Dog supplements come in different forms and types to help your dog stay healthy. One of those supplements is the omega-3 fatty acids which are increasingly becoming popular for different breeds of dogs. These nutritional products are advertised year-in-year-out to help your canine friend with healthy skin conditions, kidney functions, allergies, heart diseases, cognitive function and so on.
Even though more research is needed to establish if there are other uses of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s evident that their use has yielded positive results. As such scores of veterinarians have recommended and encouraged dog owners to use this nutritional supplement to prevent or treat diseases that might affect the growth and development of their pets. That is when the need to know what omega-3 supplements come in and how you can use them safely to give your dog the best results.
On the scientific point of view, omega-3 fatty acids are actually molecules made up of chains of carbon atoms and oxygen double-bonded with a hydroxyl group (hydrogen and oxygen atom) that is single-bonded at one end. In other words, omega-3 fatty acids are commonly referred to as “polyunsaturated”. This means that these supplements have multiple double-bonds distributed throughout the carbon chain with their double-bond located between the carbon atoms as number 3 and 4 when you count them starting from the end of its chain far away from the hydroxyl groups.
Inasmuch as this information might sound somehow technical and confusing, it is important to have it at the back of your mind for a number of reasons. To begin with, omega-3 fatty acids have double bonds that are somewhat not stable making them the best candidate for oxidation. This phenomenon, however, results in rancidity.
Additionally, dogs have no ability to make their own omega-3 fatty acids. This is because the dogs are physiologically not able to put up the double bond in-between carbons three and four. That is the main reason dogs need omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) to promote and improve their health.
The source for omega-3 fatty acids is not just limited to fish oil alone but you can also get it from certain vegetable oils like canola oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and walnut oil. These are rich sources of omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that is regarded as a precursor to DHA and EPA.
One thing that you need to know is that dogs are not so good when it comes to transforming ALA into DHA or EPA. In this case, it is a good idea to provide your dog with enough DHA and EPA directly. And the best way of doing so is through sources such as salmon oil (or any other cold water fish oils) and other types of algal oil.
There are commercially available types of omega-3 fatty acids supplements but they have completely different DHA and EPA concentrations. Apart from that, the exact dosage of omega-3 supplement that needs to optimally treat a number of different health conditions in your dog is not yet known with any amount of certainty. This makes it difficult to know the exact amount of omega-3 fatty acids you can give to your dog to get the best results.
Some studies suggest that you can give your canine friend around 22 to 40 mg/kg per day of the EPA if you are expecting to see some beneficial effects. But you need to keep in mind that quite a number of fish oil supplements have both the EPA and DHA thus making the total dose of this supplement to be higher.
However, omega-3 supplement is very safe but when you administer to your dog in larger doses, it can lead to some complications such as gastrointestinal upset, immune dysfunction, and issues with blood clotting system.
When buying omega-3 fatty acid supplements, look out for one that is manufactured by a reputable company and should provide you with the following information right on their websites or product label:
- The amount of DHA and EPA contained in the supplement
- How the supplement is purified to get rid of harmful contaminants like mercury
- The preservation method used in preventing rancidity
Most importantly, ensure that you pay your local vet a visit to learn more about multiple health benefits that the supplements can bring to your dog. Otherwise, this article will take you step by step to the great benefits of giving your dog omega-3 supplements, the side effects and a review of a few products related to this supplement. Keep reading to find out more.
Benefits of the Best Dog Omega-3 Supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from the tissues of certain types of oily fish. More often than not, these oil fish are what experts refer to as essential oils because the body cannot produce them on their own but need them to assist in some physiological functions.
According to studies, there are functional and facilitative fats as the two most important types of fats that are essential for dogs today. Functional fats are very important in the functioning of the body as the name suggests. Pets cannot produce these types of fats on their own thus prompting dog owners to seek for an alternative from other sources. One of the major sources is omega-3 fatty acids which play a very significant role in the development of brains and body in general.
The second category of fats are the facilitative fats which are also referred to as saturated fats. They enhance your pet’s food, convert to energy, assist in the absorption of vitamins and aid in digestion.
