Are there any adverse effects of giving my cat a supplement containing flax oil?

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Here’s the biggest thing you’ll need to keep in mind: Cats are meat-eating; in fact, they must have it to survive. Flax oil is a plant-based supplement. That means the absorption percentage is much less than if the cat got its Omega 3 essential fatty acids from fish oil.

So while flax oil may be effective for mild inflammation and pain, it may not be enough for more severe cases. Discuss this thoroughly with your veterinarian. It’s also important to understand that, while many commercial cat foods do include Omega 3s on the label, it’s not a sufficient amount, so your cat will probably need supplementation, even if the food contains plenty of Omega 6s. Both are necessary in order to bring your cat’s body into balance.

There really aren’t many, if any, side effects from flax oil, but you should know that flax oil can spoil pretty quickly. Once it’s opened, keep it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to pick up any uneatened food immediately. Otherwise, if you give your cat flax oil that’s become rancid, not only will it not taste good, but it could possibly result in tummy upsets.

Flax oil is also sometimes referred to as linseed oil, a yellowish substance that is often used in things like oil-based paints, varnishes, linoleum, and soaps. While flax oil, in itself, is not toxic to animals, you should be aware of it, because the petroleum products which do include flax oil are.

Like anything, you need to report every single medication, supplement and vitamin to your vet. Don’t assume that just because something is natural, it won’t have an adverse effect on other medications; even foods can sometimes interfere with the absorption of certain medications.

While flax oil is often used to help with skin and coat, and possibly return your cat’s body back to balance, there is always a potential, however slight, for an allergic reaction. Discontinue use at the first sign of an allergy.

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