Best Fish Oil for Dogs - Comparison and Reviews
If you’ve ever been anywhere near a health or wellness site, you know the benefits of fish oil for humans. Have you ever considered that the same benefits might apply to your dog?
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids, especially Omega-3 fatty acids, are important in development and health in many mammals, including dogs, cats, and even humans.
While you can feed your dog fish directly, many people enjoy the ease of use that a dedicated supplement provides. Supplements are less messy and smelly than fish, and you can regulate the dose more precisely than if you feed your dog raw fish.
Fish oil supplements come in two primary forms, liquids and tablets. Liquid fish oil usually comes with a pump dispenser, so you can easily add some to your dog’s daily kibble. Tablets can either be chewable tablets or in gel capsules.
Some dogs take very well to chewable tablets, while others won’t touch it at all, even if it’s hidden in their kibble. Both supplements are fine to use, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose will depend on your dog’s preference and what is most comfortable for you.
When you start looking around for the ideal fish oil supplement for your dog, you may be surprised by the amount of choice available to you. What makes it even worse is that many of the products look identical to each other, so it can be difficult to know which one to choose. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best fish oil supplements on the market today.
All these products are 100% pure, responsibly sourced, and contain high-quality Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids without many extra worthless ingredients. These may be at the top end of the price range, but when it comes to fish oils, it’s worthwhile to pay the bit extra for higher quality products.
Our Top Picks
Best Fish Oil for Dogs 2020 - Reviews
1. Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs
This is one of the best fish oils for dogs on the market. The Pure Alaskan Salmon Oil from Zesty Paws is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are great for the heart. It is rich with health benefits, including improved brain function.
Getting your pup to eat this oil is incredibly easy as it comes in a pump bottle. All you need to do is add a bit to the food, and your pooch will have a heart-healthy meal at the ready—no tricky capsules or unpalatable tablets.
The oil is especially beneficial for older dogs. Many owners with arthritic dogs claim to notice improved joints and a more active dog with this supplement. Salmon oil also helps with hair loss by thickening the dogs’ coats.
The Zesty Paws Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is affordable and delicious for both cats and dogs.
2. Vital Pet Life Premium Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs
If you’re looking for affordable, American-made salmon oil for dogs, this is the right choice. Vital Pet Life’s Premium Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a health bomb of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. The salmon oil is a perfect supplement to alleviate joint pain, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. It also boosts the immune system effectively.
Vital Pet Life makes all their oil in the United States, and it is both FDA-approved and recommended by veterinarians. The oil has no added growth hormones or preservatives, making it a healthier alternative to most dog supplements.
With its convenient liquid form, adding it to your pet’s meals is simple. Pour a few servings with their regular bowl of food and watch your dog’s energy levels go through the roof.
If your fur baby has problems with shedding, Omega-3 and 6 do great work supporting a healthier coat. After adding salmon oil to their diets, they’ll be so smooth and shiny you won’t be able to stop cuddling them.
3. Ready Pet Go Omega 3 For Dogs
The supplement from Ready Pet Go is specially crafted to support joint health and mobility. Each soft chew is rich in Omega-3 with EPA and DHA. Omega-3 provides excellent joint and bone support for dogs with arthritis, helping them to stay active.
Does your pet have a problem with shedding? Ready Pet Go Omega 3 For Dogs contains essential vitamins, like Biotin, that encourage a smoother coat, and the supplement is perfect for dogs with dry and itchy skin. EPA and DHA work wonders for the immune system and foster a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Ready Pet Go is a reputable brand when it comes to pet supplements. All the ingredients are lab-tested for safety and effectiveness. We know many pet owners are concerned about products made overseas, but these soft chews are 100% made in the United States.
4. Carlson Cod Liver Oil for Dogs
Carlson has been in business for decades, and they’ve perfected their extraction process, leaving you to reap the benefits. As the name suggests, Carlson cod liver oil is extracted from cod living in Norwegian waters. The extraction method is completely chemical-free and produces a high-quality product rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Cod liver oil is usually known as being very fishy and smelly, but thanks to the high-tech extraction process, the oil has virtually no scent. Carlson adds a natural lemon extract for added palatability and has been rated the tastiest fish oil for dogs by the Brussels International Taste and Quality Institute.
As this fish oil is directly obtained from cod liver, it contains a whole range of healthy vitamins and minerals in addition to Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Carlson is the best fish oil with high quantity of Omega-3s which is ideal for the dog’s brain, heart and joint health.
