A lot of people are familiar with fish oil supplements because they, themselves, take them. It’s only natural then for pet owners to wonder if some of the same positive 8 fish oil benefits that work for them will work for their pets, too. This post will review some of the existing research, and see just what real pet owners are saying about omega-3s and their pets.
Should you give your pets fish oil?
The answer to this question is, yes. I’d like to share some of the information I found, and I’ll leave the rest up to you.
At best, your pets will see some of the same benefits you do, and at worse they will have fishy-breath. If you have your own personal stories to share, please leave comments below!
One promising report I found comes from a pet education site. The author of the report, Holly Nash, DVM, MS of Doctor Foster and Smith says that veterinarians are actually becoming increasingly interested in the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil. She adds that our pets are very similar to us in that they cannot create all the essential fatty acids they need. Nash concludes that her review of the research supports the belief that fatty acid supplements appear to be beneficial for pet skin, hair, joint health, and other problems related to inflammation.
What are real pet owners saying?
Based on my research,I was able to find a long list of reasons that people give omega-3 to their pets, whether cats of dogs:
- Decrease shedding
- Better skin health
- Flea dermatitis
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
The WebMD pet health community also had a number of satisfied users, especially for treating specific conditions like dry, itchy skin, and dull coats. A couple of the contributing expert vets also noted that it may take up to three months before you start seeing results.
Tips if you’re giving your pets fish oil
Most of the reviews I saw involved giving fish oil intended for humans to their pets. However, after reading multiple veterinary posts advising against this, I chose not to include them. Instead, you should avoid giving your pets fish oil intended for humans so you can take the guess work out of dosing, and of course talk to your veterinarian if your animal has existing health problems.
One of the most important things I kept running into is the importance of balancing the omega-6s (highly prevalent in vegetable oils) in your pet’s diet. Animals like dogs and cats do not convert omega-3s the same way you and I do, and the general opinion of vets is that omega-6 is way too abundant in store bought foods.