Omega-3 fatty acids supplements for dogs come in three major categories and these are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA
- Docosahexaenoic acid or (DHA)
- Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)
Each type of omega-3 fatty acid plays its own role. But most importantly let’s look at the benefits of omega-3 dog supplements in general. As a dog owner, why would you go for omega-3 fatty acids to supplement your dog’s diet? Here are the main reasons why you probably should consider giving your pet this essential nutrient:
- Omega-3 fatty acids supplements can fight cardiovascular disorders
Studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can help fight cardiovascular disorders. Also, these supplements can help with the inflammation around your dog’s heart and other vital organs within the body. At the same time, omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial in reducing muscle loss as well as damage.
If muscle loss is something that you’re trying to prevent in your dog, then why not read my guide to the best dog supplements to build muscle!?
- Cognitive function and neurological health
Researchers have proven that when young dogs are subjected to a diet containing omega-3 supplements, they are likely to have a stronger ability to learn and acquire new tricks in the process. In addition, the same puppies can follow commands better than those that are not fed on diets containing omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, it can be said that omega-3 supplements for dogs are important in promoting cognitive function as well as neurological health in dogs.
- Omega-3 supplements help in inflammatory skin disorders
The omega-3 fatty acids are known to be a good choice of dietary supplements for your dog because it has anti-inflammatory properties and can also help control itching and loss of hair associated with skin allergies. In the real sense, EPA (one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids) is an anti-inflammatory and can help your dog with any health condition that is likely to cause inflammation of the kidneys, heart, joints, and kidneys among others. Generally speaking, this supplement plays a crucial role in controlling skin disorders in dogs. This can be the best way to decrease all incidences leading to hot spots on the dog’s skin.
If your dog is suffering from a skin allergy, you could also be interested in reviewing my list of great supplements for dogs with skin allergies.
- Kidney disease
Omega-3 supplement for dogs has been found to have many benefits to your dog as far as their health is concerned. When given in the recommended doses, this supplement can help in promoting your dog’s kidney health and functions all throughout its life.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help in osteoarthritis
Some studies conducted on several dogs revealed that those who are subjected to omega-3 supplements in their diets had improved function of their joints and had fewer chances of experiencing pain as opposed to those who didn’t take the supplements in their diets. Therefore, you may give omega-3 supplements to your four-legged friend if you suspect that they are suffering from arthritis or anything related to that.
You might also be interested in taking a look at my buying guide ‘Best Dog Supplements For Arthritis’.
- Reduces shedding in dogs
Just like many other types of dog supplements, omega-3 fatty acids can promote a shiny healthy coat while reducing shedding in your dog. In this case, it may also mean that there will be fewer chances of hairballs around since your young dogs will not have to pick up a lot of loose hairs when grooming themselves.
Also se my guide to the best dog supplements for skin and coat.
- Omega-3 fatty acids promote greater mobility in dogs
The EPA, a component of omega-3 supplement possesses excellent anti-inflammatory effects which are assisted by the inflammatory activities of DHA to give your dog its overall mobility. This is helpful especially when it comes to preventing inflammation in the dog’s joints, allowing it to walk or run around freely without any constraints. Mostly the elderly dogs are the ones affected the most but giving them omega-3 as their dietary supplement can really help them a lot in overcoming joint problems. The supplement helps minimize the severity caused by inflammatory conditions in order to allow your canine friend to move around a lot better.
- Omega-3 supplements promote optimum skin health
The fact that omega-3 has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, you can rest assured that this supplement will help your dog to achieve healthy skin and coat. Why is the case? The answer lies in the supplement’s ability to promote healthier skin as well as a shiny coat in dogs when given as their dietary supplement to provide them with the essential nutrients.
These supplements are important components with the dog’s membrane of the skin cells. Absence of these wonderful fatty acids means that your dog’s skin will get easily damaged or irritated leading to severe cases of itching, redness and even blotching.
