Fish oil supplements may prove helpful to dogs suffering from a set of pretty common health ailments, including, but not limited to, poor skin and coat condition, itchy skin, joint problems, weak immune system, inflammation, and a few others.
In fact, omega 3 for dogs has proven so valuable that many dog owners have started administering them to their pets as a matter of practice.
And this includes the owners of completely healthy dogs, as fish oil appears to offer preventative value too.
But, there are a lot of fish oils for dogs on the market, and some are much better than others.
Our Top Recommendation for Fish Oil!
Easy to use Salmon oil is a tasty and nutritional supplement meant for the well-being of your pets. It is tasty and can be easily used as a dog food topper.
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We’ll help you find the best omega 3 for dogs below, and we’ll also explain everything you need to know about these fantastic supplements.
Best Fish Oil Supplements for Dogs Reviews
|Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil||• Help your pet stay in great shape |
• Perfect for Skin & Coat
• Powerful Omega Fatty Acids
|Nutramax Welactin Omega-3||• Derived From Small Cold-Water Fish|
• Minimize Fishy Breath
• Rich Source of EPA and DHA
|Zesty Paws Omega Bites||• Healthy Skin|
• Soft & Shiny Coat
• Features AlaskOmega
|Grizzly Pollock Oil Supplement for Dogs||• Highest Omega-3/6 ratio|
• Healthy skin
|Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil Supplement||• Support your immune & joint health.|
• Essential fatty acids EPA & DHA
• Ethical Innovation
|Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet Soft Gels||• Support your immune & joint health.|
• Essential fatty acids EPA & DHA
• Ethical Innovation
|Grizzly Salmon Oil||• Increased levels of EPA|
• Nourish the Entire Body
• Contains the highest levels of Omega 3
There may be a number of omega 3 supplements for dogs on the market, but only a handful deserve your serious consideration. And of this handful, only a few – including the seven detailed below – are the best omega 3 supplements for dogs.
Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Skin and Coat is a premium supplement designed to provide your dog with the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids he needs.
One of the highest-quality fish oils for dogs on the market, Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is packed with both EPA and DHA and features a taste most dogs love.
Notable Qualities and Features
- Comes in liquid form for ease of use – just dispense the appropriate number of pumps on top of your dog’s food
- Made in the USA at FDA-registered facilities
- Each teaspoon contains 480 mg of EPA and 528 mg of DHA
Ingredients: Salmon oil and mixed tocopherols
User Reviews: Most owners who tried Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil raved about the product and rated it highly. Several owners reported significant improvement in their dog’s joint problems, while others noted that this supplement drastically improved their dog’s skin and coat condition.
Bottom Line: Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is easily among the best liquid fish oils for dogs on the market. It is appropriate for most dogs, but thanks to the significant amount of both EPA and DHA it provides, it is an excellent choice for large breeds. It isn’t the least expensive supplement on the market, but it’s not the most expensive, either.
To maintain healthy skin and coat health, Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 fish oil is a recommended supplement. It can be administered as a capsule or can be punctured to introduce its contents in the dog food. Endowed with Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- One softgel per 20 pounds of dog’s body weight.
- It is known to help and support healthy skin and coats.
- It boosts kidney health and also ensures a normal heart rhythm.
- It has also been seen as helpful with the brain, vision and immunity system.
- It is derived from small cold-water fish that are known to have a lesser accumulation of toxins when compared to larger fish.
Ingredients: The main ingredient is fish oil, followed by gelatin, glycerin, water, natural peppermint oil, and mixed tocopherols.
User Review: Most dog parents are moving towards healthy alternatives to keep their dogs healthy. These easy-to-use supplements have been loved by most buyers to add that additional punch of nutrients into their diets to keep them active all day long. However, this product has not been recognized as an essential nutrient by the association of American feed control officials (AAFCO).
Bottom Line: This product is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acid in case you are looking to add some nutrient value to their food. It is a hassle-free and convenient way and uses peppermint oil to minimize dog breath.
Zesty Paws Omega Bites are premium fish-oil based supplements for dogs that come in a delicious soft-chew form. Packed with omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, these supplements are a great way to help protect your dog’s joints, keeping his coat looking shiny and reducing unwanted shedding.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- Each soft-chew contains 63 mg of EPA and 43 mg of DHA
- Chicken-flavored soft-chew are easy to administer
- Made in the USA
Ingredients: Wild Alaskan pollock, pea flour, palm fruit oil, garbanzo flour, tapioca flour, flaxseed meal, algae, natural chicken flavoring, sunflower lecithin, cod liver oil, coconut glycerin, sorbic acid, and powdered cellulose.