5. Grizzly Salmon Oil for Dogs
One of the most popular fish oils on the market, Grizzly Salmon Oil is derived from wild-caught Alaskan salmon. The oil is extracted from the skin of the fish while the meat is prepared for human consumption, so you know you’re getting fish oil from high-quality salmon.
The best thing about salmon oil is that in addition to Omega-3s, the fat is also rich in several vitamins and minerals and even antioxidants. It also contains Omega-6 fatty acids, in the correct ratio to allow for reduced blood pressure and strengthened immune system.
Grizzly Salmon Oil comes in an easy to use pump bottle that helps reduce mess and allows you to dispense just the right amount for your dog. The oil itself doesn’t smell too fishy but is still attractive and palatable to most dogs while being easy on your nose.
There has been a lot of controversy about the contamination of fish oils with heavy metals such as mercury. Grizzly test all their products for heavy metals regularly, and their products are under the detection limit. So you can rest assured that supplementing with Grizzly Salmon oil will not increase your dog’s mercury levels.
The biggest concern with all Grizzly products is that they use rosemary as a preservative. While the FDA classifies rosemary extract as ‘generally regarded as safe,’ there is still some controversy among experts. Rosemary has tentatively been linked to seizures in dogs in the past. These seizures happened as the result of incredibly high doses, though, so unless you’re administering an entire bottle of salmon oil in one day, there should be no ill-effects to your dog.
If you’re worried, be sure to consult with your vet before starting any type of supplementation.
- Light odor that’s not very fishy, but still palatable to most dogs
- Extracted from wild-caught Alaskan salmon using a short heating period extraction method to produce high-quality oil
- High levels of DHA and EPA
- Contains a good ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, in addition to multiple vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to thrive
- Regularly tested for mercury and other heavy metals
- Can be expensive
- Contains rosemary as a preservative, and it is also linked to seizures in dogs
6. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels for Dogs
Your dog deserves the best. Nordic Naturals is known for creating high-quality fish oil for humans, and the company also uses some of this extraordinary ingredient for its pet formula. However, it strongly recommends that you only use the pet formula for your pets (not the human-friendly version).
Nordic Naturals fill soft gel capsules to the brim with essential Omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes a healthier heart, bones, skin, and immune system.
The supplements use a blend of anchovy and sardine oil, so if your dog is sensitive to fins, it may not be a viable option. If not, it is a storm of essential nutrients to keep your furry friend looking and feeling and fantastic.
All Nordic Naturals fish oil supplements are approved for purity and freshness by the European Pharmacopeia and World Health Organization. It also offers a liquid version for easy serving.
7. Amazing Nutritionals Omega 3 Supplement For Dogs
Finding the right fish oil supplement for your dog can be difficult, especially since you want something affordable and effective. Amazing Nutritionals steps in with certified organic fish oil chew tablets which are delicious and rich in essential vitamins and fatty acids.
Each bottle contains 120 bacon-flavored tablets designed to keep your pup healthy and active. The vitamins promote a smooth, shiny coat, and Omega-3, essential for bone, joint, cardiovascular health, and a functioning nervous system.
One thing we love about this supplement is that the oil is in a convenient tablet. Liquid fish oil supplements often lead to wastage, where the pills are easy to measure and serve.
Amazing Nutritional has outstanding customer service. It offers a no-questions money-back guarantee if you don’t see results from their products. It is that kind of confidence that makes it no surprise as a leading brand for dog supplements.
8. Pet Honesty Fish Oil for Dogs with Omegas for Itch-Free Skin
Itchy skin can cause your dog severe discomfort and unnecessary stress. Pet Honest’s SkinHealth Fish Oil Supplement contains essential vitamins and fatty acids to heal damaged skin and puff out the coat. You can use it to treat several conditions, including allergies, inflammation, dermatitis, shedding, and dry skin patches.
Almost all skin conditions are related to poor nutrition. Pet Honesty’ SkinHealth Supplement is an all-in-one solution for nutrient deficiencies, which boosts health and wellness.
All the ingredients are certified organic, without any GMOs or artificial flavors. Pet Honestly goes the extra mile to provide safe and results-driven products, and customer satisfaction is one of their priorities. It also ensures superior supplements by keeping the production and testing in the United States.
The soft chews are delicious and don’t leave a powerful fishy odor on your pup’s breath. We recommend giving these a try if your dog doesn’t like eating tablets.