Most importantly the dog’s hair shaft is made up of keratinized tissues which are dependent on those fatty acids to provide them with a smoother feel and shinier appearance. But you can provide your pets with omega-3 supplements to replenish the fatty acids found in their cell membranes making your canine friend’s skin more healthy and resistant against all factors that can trigger skin problems.
Other Benefits of Omega-3 Supplements for Dogs
Promotes immune system functioning in dogs
There’s substantial evidence that supports the idea that the role of DHA is to enhance the overall activities of B-lymphocytes. These lymphocytes are responsible for producing the antibodies and release of cytokines which play a big role in the management of inflammation, infection and even cancer.
Perfect examples of cytokines are tumor necrosis factors (TBF), interferons, and interleukins. All these examples have many effects on your pets by greatly improving the overall functioning of their immune system. This way, your four-legged friend can fight infections more effectively as a result of a combination of cytokines and antibodies regulated by B-lymphocytes. In this regard, you should know that omega-3 fatty acids only enhance the overall functioning of the B-lymphocytes rather than producing them.
Boosts cardiovascular health
Many studies have indicated that supplementing your dog’s diet with the omega-3 does not necessarily reduce incidences of strokes and heart attacks. But it provides protective mechanisms through anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant actions of DHA and DHA.
Much of the emphasis is redirected to the actions and effects of the omega-3 supplements regarding the low-density lipoproteins that are responsible for the risks of emerging atherosclerotic conditions. However, dogs are not susceptible to the cardiovascular conditions in the same way as human beings. This does not imply that they cannot be affected by this condition and if they do, the omega-3 fatty acid is there to boost their cardiovascular health.
Possible Side Effects of the Omega-3 Supplements
It is not always true to assume that every dietary supplement is entirely beneficial to the dogs. Naturally there are two sides of a coin and in the same way, omega-3 fatty acid can be beneficial, it can also bring some side effects to your dog. Therefore, you should be fully aware of the following underlying side effects of the omega-3 fatty acids supplements to your dog:
Can cause premature aging and diseases
One thing you need to know is that omega-3 fatty acids supplements are highly susceptible to the oxidative damage. As such, this comes as very disturbing news given that every time the omega-3 supplements are exposed to the air, oxygen reacts with the fat particles by breaking them down into tiny compounds known as malondialdehyde (the MDA). Then these compounds create molecules that contain oxygen and they come to be referred to as free radicals. When combined with the MDA, free radicals can cause premature aging and significant damage to all essential proteins as well as other important cellular structures. As a result, these damages ultimately lead to irreversible diseases to your dogs.
They can cause toxins
The truth of the matter is that omega-3 is part of fats extracted from fish. These types of fats are usually loaded with toxic materials. If you are wondering how they become toxic, then you should trace back their sources and this will take you back to the oceans where most of the fish come from.
Of late oceans have become the damping sites for all types of dirt, harmful materials, and toxic substances. All these foreign materials pollute this natural fish habitat with cadmium, arsenic, mercuryand even lead which are chemicals responsible for contaminating oceans at an alarming rate.
As usual, these chemicals are not broken down so fast and they end up finding their way in the environment inhabited by fish and eventually get consumed by the same fish. When omega-3 is extracted from such fish, chances are it will have toxic substances like heavy metals. If they are given to the dogs as supplements, they may lead to dysfunction of the animal’s nervous system, cause certain cancers, blindness, kidney and liver damage and consequently, death. This may sound scary but it is important to equip yourself with this knowledge.
Poisoning from radiation
There have been numerous cases of nuclear power plant accidents such as the 2011 Fukushima accident that was caused by a tsunami. This causes nuclear materials, which are radioactive in nature, to seep into the nearby ocean waters. And there’s no way of preventing marine creatures including fish from getting contaminated with the radioactive water that continuously keeps on seeping into the ocean from coast to coast, far and wide.
Likely these dangerous radioactive materials get into contact with fish and when essential oils are derived from them, it is obvious that they are already contaminated and in the long run, they may poison your pets when given to them as supplements. But you can avoid all that by simply asking for the Certificate of Analysis (COA) from your supplier should you choose to provide your dogs with fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids supplements.
