Is Omega 3 Good for Dogs?

Dogs need a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in their diets. Unfortunately, they don’t always get what they need from commercial dog food, which sometimes contains unhealthy fillers and ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in dogs. 

Along with changing your dog food, you might have to supplement your dog’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids, because it’s good for dogs and can keep them healthy. Once you change up your dog’s diet or you feed him specially-formulated omega 3 supplements for dogs, you should notice that your pup is much happier and healthier. 

Just like humans, dogs require essential nutrients to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Since most dog food products do not contain the necessary vitamins and minerals that should be in their diet, it’s critical that you feed them soft chews or any other multivitamin canine product that supports their overall health and well-being. If you have always wanted to know “Is omega 3 good for dogs?”, you are not alone. Let’s take a look at exactly what omega 3 fatty acids are and how they can benefit your pup.

What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

According to petMD, omega 3 fatty acids “are molecules consisting of a chain of carbon atoms with an oxygen double bonded and a hydroxyl group (an oxygen and hydrogen atom) single bonded at one end.” These fatty acids are polyunsatured, so they have several double bonds throughout their carbon chain, and their initial double bond “is located between carbon atoms number three and four when counting from the end of the chain away from the hydroxyl group.”

The omega-3 fatty acids are called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), according to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tuft University. DHA and EPA are in fish oils, coldwater ocean fish, or food that’s made with krill oil or algae. Chia seeds, flax seeds and some plants contain ALA. EPA and DHA are generally recommended for dogs. 

Omega 3 For Dogs: Why It’s Important

Omega 3 fatty acids are highly beneficial to your dog’s overall health and well-being, according to Campfire Natural Dog Treats. For instance, they ensure that puppies’ brains develop, strengthen the immune system, slow down the spread of yeast infections, cut back on shedding, improve the growth of the undercoat, reduce hyperactivity and depression, ensure that your dog can fight disease and help decrease inflammation in dogs with arthritis. 

Administering Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Your Dog

You can give your dog omega 3 fatty acids in a few different ways. First, look for dog food that contains ingredients with omega 3 fatty acids. Normally, a lot of commercial dog food will have more omega 6 fatty acids, which is not the same thing. Going with a higher quality dog food will set you back a few more dollars, but it’ll be worth it because your dog will be healthier in the long run. The fish you’ll want to look for in dog food include tuna, cod, hank, whitefish and salmon, according to Purina. 

Another option is to buy fish from the store that’s been pre-cooked or to cook it yourself. It shouldn’t be seasoned in any way or have any bones, which can be very harmful to your dog. They can cause your dog to choke or damage his internal organs. Never feed your dog raw fish because it could contain salmonella or parasites. Farmed fish will be higher in omega 3 fatty acids, but wild fish is considered safer and healthier, according to Mind Over Munch. Just do your research before deciding between wild and farm raised fish for your pup. 

If your dog’s food doesn’t contain omega 3 fatty acids, you can buy a fish oil that you then incorporate into your dog’s diet. According to petMD, if this is the case, then add 1 teaspoon of fish oil to each pound of dog food

When you buy fish oil, keep it out of the heat, because it can become rancid and lose its potency rather quickly. It’s best to store it in the refrigerator. You can either get it in liquid or pill form, and you’ll want to source it from a provider who catches fresh water, sustainable fish. 

One of the easiest ways to give your dog omega 3 is through soft chews and other treats. 

Look for immunity dog supplements that contain healthy ingredients to support your pup’s cognitive function, mobility, digestive tract, and overall health. Most chewable tablets come in delicious flavors and are an excellent source of nutrients for all canines. 

Talking to Your Vet About Omegas for Dogs

It’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplement. She will be able to tell you how much to give your dog, whether or not you should get it in the form of high quality dog food, pills or liquid, how to properly store it and more. 

Your vet can also tell you what brands she recommends, which is very important because supplements are not always as regulated as other medicines and may not contain the dosage you need to keep your dog healthy, according to VCA Hospitals. If your dog has allergies, you may need to take him to see a vet first before getting on a health maintenance program. By feeding your canine daily chewable tablets with Omega 3, you’ll be able to help support his cognitive function, improve his digestion, and support your dog’s body from the inside out. 

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Camille Arneberg, Co-Founder of PetHonestyCamille is a co-founder of PetHonesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs’ quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs’ health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.