salmon oil for dogs
Health Nutrition

A Guide To Salmon Oil For Dogs

What is salmon oil?

Salmon oil comes from the fat of salmon. It is used as a supplement because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Otherwise, know and essential fatty acids. Salmon oil is especially high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) essential fatty acids. Taken as a supplement Salmon oil can have many benefits for dogs and humans alike.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. Reduction of inflammation is especially important as chronic inflammation has been linked to almost all chronic diseases. These diseases include cancer, arthritis, diabetes, allergies, and more. So, it is helpful to reduce that inflammation where possible. 

Some things that increase inflammation include a diet high in carbs, stress, toxins, chemicals, and an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. When an imbalance occurs and there is too much omega-6 fat it will cause inflammation. The majority of today’s food for our pet is very high in omega-6 fats, which makes supplementing with omega-3s so important. A ratio of between 4:1 and 10:1 omega-6 to omega-3 is considered to be best for dogs. 

What are the benefits of salmon oil for dogs?

One of the most visible benefits of giving your dog salmon oil is that your dog will likely develop a shinier, silkier, healthier coat. As well as improve overall skin health. Salmon oil does this by helping to hydrate and keep a good moisture balance in the skin. If the skin is healthy the fur will be too. Salmon oil also promotes the building of collagen which is good for the skin, coat, and joints.

Along those lines supplementing with salmon oil can help to reduce the likelihood that your dog will get arthritis. It can also help ease the symptoms of arthritis by lubricating the joints. 

Salmon oil helps alleviate symptoms and even cure skin allergies in some dogs. This supplement can help by building a barrier of strong cells to protect the body from reacting when the skin comes into contact with allergins. 

These essential fatty acids EPA and DHA are required for healthy brain function. They help with the development of the brain of a puppy fetus and can help to keep that puppy sharp his whole life.

This supplement can also help with more specific health issues like preventing cancers and helping to slow cancer growth. Salmon oil can also help to reduce cancer-related issues like cachexia a muscle-wasting disease. 

Salmon oil has also proven to be helpful in the treatment of kidney issues. Helping with things like frequent urination and to stimulate the appetite. 

Since the omega-3s in salmon oil are anti-inflammatory they can also help to reduce symptoms of and chances of getting: heart disease, eye issues, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, and more! Overall salmon oil can boost your dog’s whole immune system which will keep him healthier and happier.

Is Salmon Oil Safe For Dogs (Are there risks or side effects?)

One of the main risks is that supplementing with salmon oil has the potential to increase your dogs’ body weight. Which could be good in the case of a dog that is too lean or bad in the case of a dog already a little overweight. 

Giving your dog salmon oil may also give your dog bad breath. Keeping up with brushing your dog’s teeth could be all you need to do to counteract this. 

Too much salmon oil can slow down white blood cells. This can cause slower wound healing and can slow the immune system overall.

Some other potential issues associated with salmon oil could be nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and dizziness. Not all dogs will experience these things, but it is good to keep an eye on your dog and make changes as needed.

Salmon oil can also contain lots of toxins and pollutants. There are many carcinogens that have been found in salmon oil supplements including dioxin which is a byproduct of industrial processes used in many manufacturing factories, mercury, PCPs used in the production of electronic devices, and others. So, be cautious when buying a supplement. 

How To choose a good salmon oil supplement for your dog

When looking for a salmon oil supplement look for cold-pressed salmon oil from wild-caught salmon. Omega-3s are very fragile and are destroyed easily when heated. You also want to make sure that the salmon is sustainably sourced but never from farmed fish.

To help remove toxins and contaminates it is a good idea to find a supplement that has gone through molecular distillation. This can be very helpful for removing even more contaminants and those carcinogens mentioned earlier. 

Also, be sure to get a salmon oil supplement that is high in omega-3s and low in omega-6s. Remember we are trying to boost omega-3s because most dogs get too much omega-6.

You also want to look for a pure salmon oil with no added anything. Fresh wild-caught salmon oil has vitamin E naturally occurring in it, unlike regular fish oil. The vitamin E helps to increase shelf life as well as lend antioxidant properties to the supplement. 

Because omega-3s are so fragile it is best if you can get the supplement in a glass bottle. Glass will not let in so much air as plastic will. This will help to reduce to oxidation of the salmon oil supplement. It is always best to use a salmon oil supplement before its expiration date. If the salmon oil goes rancid it will do more harm than good for your dog. It can be helpful to refrigerate salmon oil to further reduce its risk of oxidation. 

How do you give salmon oil to your dog and what is the correct dosage?

There are several different ways to give your dog salmon oil as a supplement. There are chews, soft gels, pumps of liquid, and more. Remember that we want the supplement to be cold-pressed though, most chews and treats are cooked to some degree so they may not be the best option. 

