Fish Oil: It’s Good For My Heart, but Is It Good For My Dog?

Omega 3 fatty acids, the type typically found in fish and nuts, is wonderful for increasing both cardiovascular health as well as brain function for humans, which is why it comes so highly recommended as a nutrition supplement. However, while fish oil is good for us, is it necessarily good for our favorite furry friends? Some people have been giving dog’s fish oil as a means of helping to balance out their diet. It’s true, dogs also benefit from Omega 3’s, but how do you know if your dog needs more?

Depends on Their Diet

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Ultimately the answer lies in what your dog is eating to begin with. Ideally, your dog is eating a mostly protein based diet of grass fed meats, which in itself is rich in the Omega 3’s your dog needs to have healthy skin and joints. The problem is, most people don’t feed their dogs like this, mostly because it’s expensive. That being the case, most dogs are getting a dry food mix that is made mostly of plant matter, which is actually high in Omega 6 fatty acids. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with dry dog food, the lack of Omega 3’s can cause some issues. Dog’s who have an Omega 3 deficit typically suffer from these symptoms:

  • Fatigues easily
  • Dry Coat
  • Itchy/ Flaky/ Dry Skin (leads to excessive shedding)
  • Brittle Nails
  • Joint Pain

If your dog has any of these symptoms, then chances are it’s due to an Omega 3 deficiency. This means that a diet adjustment is necessary, but is a fish oil supplement the way to go?

Fish Oil or Snake Oil?

The problem with most nutrition supplements that make miraculous claims to improve health is that most of them don’t work, or worse, they can be detrimental. When it comes to giving your dog fish oil, make sure you research what company you’re getting your supplements from. Often times nutrition supplements are actually loaded with a whole bunch fillers and other junk that actually ends up being harmful, for both you and your dog. What’s worse, is there is certainly too much of a good thing, high amounts of fish oil can actually cause a drop in vitamin E, which only serves to make the problems worse. Taking a step further, excessive amounts of fish oil can actually lead to heart disease as well as a number of other toxins that can make your dog very sick.

What Should I Do?

 It’s hard to find the right balance in nutrition for a human, let alone a dog. If you think your dog might have a vitamin or nutrient deficiency of any sort, then the first step you should take is to have a talk with your vet. Your vet can help suggest a better blend of dog food that will contain the necessary nutrients to keep your dog happy and healthy. If you’re looking to increase omega 3’s and want to do it in a healthy and safe way, you’re better off skipping the supplement and getting it straight from the source by feeding your dog fresh fish. Just remember, as with everything in this life, moderation is the key.