9. Vetoquinol Triglyceride Fish Oil Supplement for Small Dogs
Vetoquinol has been churning out high-quality supplements since 1933. It is a family-owned company with facilities around the globe and over 100 employees. It partners directly with veterinary clinics and consistently pioneers new pet supplements.
The Vetoquinol Triglyceride Fish Oil Supplement for Small Dogs is rich in omegas, which promote a shiny, healthy coat. The fish oil comes in tablet and liquid form, and strength varies depending on your dog’s size.
Vetoquinol inputs significant research into fish oil as essential for healthy kidney and heart function. It packs products with essential vitamins and fatty acids to keep your dog feeling on top of the world.
This is the only product on our list with a certified seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). It is suitable for small dogs and especially useful for picky eaters.
10. Iceland Pure Unscented Fish Oil
If you’re looking for the purest fish oil available, Iceland Pure Unscented Fish Oil offers just that. The oil is extracted from sardines and anchovies found in Icelandic waters. The extraction process uses a rapid, high-heat distillation process to produce pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that is free from contaminants and trans fats. This process produces some of the most concentrated, high-grade fish oil possible while leaving in other valuable compounds, such as vitamin E and other minerals.
To further ensure that the oil remains pure, Iceland bottle is packaged in epoxy-coated bottles that maximize freshness and purity. As these bottles are so effective at keeping the oil fresh, Iceland Pure don’t need to use rosemary as a preservative.
The high level of Omega-3s in this product means that you will see results in as little as four weeks. Iceland Pure fish oil is best for dogs with dry and flaky skin, as well as dogs that have sensitive skin and are prone to allergies. Many owners notice a difference in their dog’s skin and coat condition, and some owners note other benefits with prolonged use of this oil.
11. Pet MD Salmon Oil Soft Chews for Dogs
If you’re looking for the best value for money, look no further than Pet MD’s Salmon Oil bites. The supplement is packed with anti-inflammatory benefits that alleviates itching and allergy symptoms.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 nourishes and restores your dog’s coat and boosts the immune system. Does your dog have arthritis or other forms of chronic pain? These salmon bites contain rich compounds to strengthen joints and bones.
All Pet MD products are made and inspected in the United States. The bites are delicious, even for the picky eaters, but don’t leave these treats around your pup unprotected as they may overindulge. You can serve two to four bites per day, depending on your dog’s size, splitting it between morning and evening meals.
If you’re looking for a nutrition powerhouse, Pet MD’s Salmon Oil Omega 3 Bites might be it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of fish oil?
When people refer to fish oil, they’re primarily referring to a group of fatty acids known as Omega-3 fatty acids. Two types of Omega-3, namely DHA and EPA, are found predominantly in marine animals and have been studied extensively in terms of human health.
There is also a third Omega-3 fatty acid, called ALA, which is extracted from plant matter, such as flax seeds. The Omega-3 content is relatively low, so its health benefits aren’t so pronounced.
Fish oil also contains several vitamins and minerals that are extracted along with the fatty acids. These include fat-soluble vitamins A and E, both of which are essential for dogs. Vitamin A is important for the development and maintenance of teeth, bones, the immune system, and soft tissue. It also has antioxidant properties which can help prevent cancer.
Vitamin E is also a strong antioxidant and prevents inflammation, lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease, and supports the immune system.
Studies on the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids have been done in humans, mice, monkeys, and many other animals besides. Their benefits seem to affect all mammals, suggesting that your dog will get as much benefit from Omega-3 fatty acids as you will.
Some of the benefits of fish oil in dogs include:
- Promoting a glossy coat and healthy skin (and if you add in a dog flea collar and your dog will have the perfect clean fur)
- Lowering blood pressure and reducing the chance of heart disease
- Anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the symptoms of allergies and arthritis in dogs
- Supporting the immune system
What dogs benefit the most from fish oil?
All dogs can derive some benefit from fish oils, but certain dog groups will get more benefits from regular supplementation. These include:
- Senior dogs: As dogs get older, they start to develop a number of painful and debilitating conditions, such as arthritis and heart disease. Fish oils help reduce inflammation around the joints, easing any arthritic pain.
They also help maintain healthy blood pressure and can even lower cholesterol levels, which is a great benefit if your senior dog is starting to put on weight.
