If my dog needs fish oil, how can I select a healthy source?
Fish oils contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They’ve been used successfully for a long time, and adding fish oil to your dog’s food provides anti-inflammatory affects, particularly helpful with skin itching. Once used primarily to treat canine allergies, they’re now recommended for a wide range of conditions, ranging from kidney to heart disease and to arthritis.
The most commonly used supplements that provide fatty acids are fish oil and flax seed oil—either found in coldwater fish, such as salmon, trout or menhaden or from the seeds of the flax plant. The fish oil omega 3s are able to be metabolized by the body a little quicker and easier than the flax seed oil—so fish is usually suggested more often.
Fish oils can also help with:
• Inflammatory diseases including allergies, arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancers. While more studies are needed, preliminary research suggests that fish oil slows down the growth and spread of some canine cancers.
• Allergic skin disease: It reduces the amount of histamine, which controls itching.
So now that we know what it does, how do you make sure you’re giving your pet the safest quantity and quality? First, there are some excellent fish oil supplements—in both liquid and capsule form–designed for companion animals. Ask your veterinarian, animal nutritionist or some other pet expert for suggestions.
You can use fish oil meant for humans, but you must choose the correct dosage—and THAT should always be discussed with a veterinarian.
Finally, sprinkle a little cooked salmon or trout—or add a few flax seeds into your dog’s food.
NOTE: Many concerns have been raised recently about mercury levels found in fish. Although mercury is really found in most places, it is most commonly associated with salmon because of its popularity. Make sure, therefore, that any fish oil you select for your pet is certified and tested—by a third-party source independent of the manufacturer—for purity. Mercury levels should be virtually undetectable.