Fish Oil For Dogs | Everything You Need To Know

As dog lovers, we are always looking for ways to help our best friends be happy, and healthy, and live long lives by our sides. Our dogs provide us with unequalled love, devotion, and companionship, and we owe our best effort to take care of them in the best way that we possibly can. Along with a good diet, proper veterinary care, and lots of love, we can help our dogs to be even more happy and healthy by taking a holistic approach to their care and supplementing their diets with certain nutrients which they may not be getting enough of in their regular food. Fish oil for dogs is a great way to ensure that your friend is getting all of the Omega Fatty acids that he needs to be at his best. Fish oil for dogs supplements is available in a few different forms. Gel capsules and liquid form in bottles with pump dispensers are the most commonly available, but some companies offer chewable treats fortified with fish oil too.

Fish Oil contains high amounts of essential nutrients called Omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial in combating a multitude of maladies your pet may be suffering from. The active ingredients in fish oil that provide all the health benefits to your dog are two polyunsaturated fatty acids called, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These polyunsaturated fats are said to be essential nutrients because the body requires them for normal functioning; however, the body cannot synthesize the nutrients on its own. The only way for the body to obtain the required amounts of essential nutrients is through food or supplementation. Both EPA and DHA are equally important for your dog’s health but are usually not found in high enough levels in commercially available dog food. Fish oil supplements provide an easy way to ensure that your pet is getting enough healthy omega-3 fatty acids in his diet. Fish oil for dogs is most popularly prescribed as a supplement for allergy control, skin and coat health, and to help reduce pain associated with arthritis. While fish oil can be very effective at helping with these issues, it is also useful at helping with so many other problems, and simple to maintain your pet’s general good health.


Known indications for fish oil supplementation:

  • Fights/Prevents depression, anxiety and stress
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Lowers Triglyceride Levels
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Relieves joint pain
  • Improves Skin and coat
  • Promotes Weight Loss
  • Combats macular degeneration
  • Prevents dry eyes
  • Treatment of Psoriasis
  • Promotes Heart Health
  • May Slow Cancer Growth
  • Promotes Brain Health, Mental Focus & Long-term cognitive function
  • Helps reduce allergy symptoms

When looking for the best fish oil supplements for dogs, there are several important factors to consider: Quality and purity, palatability and ease of administration, company/vendor reputation and origin, price and even odour. is here to help you make your decision. We have researched fish oil for dogs, studied its benefits, and compiled information on several fish oil supplements for dogs that are currently on the market. It is our hope that the information contained here will enable you to make an informed decision about the best product for your best friend.


Key Points:

Fish oil is one of the most commonly used supplements for dogs. The benefits from fish oil supplementation are a result of the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids contained in the body oils of some cold water fish species.

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential nutrients because they are essential for survival, but they must be consumed in food or by way of supplements. In other words, dogs’ bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own.

Flaxseed oil also contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids; however, dogs lack special enzymes needed to convert the omega-3s in flaxseed oil into a form that their bodies can benefit from. For more information on flaxseed oil, and why it is an inferior source of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs, please click here.

Two components of omega-3 fatty acids are of primary interest: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

The correct fish oil for dogs dosage can be calculated by multiplying your dog’s weight by 20. The answer you get is the amount of EPA, in milligrams, that your dog should consume daily. Divide the dosage and give each portion at separate feedings. More information on fish oil dosage for dogs.



Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil has been used successfully by pet owners and veterinarians seeking to reduce the pain experienced by dogs with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil are also beneficial in the treatment of allergies, certain skin ailments, and heart disease, and may even slow or prevent the spread of cancer. Fish oil can also be used as a supplement for healthy dogs to maintain their good health.

The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in dogs can cause numerous adverse side effects. Fish oil supplementation has been shown effective as an alternative to these drugs. At a veterinarian’s discretion, fish oil may be used to reduce or even eliminate the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in dogs with certain conditions.

Omega-3 fatty acids are very delicate and susceptible to damage by exposure to light and oxygen in the air. Fish oil supplements should always be kept in cool dark storage. Choose products that come in dark or opaque packaging. Fish oil gel capsules can be refrigerated or frozen.

Many fish oil supplements for dogs are combined with one or more antioxidant ingredients which serve as preservatives to prevent rancidity. recommends purchasing fish oil supplements with a natural anti-oxidant preservative on the ingredients list.

Contaminants in fish oil supplements for dogs, while a justifiable concern, are easily avoided by purchasing products made by reputable companies. Look for the words, “molecular distillation” somewhere on the packaging label.

Fish Oil is a very safe supplement and comes with very few adverse effects. The most common adverse side effect of fish oil for dogs is loose stools or diarrhoea. More information on the possible adverse effects of fish oil for dogs.