User Reviews: Most owners who tried Zesty Paws Omega 3 Soft Chews for dogs were exceedingly happy with their choice and reported excellent results with respect to their pet’s skin and coat health. Additionally, many owners who began using the supplements to improve their dog’s mobility or joint health reported that it worked as desired. Some owners even used the omega 3 soft chews like treats.
Bottom Line: Zesty Paws Omega Bites are a great way to ensure your dog gets all of the omega fatty acids he needs in a tasty and easy-to-administer manner. In fact, Omega Bites also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Biotin, which means that they not only make a great fish oil supplement for your large dog but a good vitamin supplement too.
Grizzly Pollock Oil Supplement for Dogs is an all-natural fish oil supplement that will help keep your dog’s coat shiny and joints pain-free. Made from wild-caught Alaskan pollock, this supplement provides one of the best omega-3 to omega-6 ratios of any product on the market.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- Most dogs love the taste of natural pollock oil
- Each pump contains 195 mg of DHA and 385 mg of EPA
- Made in the USA
Ingredients: Alaskan Pollock oil and mixed tocopherols
User Reviews: Grizzly Pollock Oil Supplement for Dogs has received very positive reviews from most owners – 89% of those who’ve tried the supplement rated it as a 4- or 5-star product. Even owners who were initially skeptical about the value of fish oil reported that it helped improve their dog’s skin and coat health, and many reported incredible improvement in their dog’s mobility and energy level.
Bottom Line: Grizzly Pollock Oil Supplement for Dogs is a very effective fish oil supplement, which appears to be very helpful for most dogs. It is made with only natural ingredients and is very reasonably priced. And, because Alaskan Pollock is a sustainable resource, environmentally conscious owners can use this product with a clear conscience.
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil Supplement is a very high-quality omega-3 oil for dogs that is specially formulated for maximum absorption. Unlike many other fish oil supplements, which are made from salmon or pollock oil, Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Supplement is made from anchovies and sardines.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- Milder taste than many other fish oil supplements
- 17% EPA and 10% DHA by volume
- Third-party tested to ensure freshness and quality
Ingredients: Anchovy oil, sardine oil, and d-alpha-tocopherol
User Reviews: Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil Supplement is one of the best-reviewed on the market. Most dogs (even finicky dogs who’ve rejected other supplements) seem to love the taste, and owners reported excellent results – including increased mobility and improved coat condition — after using the supplement for a short time.
Bottom Line: Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil is a fantastic liquid oil, which has helped many dogs enjoy improved health. It is a great option for any large dog, but it is perhaps most valuable for picky pets, who don’t like the strong taste of salmon-based fish oils.
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Soft Gels are all-natural fish oil pills for dogs made without any artificial colors or artificial flavors. Made from cold-water sardines and anchovies, these soft-gels are easy to administer and full of the EPA and DHA your dog needs to enjoy a healthy coat and pain-free joints.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- Each soft-gel contains 150 mg EPA and 90 mg DHA
- Fatty acids in triglyceride form for maximum absorption
- Third-party tested for freshness and quality
Ingredients: Anchovy oil, sardine oil, gelatin, water, glycerin, and d-alpha-tocopherol
User Reviews: Most owners loved the results Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Soft-Gels provided. Several owners reported improved mobility after using these supplements, while others reported improvements in coat and skin health. A few owners did note that the soft-gels were rather large, but this shouldn’t be a problem for big dogs.
Bottom Line: Nordic Naturals Soft Gels are a great choice for most dogs, although they may be a bit expensive for large canines. They are, however, great for dogs with picky palates, as the soft-gels don’t have a strong taste. Additionally, the fish used to manufacturer these soft-gels are sustainably sourced from some of the cleanest waters in the world.
Grizzly Salmon Oil is one of the finest salmon oil supplements available for dogs – particularly large breeds.
Made with only wild-caught Alaskan salmon (which contains more omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised salmon), this supplement is made without doesn’t contain any artificial additives, flavors or preservatives – in fact, the only ingredient is pure Alaskan salmon oil.
Notable Qualities and Features:
- Contains more than 15 Omega-3, Omega-6, and Arachidonic fatty acids
- Each pump contains 11% DHA and 10% EPA by volume
- Made in the USA
Ingredients: Alaskan salmon oil
User Reviews: Most owners reported excellent improvement in their dog’s shedding after starting this supplement, although a few noted that it gave their dog diarrhea when they started using the product. However, this can occur with any fish oil supplement, and it is easy to avoid by simply starting at a low dose and gradually increasing the amount given to your dog.