- Pregnant dogs: Fish oils, especially Omega-3s, are incredibly necessary for fetal development, and pregnant dams may actually become deficient if they’re not properly fed. Fish oils can help with fetal development and cognitive function, but they will also ensure that the dam is in peak condition during this period.
Omega-3s will strengthen the immune system and keep her blood pressure low, allowing for a safe pregnancy.
- Puppies: Omega-3s have been implicated in cognitive development, and this doesn’t only apply in humans. Puppies need a large amount of Omega-3s to develop their cognitive function, and supplementation may lead to smarter dogs. Fish oil will also keep their skin and coat in good condition, and a strengthened immune system is essential if your puppy still hasn’t completed their vaccine regimen.
- Large Dog Breeds that are prone to joint problems. There are several large breeds that can develop joint problems from an early age, including golden retrievers, German Shepherds, and labs. As fish oil helps reduce inflammation, it can help protect joints for longer, allowing these dogs to have a higher quality of life.
Are fish oils really effective?
While fish oils have been in the news regularly, many skeptics are starting to wonder how effective they really are. As with much nutrition-related news, the marketing and media hype surrounding fish oil has gotten out of control, and if a product is promising something too good to be true, it usually is.
So while fish oils aren’t a miracle cure, they still have their place in a healthy diet. If you’re feeding your dog kibble, you’ll have seen that many brands add Omega-3s to their products. However, these fatty acids are delicate and can go rancid and degrade very easily. So, by the time the kibble reaches your dog, most of the added Omega-3s are useless.
That’s where supplementation comes in. All you’re doing is supplementing your dog’s existing healthy diet. Fish oil supplements will not replace proper veterinary care, nor are they a cure-all for your dog.
Instead, they’re an addition to ensure that your dog is getting all the vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids it needs in order to live a happy and healthy life. So, if your dog is healthy, has no joint problems, and has a glossy coat, you probably don’t need to supplement. But, if you know your dog has problems with dry skin or shows signs of Omega-3 deficiency, then a supplement will do them a world of good.
How do I know which fish oil supplement to buy?
We’ve given our recommendation for high-quality fish oils that are excellent options. But they may not be available in your region, or you may have better alternatives available to you. When you shop around for fish oils, there are several factors that you can use to help make your decision.
Your main consideration should be the amount of Omega-3s in the supplement, specifically the concentration of EPA. Since this is the most beneficial fatty acid, you want a product that has a high concentration of EPA to get the most bang for your buck.
The second consideration is how the fish is sourced. Many salmon oils are made from farmed salmon, which tend to be unhealthier than their wild counterparts. Farmed fish have higher concentrations of mercury and other contaminants, and this can be passed on into the fish oil.
So, stick to fish oils that are derived from wild-caught fish, hopefully, fish that are sustainably and responsibly sourced.
Finally, you have to decide how you want to administer the fish oil. Some dogs cannot stand the texture of liquid fish oil and preparing it can be quite messy. You can also find other types of fish oil supplements, including chewable and soft gel capsules in addition to liquid formulations.
Choose the one that best suits your needs and is the easiest for you to administer reliably. Some dogs won’t go for chewable tablets but may enjoy fish oil mixed in with their kibble, making a liquid pump dispenser a great option. Other dogs love their chewables, which provide a quick and easy mess-free solution.
How much fish oil should my dog get?
It’s important that your dog gets enough Omega-3s from their fish oil daily. Many manufacturers will give an estimated amount based on your dog’s weight and size, but these may be on the low side, depending on your dog’s condition.
When working out how much fish oil you should feed your dog, the main thing you need to keep in mind is that the amount of fish oil doesn’t equal the amount of Omega-3s. Ideally, you want your dog to get 20mg EPA per pound bodyweight. Don’t worry about DHA, the other Omega-3, as calculating one means you get enough of both EPA and DHA.
Just to make things a bit more confusing, one of the most commonly used terms on fish oil products is EFA, which stands for essential fatty acids. This is the total amount of fatty acids in the product, not the amount of the Omega-3 EPA. Don’t get confused; you want to be determining the amount of EPA your dog gets. All high-quality fish oils will state both the EPA and DHA content as well as the total amount of essential fatty acids.
First, work out how much EPA your dog needs by multiplying your dog’s weight in pounds by 20. So if your dog weighs 20 pounds, you want 400mg of EPA daily. Once you have this amount, you can use it to calculate how much fish oil you need to give daily. There’s no danger in overdosing, though your dog may get some diarrhea if they’re used to a low-fat diet.