Here’s How To Give Your Dog Salmon Oil, According To Vets

Plus, the best salmon oil supplements for dogs 🐟

salmon oil liquid, salmon oil chews
Amazon, Chewy
Amazon, Chewy

It’s pretty well known that salmon’s super healthy for humans, but is it good for your dog, too?

It turns out there are actually lots of benefits of salmon for dogs, and you can give your pup salmon oil to take advantage of them.

The Dodo spoke to some vets to find out how to find the best salmon oil for dogs and how to give your dog salmon oil. Plus, we found some of the best salmon oil for dogs you can buy.

Benefits of salmon oil for dogs

Salmon oil contains EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Dogs aren’t able to make their own omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s important to provide it for your pup, whether it’s in his food or with a supplement like salmon oil.

“Salmon oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for bone, joint and heart health,” Dr. Alex Crow, a veterinarian with The Happiest Dog, told The Dodo. “It is also known to help reduce itchy and dry skin, which can be associated with allergies. When taken in moderation, your dog will most likely have better skin, shed less and will be better off as they age.”

Salmon oil has a ton of health benefits, such as:

  • Boosts overall immune system
  • Helps with joint health and arthritis symptoms
  • Supports skin and coat health
  • Reduces allergy symptoms
  • Supports cognitive function of senior dogs
  • Promotes brain and eye development of puppies
  • Supports heart health
  • May help treat kidney disease
  • May slow the growth of cancer

Side effects of salmon oil

While salmon oil’s super healthy for dogs, just like with any supplement, there are some side effects. Luckily, these side effects can be easily prevented or treated.

  • Weight gain — Adding salmon oil to your dog’s diet will also add additional calories, so you should take that into account and adjust the amount of food you give him.
  • Digestive problems — Some pups might get an upset stomach when they first start taking salmon oil. You can prevent this by introducing it to your dog slowly. Give him only a little at first and gradually increase the amount so he gets used to it.
  • Bad (fishy) breath — Your dog’s breath might smell like fish after eating salmon oil supplements, but you can get rid of the fishy scent by brushing his teeth, or try an unscented supplement instead (check out our top pick below).

How to use salmon oil for dogs

If you want to give your pup salmon oil, you can drizzle the liquid form on his dog food once a day, Dr. Crow said. There are also salmon oil capsules and chews available. For dogs who don’t like pills, the liquid oil might be best because it can be mixed into their food.

Be sure to store the oil in the fridge or freezer so it doesn’t go bad, and if you notice it starts to smell funky (worse than a normal fishy smell), throw it out.

“Fish oil turns rancid in the presence of light, heat and oxygen,” Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinarian with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, told The Dodo. “In order to make sure the fish oil you are giving is protected, fresh and beneficial to your dog’s health, buy from reputable companies, store fish oil in the freezer and make sure the container is opaque to protect the supplement from light.”

How much salmon oil to give your dog

When giving your dog salmon oil, follow the instructions on the packaging. The dosage will be based on your pup’s weight.

Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian with Hepper, also recommends asking your vet for advice on how much to give. “Always ask your veterinarian before giving salmon oil to your dog,” Dr. Bonk said. “They will help you determine the right dose and way to give it.”

The amount you give your dog will also depend on why you’re giving him salmon oil.

“If you want to feed your dog salmon oil for a specific medical condition, ask your vet because the dosage for each condition varies,” Dr. Wooten said. “For example, the dose needed for kidneys is one-fifth the dose needed for joint health.”

It’s super important to follow the directions on the packaging and the advice of your veterinarian since too much salmon oil can actually be bad for your dog. You’ll have to strike the right balance of how much to give him.

“Too much salmon oil given at once can cause stomach upset in dogs, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, compromised immune system and delayed wound healing,” Dr. Crow said.

How to find the best salmon oil

There are some things you should consider when choosing a salmon oil supplement to make sure you’re getting the right one for your pup and that it’s high quality. Here’s what to look for:

  • Form — “Salmon oil comes in many products specifically formulated for dogs,” Dr. Bonk said. “The most common type is a liquid form that can be put on their dry kibble. If your dog doesn’t like this option, there are treats and chews that contain salmon oil as well.”
  • EPA and DHA — The most important omega-3s salmon oil should have are EPA and DHA.
  • Wild salmon — “When it comes to omega-3s, DHA and EPA from wild-caught, cold-water fish is the best source,” Dr. Wooten said. “Farm-raised fish have low levels of omega-3s and high levels of omega-6s.”
  • Not diluted — The oil should ideally not be diluted with other products and shouldn’t contain lots of preservatives. “Always look out for added and unnecessary preservatives,” Dr. Crow said. (Chewables will probably contain other ingredients to make up the chew.)
  • Smell — Unless you like fishy dog breath, you’ll probably want to look for an unscented or lightly scented oil. “Try to find one that has a minimal smell,” Dr. Crow said. “A strong smell can linger if it is a very fishy oil.”

Best salmon oil for dogs

Here are some salmon oils to try for your pup in every form you might need — liquid, capsules, chews and unscented.

Liquid salmon oil: Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

This salmon oil is perfect to add to your pup’s food. It’s free from GMOs and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Plus, the oil’s made from wild salmon that comes from the Alaskan Bering Sea instead of farm-raised fish.

Salmon oil capsules: Best Paw Nutrition Pure Salmon Softgels

These capsules are made with 100 percent wild Alaskan salmon oil, and they have no fillers, preservatives or artificial flavors or colors, so they’re super healthy and safe to give your pup. They’re even human grade, so you can take them, too.

Salmon oil chews: PetHonesty Salmon SkinHealth

If you want to give your dog a treat that also has healthy salmon in it, try these chews. The omega fatty acids come from Alaskan salmon oil, and the chews have no GMOs or preservatives.

Unscented salmon oil: Iceland Pure Unscented Pharmaceutical Grade Salmon Oil

If you want your pup to have the benefits of salmon oil but you can’t stand the fishy smell, try this unscented oil. It’s pharmaceutical grade, free from GMOs and made with Norwegian salmon that’s rich in omega-3s. The oil’s also packaged in aluminum bottles to avoid plastic contamination.

You can give your pup salmon oil as an extra healthy treat, and with a bunch of different forms to choose from, you’ll definitely be able to find one that your dog will enjoy.

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