Please browse this website to learn more about fish oil for dogs, and the many benefits your dog will enjoy from daily supplementation of this important, essential nutrient. New information will be continually added to this site, so please check back often.


What is fish oil?

All fish contain oils in their bodies.  Some cold-water species such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and others contain high amounts of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS).  These PUFAS are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are an essential part of the diets of some animals including dogs.  DHA and EPA are said to be essential nutrients because, although dogs require them, dogs’ bodies are not capable of producing them on their own.  In other words, a dog’s diet must be supplemented with these healthy omega-3 fatty acids.


Why should I give my dog fish oil?

Fish oil is an important nutrient for dogs for several reasons.  Since dogs cannot produce the essential fatty acids contained in fish oil, their diets must be supplemented with them.  A high-quality fish oil supplement for dogs will improve the condition of their skin and coat.  Many studies have shown that fish oil supplements provide protection for dogs’ skin, and reduce itchiness caused by inflammation.  The ability to reduce inflammation is probably the most important overall property of fish oil for dogs.  Fish oil is also good for heart, brain and renal health.  There have been promising results in cancer clinical trials using DHA and EPA, and fish oil has been used in place of prescription drugs to provide relief to dogs suffering pain caused by osteoarthritis.


Is cod liver oil the same as other fish oil?

No.  Cod liver oil is derived from the liver of cod fish.  In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil also contains high amounts of vitamins A and D.  Vitamins A and D are fat-soluble, and therefore, if given in excess amounts can build up in your dog’s body.  Excess vitamins A and D can have a toxic effect.


Is flaxseed oil for dogs a good alternative to fish oil for dogs?

No.  Flaxseed oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids; however, the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil are in their long-chain form: alpha-linolenic acid.  Dogs and most other carnivores cannot metabolize omega-3 fatty acids as they are found in flaxseed oil because they lack the necessary enzymes.  For this reason, flaxseed oil for dogs is not recommended as a means of supplementing your dog’s diet with omega-3′s.


How much fish oil should I give my dog?

A general rule of thumb is 1000mg of fish oil per 20 pounds of body weight.  Higher amounts may be desirable for dogs with certain conditions.  More information on fish oil dosage for dogs.


Should I give my dog fish oil every day?

Yes!  Once you have figured out the correct daily dosage of fish oil for your dog, then divide that amount (if possible) by the number of meals that your dog eats each day.  Give him part of his daily fish oil supplements at each feeding.


What if my dog is allergic to fish?

Some dogs may be allergic to fish, but pure fish oil should not cause any problems for these few dogs.  High-quality, purified fish oil should not contain allergens that would affect dogs with fish allergies.


What are the side effects of fish oil for dogs?

Fish oil for dogs has very few side effects, and none that are serious.  The most common side effect of fish oil for dogs is a loose stool and fishy breath or fish burps.


Which is the best fish oil for dogs?

The best fish oil for dogs product is one which contains exactly what it says it contains on the label.  It has extremely low levels of lead, mercury, PCBs and other contaminants.  A good fish oil product will come combined with one or more antioxidants so as to keep the healthy omega-3′s from going rancid.  It is also important to look for a product from a company that uses good, sustainable, and environmentally friendly practices in the production of their product.


Can I give my dog fish oil meant for people?

Yes.  The same factors apply when choosing a human fish oil product for your dog.  See above “Which is the best fish oil for dogs”, and calculate the correct dosage.


How should I store fish oil supplements?

Fish oil for dogs should be kept in a cool dark place.  Heat and light will damage the delicate fatty acids in a short time.  Fish oil liquid, capsules and treats can be kept in the refrigerator, and capsules and treats can also be kept in the freezer.  A cabinet or pantry will do fine, too.


What about fish oil contaminants?

Contaminants in fish oil supplements for dogs are a concern.  Fish oil products made from sardines, anchovies and other small fish are thought by some to be superior because these small fish have lower levels of lead, mercury, PCBs and other contaminants than larger predatory fish such as salmon, tuna and sharks.  Fish oil from any source can be filtered and purified to contain extremely low levels of contaminants, and therefore, pose no threat to your pet.


Is fish oil for puppies a good idea?

Yes.  Fish oil is also good for puppies, though, young dogs require a lower dosage than do adult dogs.  One-quarter to one-third of the regular dosage for adult dogs (per body weight) should be good.


Can I give my catfish oil supplements to dogs?

Yes.  Fish oil for cats is just as beneficial for felines as fish oil for dogs is for canines.


Is fish oil good for people too?

Yes!  Fish oil offers all the same benefits to people as it does to dogs.  You should talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements, but fish oil is very safe for people, just as it is for dogs.