As for dosing it is best to follow the directions on the package. However, as a general rule: 

Dog’s Weight Dosage

0-26lbs 4ml

27-53lbs 8ml

54-106lbs 12ml

107lbs + 16ml

You could choose to use a human supplement but if you do assume that the dose is for a 150lb human and adjust accordingly for your dog’s weight. Of course, it is always best to discuss supplements with your vet, especially if you are using salmon oil to help treat a certain health issue in your dog.

Is Salmon Oil good for all dogs?

Salmon oil can be a helpful addition to the diet of all dogs from fetus to golden years. Helping puppies develop strong healthy brains and brain function. Salmon oil can also help senior dogs keep their brains sharp. Of course, all age dogs in between can get benefits from this supplement too. 

Some dog food manufacturer adds EPA and DHA to their puppy formulas now because they are realizing how helpful they are for brain development. It seems great, right? Well not really, remember omega-3s are very fragile and kibbles get cooked at high heat for long periods of time, destroying any benefits of the omega-3s

Moreover, any size dog, mini to giant breed, can potentially benefit from salmon oil. Just make sure you are using the appropriate size dose and a good quality supplement for your dog. 

What dog breeds benefit most from salmon oil?

Several breeds are more likely to have allergy issues. They include the Chinese Shar-Pei, Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Bull Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Boston Terrier, Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Cocker Spaniel, Brussels Griffon, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Dalmatians, Boxers, and German Shephard. These breeds will likely benefit greatly from a salmon oil supplement to help with their allergies.

Several breeds could benefit form salmon oil supplementation due to their increased risk of developing arthritis. These breeds include larger breeds, for instance, Gloden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. 

English Cocker Spaniels, German Shephards, and Bull Terriers are more likely to develop kidney disease. The omega-3s in salmon oil can prove helpful for preventing and helping to alleviate some symptoms of kidney disease. 

Heart disease is another health issue that can be helped and possibly prevented by the omega-3s found in salmon oil. Breeds that are more likely to develop heart issues are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, Dachshunds, Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Doberman Pinchers, Golden Retrievers, and Miniature Schnauzers.

Salmon oil can prove helpful in preventing eye issues and supporting the eyes as well. These breeds are more prone to eye problems German Shepards, Great Danes, Collies, Siberian Huskys, English Cocker Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and short-nosed breeds such as Shih-Tzu, Pekingese, and Pugs.

Finally, these breeds are prone to inflammatory bowel disease which can be helped by salmon oil supplementation. The Basenji, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Shar-Pei, and German Shephard are all prone to inflammatory bowel disease. 

What if my dog is allergic to salmon, what other options do I have?

Some dogs may indeed be allergic to salmon or your dog may experience some of the negative effects of salmon oil like diarrhea or dizziness. If this occurs, should you simply give up on trying to get the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio balanced for your dog’s diet?
Not at all! There are lots of other options that may work as well if not better for your dog. Supplements rich in omega-3s that will offer many of the same benefits as salmon oil because of the anti-inflammatory effects of the omega-3s they contain. 

Fish oil could be an option, though if your dog has an issue with salmon they might have an issue with all fish. Be careful sourcing a good fish oil. They can contain many of the same contaminates as salmon oil and will lose their omega-3s if heated too. Be sure to choose a fish oil with a natural source of vitamin E added to help protect the product from oxidation. Try to get fish oil made of smaller fish (sardines, mackerel, anchovies) from the Atlantic ocean for best results.

Another option is krill oil. This could be something to try if your dog has a fish issue. Krill is a shellfish and may not bother your dog as other fish oils do. Plus, krill has the added benefit of astaxanthin which is an excellent antioxidant. Be sure to get sustainably sourced krill oil and make sure it’s cold-processed. 

Phytoplankton is another option that might work well for your dog. If you get good quality phytoplankton it is much less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals and toxins because it can be grown in filtered water. This also makes it much more sustainable because it’s not taken from the ocean at all. Phytoplankton is high in minerals too, which will help to prevent any mineral deficiencies. 

In summary, salmon oil can be quite helpful and holds many health benefits for dogs of all ages and sizes. Benefits include reduced inflammation, allergies, cancer issues, and increase brain, heart, kidney, and eye health to name a few. 

When sourcing a salmon oil supplement be sure to get cold-pressed, wild-caught with as minimal contamination as possible. And do all you can to reduce the chances of it oxidizing and going rancid by using the supplement before its expiration date, keeping it in a glass bottle, and keeping it in the refrigerator. It’s best to follow the dosage instructions on the package.

There are a few potential drawbacks of salmon oil including salmon breath, weight gain, stomach pain, dizziness, diarrhea, and nausea to name a few. Not all dogs will experience this but it’s good to know that it can happen. 

Lastly, salmon oil is not your only option for boosting the omega-3s in your dog’s diet. You also have the options of fish oil, krill oil, and phytoplankton. Each of these has its unique benefits in addition to having omega-3s.

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