Bottom Line: One of the few high-quality supplements that is made with only fish oil (there are no preservatives used in the formula), this is a great supplement for large-dog owners who want to provide their pet with only all-natural products. It is a bit expensive, but that’s to be expected from such a high-quality product.
Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs
As explained earlier, fish oil supplements for dogs are often very helpful for treating a variety of canine health problems. This includes:
1. Intestinal Inflammation
Some dogs suffer from intestinal inflammation, which can be caused by genetic factors, poor food choice, parasites or infectious disease. And, while many of these conditions will also require medications or veterinary treatment to heal, dog fish oil supplements can be very beneficial for treating the inflammation.
2. Canine Arthritis
Arthritis (more accurately called osteoarthritis) usually occurs because the cartilage in a dog’s joints wears down and becomes inflamed. Fish oil supplements have proven very effective in reducing this type of inflammation, thereby relieving your dog’s pain and helping to improve his mobility and his joints’ range of motion.
3. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia (which are very common among big breeds) occur when a dog’s hip or elbow joints fail to develop properly. This causes the cartilage in your dog’s joints to break down (as it does in arthritic dogs), which triggers inflammation in your dog’s hips or elbows. This can cause your dog to limp and suffer from pretty significant pain. Fortunately, most of the best omega 3 supplements for dogs will help alleviate this type of inflammation.
4. Spinal Problems
Dogs – particularly big breeds – can suffer from spinal problems, such as slipped discs or degenerative disc diseases. This causes a lot of very painful inflammation, which fish oil for dogs can often eliminate.
5. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Although high blood pressure isn’t as common in dogs as it is in people, a small percentage of dogs do develop this potentially life-threatening condition. However, fish oil supplements not only reduce inflammation in a dog’s joints, but they can also reduce the inflammation occurring in your dog’s cardiovascular system, which can help reduce his blood pressure to safe levels.
6. High Cholesterol
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels are not terribly common in dogs, but they can occasionally occur and lead to serious, long-term problems. Fortunately, the omega-3 fatty acids found in dog fish oil supplements usually help reduce cholesterol levels.
7. Poor Coat Condition and Itchy Skin
Perhaps the most common reason owners administer fish oil to their dog is to treat poor coat and skin health. Fish oil pills usually work very well in treating skin conditions and quickly restore the moisture and shine to your dog’s coat and skin while reducing shedding.
Omega 3 Oil for Dogs as a Preventative Treatment
Fish oil for dogs is often very effective at treating the conditions listed above, but it is important to understand that it also makes a fantastic preventative treatment. This means that supplementing with omega 3 can work proactively and prevent problems from ever developing.
Some of the most notable ways fish oil for dogs is helpful in this regard include:
1. Omega 3 Supplements for Dogs May Keep Blood Thin
Thick blood has a tendency to clot unnecessarily and it can impede your dog’s ability to deliver oxygen to all of his body tissues. But, fish oils supplements for dogs can help keep the blood thin, thereby improving your dog’s circulation and helping to prevent many cardiovascular problems from developing. Overall, including a fish oil supplement that includes EPA DHA can be beneficial to your dog’s heart health.
2. Fish Oil Supplements Strengthen Your Dog’s Immune System
Your dog is exposed to pathogens on a daily basis. After all, many dogs don’t think twice about licking the ground or eating off the floor, so they ingest bacteria constantly. However, the best fish oil for dogs helps strengthen your dog’s immune system, which will help him fight off infections and recover from illnesses quickly.
3. Fish Oils Promote Proper Eye and Brain Development in Puppies
Pre-natal puppies require omega-3 fatty acids to ensure proper brain and eye development, so pregnant females are often provided with fish oil or other omega-3 fatty acid supplements. In fact, some trainers have noted that dogs supplemented with fish oils are easier to train than those who haven’t been provided with sufficient omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Fish Oil for Dogs Helps Promote Proper Body Weight
Although the mechanism by which dog fish oil supplements help maintain proper body weight is not entirely understood, proper omega-3 fatty acid levels do appear to work in this fashion. By maintaining proper body weight, you can help your dog avoid a number of weight-related health issues, which is particularly important for large breeds.
It is possible – if not likely — that researchers, veterinarians, and owners will discover even more health benefits provided by fish oils in the future.
