While it’s important to support your pet with balanced and nourishing meals, supplementing their diet can do wonders to improve their overall health. You’ve probably heard about fish oil for pets or seen capsules at the store, but it can be overwhelming to figure out what exactly your pet needs and why. To find the right fish oil supplement for your pet, you should learn the basics—from its benefits to top considerations when choosing one type over another.
Fish oil for pets typically takes the form of gel capsules or a liquid. These are easy for your pet to eat and usually feature the oil in its natural form, as if your pet is eating the fish itself.
It’s important to remember that unless your vet says otherwise, you shouldn’t give your pet fish oil that’s made for humans. Human-grade supplements can have ingredients that are toxic to animals. Also, the dosage may not be right, so stick to ones formulated specifically for animals.
The many benefits of fish oil
The reason fish oil is so beneficial is because of its omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is rich in omega-3s, which affect everything from your furry friend’s coat to their joints.
- Healthier skin and coat: Taking fish oil supplements regularly heals flaky skin and keeps pets from itching. If you deal with a pet with dry skin, fish oil can be really helpful, moisturizing their skin and coat from the inside out. In particular, DHA and EPA are two acids that work to heal skin irritation. It may take only a few weeks for you to see results, which your pet is sure to be grateful for.
- Improved immune system: Because fish oil is anti-inflammatory, it can help to maintain a healthy immune system. A strong immune system is important because it means your pet is less likely to suffer from diseases and other ailments—and you won’t have to make as many visits to the vet. You’ll be happy that they’re healthy, and so will they!
- Increased stamina: Similar to how humans rely on carbohydrates for energy, dogs need fats. Omega-3s are an easily digestible fat source, so fish oil is great fuel for your pet. Even better, it’s a clean energy source for pets. This can encourage older dogs to play more or keep younger ones going. No matter your pet’s age, they’ll be happy to be able to continue playing and running to their heart’s content.
- Improved heart health: Omega-3s are also helpful in the development and maintenance of pets’ cardiovascular health. This could lead to better endurance when doing physical activity and faster recovery after exertion. It’s also helpful in supporting the heart health of aging pets at risk of disease.
- Relieved joint pain: If your pet suffers from joint pain, fish oil supplements are a great option to provide relief. Omega-3s increase blood flow, which can reduce joint pain and swelling. This allows arthritis pets to continue to be active for longer periods of time than they otherwise could.
Fish oil comes in different varieties
If you decide to pick up a fish oil supplement for your pet, you may be surprised to learn that there are multiple options to choose from. The two common forms of fish oil are salmon oil and white fish oil. Although both supplements serve the same purpose, they have a few differences to be aware of.
Pros and cons of salmon oil
Salmon oil is derived solely from salmon. This means it may be more pure or easier to trace back to the source. Single-source fish oil is better for animals with food allergies.
Salmon oil supplements are also great because salmon oil is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than white fish oil. It also provides superior absorption compared to white fish oil, meaning your pet’s body will use more of its nutrients, more easily.
One potential drawback of salmon oil is its fishy taste and smell. Some dogs and cats might enjoy this. However, if they’re picky, your furry friend may not care for it. This is why it’s important to know your individual pet’s tastes.
Pros and cons of white fish oil
White fish oil supplements are usually derived from a variety of fish species, such as anchovies, herring, sardines and mackerel. This can make it harder to determine the true content and quality of the oil. That being said, if you purchase the supplement from a reputable brand, white fish oil can still provide an ample serving of omega-3s. Because it uses a variety of fish, white fish oil is also not ideal for pets with food allergies.
One great benefit of white fish oil is its lack of fishy odor and taste. It’s much milder than salmon oil, making it great for pickier pets.
Choose the right supplement for your furry friend
The type of fish oil you pick for your pet should depend on their taste, preference and specific needs. If they like or are indifferent to the taste and smell of fish, you may want to choose salmon oil. If they’re pickier, you may want to choose white fish oil.
Either one of these supplements can benefit your pet’s health in ways that both you and your furry friend will notice. However, be sure to talk to your vet before starting your pet on any supplements. With their approval and guidance, your pet will be on the way to their best possible health!