Slow blood clotting
Experts have found out that omega-3 fatty acids supplements are responsible for the slow blood clotting. This supplement, though very important as a dietary supplement for dogs, can decrease the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together or clot. While this effect is more dangerous for cats as compared to dogs, it is prudent that you take precautionary measures before subjecting your dog to omega-3 supplements. Consult with your local vet for guidance before giving your canine friend this type of supplements.
The Best Omega-3 Supplements for Dogs Review
Omega-3 supplements are very beneficial in a number of ways including but not limited to the better immune system, healthier skin, fur and coat, reduced inflammatory process, improved cardiovascular health and optimum nervous system functioning in dogs. All these are a few of the great benefits that your dog can derive from using omega-3 fatty acids. But there are dozens of brands out there on the market and choosing the right one that does not have the recommended amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids or harmful ingredients can be a tricky affair. That is why the following review of the best omega-3 supplements for your dogs will help you in making the right decision and choice all along.
1. Amazing Nutritionals Chewable-Fish Oils for Dogs
Your search for omega-3 supplements for dogs shouldn’t be a problem anymore when you can choose from a wide range of displays from various brands in stores near you. One of those top brands that you can give a try is definitely the famous Amazing Nutritionals Chewable-Fish Oils for Dogs. This product is already certified and is composed of all natural organic ingredients formulated for all types of dogs. As a matter of fact, it comes in chewable tablets that are easy to administer and this way, you can really eliminate wastage unlike when you are dealing with liquid formulations.
If you like organic dog supplements, you should also read my linked article for even more tips on such products for your dog to try.
Every table under Amazing Nutritionals Chewable-Fish Oils for Dogs contains 50 ml of fish oils complete with 17 ml of sunflower oil, giving a ratio of around 3:1(omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. In addition to that, this brand of supplements contains about 33 ml of omega-9 fatty acids that come in the form of primrose oils.
Actually, this fatty acid is capable of providing your dog with the amazing nutrients that will definitely promote its healthier and shinier coat while encouraging the development of strong, healthy bones, joints and of course, nervous system. Its chewable tablets are delicious and your pet will find them irresistible thanks to the bacon and liver flavors that are incorporated to give your four-legged a treat that it cannot overlook. Also, the Amazing Nutritionals Chewable-Fish Oils for Dogs boasts of being a product of GMP-certified facility that is meant to give you an assurance of safety and quality you can trust. Besides, it gives you noticeable differences in your canine friend within 30 days or else returns your cash just in case.
Why should you prefer this dietary supplement? The answer is as simple as you would have probably anticipated. Amazing Nutritionals Chewable-Fish Oils for Dogs is the ultimate choice for many pet owners. This is due to the fact that it has an excellent ratio of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 that all blended seamlessly to provide a balance of ALA, ELA, DHA, and the most preferred non-essential fatty acids. Even though you may not find it to be the cheapest of the supplements on the market today, it is actually one of the best and most affordable dietary supplements for your dogs.
2. Zesty Paws-Pure-Salmon Oil All-Natural Supplement
Most of the dietary supplement experts will tell you that salmon remains at the top of the list as the world’s best reliable source of the omega-3 fatty acids. This is true especially for those salmons that are found in most of the colder waters due to the abundance of the phytoplankton that is regarded to be one of the two most important sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
With Zesty Paws-Pure-Salmon Oil All-Natural Supplement, you can rest assured that you have finally settled on the right dietary supplement for your loyal canine friend. This product has incorporated all the right health-giving benefits that you can easily associate them with omega-3 fatty acids for dogs. The supplement contains up to 120ml of EPA and a whopping 130 ml of DHA for every single gram or ml of its unique formulation. Much to your surprise, you will realize that the product has just one ingredient which is salmon oil. And this serves as good news for anyone who is against the idea of too many ingredients used in the manufacturing of one product.