How Do I Choose the Best Omega 3 Oil for Dogs?
For starters, you can just pick one of the seven best omega 3 oil supplements for dogs we recommend. They’re all high-quality products that should help provide the desired health benefits.
However, there are a few things you can consider when trying to pick a good fish oil supplement for your dog. This includes:
- Avoid fish oils with artificial additives, as they’re not only unnecessary, but they may cause health problems.
- Try to pick a fish oil with high levels of EPA when supplementing large breeds.
- Be sure to check the amount of DHA and EPA provided per dose to determine if the supplement will be economical to administer.
- Look for a product that appears to be palatable to most dogs (all of the seven products we recommend meet this criterion).
- Whenever possible, try to stick to fish oil supplements that are made in the USA. However, those made in Europe or Canada are generally safe too.
- Some of the very best fish oil supplements are tested by third-party laboratories for quality and freshness.
How do I Give Fish Oil to My Dog?
Fish oil supplements for dogs typically come in one of three forms. Each provides different benefits and drawbacks, so we’ll consider them individually below.
Liquid Omega 3
Liquid fish oils are the most common on the market, and they’re probably the favorite of most owners. To administer them, you generally just add the indicated amount of fish oil to your dog’s food once or twice a day.
Some liquids come in small bottles, and you’ll just use a teaspoon or provided cup to measure out the proper amount. Others feature a pumping device at the top of the bottle, so you can just dispense it by pressing down on the pump handle.
Some fish oil liquids are safe to leave unrefrigerated, but others require refrigeration to prevent spoilage. Just be sure to check the label for storage directions.
Most dogs find fish oils palatable, and some seem to love the taste. These products do vary a bit, depending on the manufacturer and the species used to make it, so your dog may like some brands more than others. However, it is important to note that a small percentage of dogs will find all fish oils off-putting, which will require you to choose one of the two forms described below.
Omega 3 Capsules / Soft-Gels
Soft-gels are small pills that your dog can simply swallow. They don’t have much of a taste, so some dogs will just accept them as a treat. However, they’re usually administered inside of a pill pocket or piece of cheese.
Some owners may find soft-gels more convenient to administer than liquids – it will usually depend on your dog. If your dog eats them eagerly, they can be more convenient than oils and they don’t typically require refrigeration. However, they are often the most expensive of the three types of fish oil supplement, and large dogs often require several soft-gels per day.
Omega 3 Soft-Chews
Omega 3 soft-chews are essentially like treats made primarily from fish oils. They’re designed to be chewed (although big dogs will often swallow them whole), and most dogs will find them delicious.
Soft-chews usually have more ingredients than liquids or soft-gels, but this is not necessarily a problem. High-quality soft-chews only contain natural additives to make the proper texture, consistency, and hardness, and natural flavors (often chicken, peanut butter or bacon) to make the soft-chew taste good.
Soft-chews are often more expensive per dose than liquid fish oil supplements are, but they are often more affordable than soft-gels.
Different veterinarians recommend different dosages of fish oil and other omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Accordingly, you may want to inquire with your vet before starting a dosage regimen to ensure that you are providing the proper amount of omega-3 supplementation to address your dog’s specific needs.
Nevertheless, most vets recommend administering between 50 and 220 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per kilogram of your dog’s body weight each day. In other words, a 50-kilogram dog would require 2500 to 11,000 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids each day.
Other vets tend to base dosages on the amount of EPA and DHA contained in the supplements. Typically, they recommend about 40 milligrams of EPA per kilogram of your dog’s weight and 25 milligrams of DHA per kilogram of your dog’s body weight.
To convert your dog’s weight in pounds to kilograms, simply divide your dog’s weight in pounds by 2.2.
Does My Dog Really Need A Fish Oil Supplement?
Dogs don’t have a specific need for fish oil; they have a specific need for omega fatty acids. More accurately, they require the right ratio of omega fatty acids.
There are a number of different fatty acids, but the two most important are those referred to as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Most dogs obtain enough omega 6 fatty acids in their diet, but many diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. These two fatty acids work in opposition to each other: Omega 6 fatty acids promote inflammatory processes, while omega-3 fatty acids help stop inflammation.
So, when a dog fails to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids, he can experience a number of different inflammation-related health problems. The best way to avoid these types of problems is by providing more omega 3 fatty acids in your dog’s diet.
It turns out that one of the best (and most cost-effective) ways by which you can provide extra omega-3 fatty acids to your dog is via supplements. Specifically, supplements made from one of the fish species listed earlier.
