over dry or canned food. It has a palatable taste, and most dogs will eat it happily.

Fish oil should be stored carefully, away from exposure to heat, air, and light. It’s best to store it in the refrigerator. It is usually sold in dark-colored glass bottles. Fish oil can go bad and develop a rancid odor. If that happens, you should discard it. If it develops a cloudy appearance, it has most likely undergone oxidation and could do more harm than good. In such cases too it should not be used.

It is important to get the right dosage. Too much fish oil for dogs can have side effects like diarrhea, vitamin E deficiency, and slower blood clotting and healing of cuts and wounds.

Cautions and Side Effects

Once you decide to add fish oil for dogs to your pet’s diet, it’s important to choose the best quality fish oil. Many manufacturers use human grade ingredients for pet products, and it is worth the slightly higher price. When using this supplement, the right dosage is as important as the quality. That’s because, over time, some side effects can appear which may cause harm or discomfort.

Over time, fish oil supplements will create a vitamin E deficiency in your pet, making it necessary to add extra vitamin E to her or his diet. Overdoses of fish oil can have side effects, such as causing gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. Omega-3 fatty acids also slow down blood clotting by reducing the ability of blood platelets to stick together. This is why they should not be given with any blood thinners.

Fish oil should likewise not be given to any dog who is also taking any other anti-inflammatory medications. Too much omega-3 can also slow down the healing of wounds. In all cases, it’s best to first discuss the use of fish oil for dogs with your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to advise you on the right dosage, and on any possible harmful interactions with other medications. You can also get advice on the best brands to buy.

dog eating food


Fish oil has many health benefits for dogs as well as humans. It promotes a healthy coat and skin in dogs and puppies, and its anti-inflammatory properties make it therapeutic for skin allergies, arthritis and heart, and kidney disease. Many veterinarians use fish oil for its therapeutic properties, and it is an ingredient in prescription dog foods as well.

Fish oil for dogs is available in several forms such as capsules or liquid oil. It has a taste that most dogs like. It is important to give the right dosage and to follow directions exactly. When adding a fish oil supplement to your dog’s diet, you should consult your vet. This will also help to ensure that there will be no interactions with other medications.