I know fish oil doesn't sound like the most appeasing supplement to add to your or your dog's daily meal plan. After all, why not just eat fish straight?
The simple fact is that fish oil is a much more concentrated (and thus effective) source of many of the great benefits that eating fish can give us
There's a myriad of ways that fish oil can improve our human bodies, but it can also help your dog!
if you want to improve the joints, brain function, skin condition and overall health of your dog, it’s well worth exploring if fish oils could work for you and your pup.
High-quality fish oil supplements offer many benefits, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of products on the market and not all are created equal. We’ve compiled this guide to help you make the best decision for your dog’s needs.
At a Glance: Our Top 6 Best Fish Oil Supplements for Dogs
- Omegease Omega-Rich Fish Oil
- Grizzly Salmon Oil All-Natural Dog Food Supplement
- Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs
- Amazing Nutritionals Omega 3 Chews
- Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet Soft Gels
- Pure Paw Pure Alaskan Salmon Oil
Note: Some of the links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Chewy.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What are Fish Oil Supplements?
- What are the Different Types of Fish Oil Supplements?
- Benefits of Fish Oils
- Which Dogs Can Benefit?
- How Effective are Fish Oils?
- Our Picks for Best Fish Oil Supplements
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
What are Fish Oil Supplements?
Fish oils are Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in certain cold-water fishes, including salmon, mackerel, herring and cod liver. These oils are extracted from the fish, then packaged and sold as supplements in either tablet or liquid form, occasionally mixed in with some added vitamins and minerals.
Two of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils is especially beneficial to health:
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
These are anti-inflammatory and provide various benefits to weight management, brain health and heart health.
Humans, dogs and cats can take fish oil supplements. Of course, you can also take in these fatty acids by going straight to the source and eating the fish themselves. Supplements are simply an easier way to guarantee a regular dose and are often more concentrated and purified.
What are the Different Types of Fish Oil Supplements?
Fish oil supplements for dogs are either in liquid form, whereby you pour a small dosage onto their daily kibble, or in tablet form, which can either be given to your pup to chew or punctured and squeezed over their food.
There are a huge number of different fish oil supplements on the market and these can usually be divided into two camps: regular fish oil and salmon oil. As you might expect, salmon oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids extracted solely from salmon, whereas fish oil comes from any array of different cold-water fish.
Whether you choose fish or salmon oil is up to you: high-quality products of either option will contain high levels of EPA and DHA. Salmon oil may be preferable if your dog has allergies or sensitivities to any other fish.
Benefits of Fish Oils
One of the reasons why fish oil supplementation is so popular with both humans and dogs is because it’s truly very beneficial for your health.The benefits of EPA and DHA fatty acids include:
Which Dogs Can Benefit?
While dogs of all ages, size and breeds can benefit from regular supplementation with fish oils, there are a clear few groups that can seriously benefit.
Older dogs, especially those suffering from arthritis, will be able to move a lot more painlessly and easily as the fish oils will help to halt and reduce any swelling and inflammation around their joints.
Their blood pressure will be lowered, heart boosted and cholesterol levels lowered too.
At the other end of the spectrum, puppies can also hugely benefit from fish oils. Various studies have shown that puppies with an optimal level of DHA are easier to train than those without it, thanks to the fatty acid’s effect on cognitive function.
It also helps to boost their immune system to help them fight any disease or infection they may be vulnerable to while they’re young.
In that same vein, pregnant dams are also a prime candidate for fish oil supplementation. Not only will it greatly aid the development of the fetus, but it will also protect the dam from disease by strengthening their immune system, while keeping down their blood pressure.
Dogs With Specific Health Conditions
Dogs that are suffering from omega-3 deficiency will obviously very much benefit from fish oil supplements too. Symptoms of this include dry skin and coat, pain in their joints, and being quick to fatigue.
How Effective are Fish Oils?
You’re likely reading this and thinking that the benefits of fish oils sound great – too good to be true, almost.
Trust me, I know this:
There’s lots of debate as to whether the entire supplement market – for humans, dogs and other pets – are as effective as they claim to be.
The clue as to their value lies in their name. Fish oil supplements do just that – supplement a hopefully already healthy diet and lifestyle. They’re not going to be able to undo the effects of a bad diet or lack of exercise for your dog. The starting point to doggy health always starts with a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of exercise – then it’s a good idea to look at supplementation.
Kibble vs. Supplementation
Some kibble manufacturers will claim to have added fish oils in their products, but the truth is that these fragile chains of omega-3 fatty acids will simply not survive in bags of kibble and are unlikely to provide any real benefit. The essential fatty acids are better delivered as a direct supplement. Fish oils should ideally be refrigerated and used relatively quickly to avoid going rancid.
Fish oil supplements are also only as good as their manufacturing process. The best products will be 100% pure, all natural and responsibly sourced. They’ll be as close to their natural state as possible – i.e. straight from the fishes – and won’t be burdened with any fillers or preservatives.
Lower quality (and usually cheap) fish oil supplements may claim to deliver the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but they’re so loaded with worthless extra ingredients to keep the manufacturing costs low that they’re often not worth their price tag at all.
Be a smart dog owner:
If you are going to supplement your dog with fish oils, make sure that you go for high quality, pure products. They may cost a little more, but they’re ultimately much better for your pup’s health in the long and short term.
Our Picks for Best Fish Oil Supplements
This fish oil supplement is a highly rated and popular product on the market and it’s easy to see why. Wild caught fish from a variety of sources provide pure omega 3, 6 and 9 – and it can just be added easily to your dog’s kibble with no fuss and great taste.
One of the most popular fish oil supplements for dogs, Grizzly Omega Health is sourced from salmon and pollock fish, wild-caught in Alaska. Again, it’s contained in a pump bottle for dispensing straight onto your dog’s usual food and widely loved for its rich taste.
This is another salmon only fish oil supplement for dogs, that again comes in a liquid formula, easy to mix into your pup’s daily kibble. Zesty Paws have taken great pains to ensure the product’s safety as an all-natural supplement.
This product is the number one bestseller in the ‘dog food toppings’ category on Amazon, likely due to the health benefits of it being a 100% pure, natural source of fish oils, and the ease that comes with giving your dog a delicious, chewable tablet – much better than a leaky pump!
Nordic Naturals is a very popular brand of fish oil supplementation that creates products for both humans and dogs. These ‘soft gels’ can either be chewed or punctured and added in smaller doses to your dog’s kibble. As with the other products on our list, they’re pure and natural.
This is another pure, salmon-only fish oil and it appears to be one of the few products that have escaped the leaky pump fate! Unlike some of the other products in this list, it also contains additional vitamins that may be beneficial to your dog’s health.
Hopefully now you’re aware of the many benefits of fish oil supplements for dogs, and the best products on the market to help deliver those benefits.
Giving fish oil to your dog daily can help improve a lot about their health, but you should remember to double check with your vet what dosage to take. When you're first starting with supplement oils, you have to be careful to avoid any potential side effects or harmful interactions with other medication.
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Top Picks For Our Dogs
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST CHEW TOY
We Like: KONG Extreme - Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.