Ultimately, this means that fish oil supplements are often one of the best ways to ensure the continued health and well-being of your dog.
What’s the Difference Between DHA and EPA?
Just like there are a number of different types of omega fatty acids, there are several different types of each fatty acid. Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).
DHA and EPA provide different health benefits to dogs (although it is likely that there is some crossover). Simply put, DHA tends to provide most of the brain-health benefits for which omega-3 fatty acids are praised, while EPA usually provides the anti-inflammatory effects some dogs need.
Accordingly, it is generally best to look for dog fish oil supplements that have the highest ratio of EPA to DHA you can. This needn’t be your primary deciding factor when choosing between two products, but it is definitely worth considering.
Possible Side Effects With Fish Oil Supplements for Dogs
Fish oil supplements for dogs rarely cause serious side effects, and they’re generally considered safe. However, there are two potential problems to watch for:
Many fatty foods and supplements can overwhelm a dog’s digestive tract and trigger a temporary (and often mild) case of diarrhea, and fish oil is made almost entirely of fat. This kind of diarrhea usually resolves on its own as your dog’s body adapts to the supplement, but you may need to reduce the amount provided and then gradually increase the dosage to the recommended level.
Although rare, some dogs can be allergic to fish oils. Ironically, this can cause dry, itchy skin and poor coat health. Fortunately, many dogs end up being allergic to one species of cold-water fish, enabling you to switch to a fish oil supplement derived from another species. For example, your dog may be allergic to salmon, but not Pollock.
If your dog exhibits any other signs or symptoms after consuming fish oil, be sure to contact your vet. It is also important to talk to your vet about any other medications your dog is taking before starting a fish-oil supplementation regimen.
Can you Give Your Dog Human Fish Oil Capsules?
Sometimes, owners are tempted to administer human-grade fish oil capsules to their dogs. But this is not a good idea, and it may even be dangerous.
The problem is not the fish oil used in human-grade capsules – if anything, the oil used in these capsules will be of a higher grade than that used for dogs. The problems relate to the other ingredients used in fish oil supplements designed for people. There are a number of ingredients that are commonly included in human supplements that are toxic to dogs.
The most notable toxic ingredient that often shows up in human-grade fish oil supplements is xylitol – an artificial sweetener. Xylitol is obviously completely safe for humans, but it is extremely toxic to dogs.
But xylitol is not the only ingredient that may cause your dog to fall ill, so it is generally just a good idea to use human-grade fish oil supplements for you and your family and give your dog supplements designed specifically for pets.
Some of the best fish oils for dogs are Grizzly Salmon Oil, Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Oil Supplement, Grizzly Pollock Oil Supplement for Dogs, and Nutramax Welactin Omega-3.
One of the best bioavailable sources of healthful fats is unquestionably salmon oil. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are present in salmon oil in good quantities.
So, they not only improve the heart condition, cognitive faculties, immunity system, and skin conditions, but also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Yes, you can give fish oil to your dog every day. Fish oil is excellent for your dog’s everyday health and is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, so its consumption can improve your dog’s overall health.
Both yes and no. Some fish oil capsules meant for human consumption can have added sweeteners and flavorings, which are not easily digestible by dogs. But if it is pure (without added ingredients), you can safely give it to your dog.
Yes, you should add fish oil to your dog food. It supports your furry friend’s heart and can also improve your dog’s immune system. Besides, it can relieve joint pain and allergies and save them from cancer.
In addition, fish oil also improves your dog’s coat and skin. Daily consumption of fish oil can make your dog’s fur more shiny and fluffy.
According to vets and dog nutrition experts, your dog can have 75 to 100 mg of fish oil per kg of its body weight daily.
Yes, for every kg of your dog’s weight, you can give about 75 to 1000 mg of fish oil. So, if you have a large or a hefty dog, you can provide it with 1000 mg of fish oil.
According to vets and pet parents, within three to four weeks, you should be able to notice specific improvements in your dog. Their digestion and skin condition will improve, and their anxiety will also reduce.
Summing up Omega 3 Supplements for Dogs
Fish oil for dogs is one of the best products available to ensure the continued health and well-being of your dog. Not all dogs need them, but almost everyone will benefit from them and there are very few downsides to providing them to your pet.
And this is especially true of large dogs, who frequently suffer from the conditions omega-3 fatty acids can help treat.
If you think fish oil supplements may be a good choice for your dog, consider one of the seven best options listed above.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.