Zesty Paws-Pure-Salmon Oil All-Natural Supplement comes in three major forms to choose from. There is a liquid, soft gel, and chewable tablets to give you the versatility that you need especially when trying the easier and most effective way to administer the supplement to your dog.
The liquid formulation can be a good choice for you if you want to mix with your pet’s food. It comes complete with a nifty table that will help determine the right amount of the supplement you need to administer on a daily basis. But remember the quantity you choose should depend on the weight of your dog. The same case is true with chewable tablets as well as soft gel preparations because Zesty Paws gives a very helpful tool to assist you in determining the correct number of soft gels or tablets you need to feed your dog.
The most important thing to know about Zesty Paws soft gel and tablets is that the two components have some additional ingredients as a way to ensure the integrity of the product’s solid formulation. Above all, the supplement is packed with DHA and EPA including the omega-6 fatty acids to help in the balancing of FAs for your pet. Also, it is reasonably priced.
3. Grizzly Pollock-Oil Omega-3 All-Natural Dog-Fish Oil
If you are looking for the alternative source of omega-3 supplements for your dog, then your choice should be the Grizzly Pollock-Oil Omega-3 All Natural Dog-Fish Oil supplement. Unlike the rest of the dietary supplements containing essential fatty acids, this product does not incorporate the usual mackerel, salmon, tuna, or herring as its sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Instead, it’s oil is sourced right from the wild Pollock. These are white fish that have lower quantities of fatty acids in comparison to the fatty, cold water red-fish.
On the other hand, these wild Pollock boats of having significantly higher levels of DHA which is of significant value when it comes to improving the overall function of your dog’s central nervous system. Additionally, it promotes healthier, shinier and smooth coat including a well-dehydrated skin. This is the best choice if you need to promote and maintain healthy skin for your pet. The product can be mixed into the dog’s food for easy intake making it a great choice for your canine friend. Most importantly, Grizzly Pollock-Oil Omega-3 All-Natural Dog-Fish Oil is highly affordable and available.
4. Omega-Gold-Plus Salmon Oil by NaturVet
By now you should be fully aware that omega-3 fatty acids are composed of DHA, EPA, and ALA or rather the alpha-linolenic acid (which essentially is derived from plant sources). Needless to say, if you are looking for more complete essential omega-3 fatty acids for your dog, then your search should lead you to Omega-Gold-Plus Salmon Oil by NaturVet. This is a wonderful supplement and it contains DHA, EPA, AHA, and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, its alpha-linolenic acid is extracted from flaxseed, a world-renowned source for this exceptional type of fatty acids.
Alpha-linolenic acid contained in Omega-Gold-Plus Salmon Oil by NaturVet has antioxidant properties that should work perfectly well with the EPA’s anti-inflammatory properties. This combination can promote the cardiovascular system and healthier joints despite the fact that this supplement is formulated for improving the skin and coat of your canine friend. The main reason is that Omega-Gold-Plus Salmon Oil by NaturVet is rich in substantially higher amounts of EPA, DHA, and ALA.
This product comes in soft chewable tablets which enables you to have an easy time when administering it to your dog. Every soft chew is made up of approximately 13ml of EPA, 150ml of ALA, 16ml of DHA and 42 ml of Omega-6 in linoleic acid form. Being a product that is FDA-audited and compliant with cGMP standards, you can trust that this supplement will work exceptionally well for your dog.
The main reason for choosing Omega-Gold-Plus Salmon Oil by NaturVet as your dog’s supplement is the fact that it is inexpensive but very effective and formulated primarily to improve the overall wellbeing of your pet. On top of that, the supplement comes with the National Animal Supplement Council, a quality seal that gives you peace of mind knowing that you are spending your money on a supplement that will work well for your dog.
Omega-3 fatty acids come with many benefits for your dog. The supplement has been studied and proven to be effective in promoting and improving the health of your pets in many different ways. But just like any other supplement, omega-3 fatty acids come with its share of side effects but that should not deter your efforts of improving the health of your dog using this supplement. After all, its benefits outweigh its side effects by far.