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Fish Oil for Dogs – Part 2

by Vin Kutty, MS on November 27, 2010

Useful Tips & Tricks

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about the importance of Omega-3 in your dog’s diet and the potential diseases caused by Omega-3 deficiency.

We also talked about the #1 reason why most dogs suffer from Omega-3 deficiency.

Before you run out and buy fish oil for your dog, there are a couple of minor dietary changes you should make. These changes will make Omega-3 supplements more effective.

First, you need to cut back Omega-6 from their diet.

STEP 1: Reducing Omega-6

Watch out for the following ingredients in dog food:

  1. Corn oil
  2. Vegetable oil (soy oil)
  3. Sunflower oil
  4. Safflower oil
    • If you see any of these oils listed in the ingredient, DO NOT BUY the food. These oils are very high in Omega-6.
    • You need to REDUCE Omega-6 for Omega-3 to be fully effective.
    • If any dog food says “Excellent source of Omega 3 & 6,” then you know the manufacturer either does not know about the ill-effects of Omega-6 and/or thinks you don’t know. They should not be passing off Omega-6 as a good thing when there is already too much of it in dog foods! That’s what many brands are doing by proudly claiming high amount of Omega-6.


  • Omega-6 fats get converted to compounds that irritate your dog’s skin and joints.
  • Some brands list the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios. Many have 10 or 20 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. This is not good. You need to get close to 3 or 4 parts Omega-6 to 1 part Omega-3.
  • A little bit of Omega-6 is necessary for canine health, but too much is BAD!

Real-life Examples:

  • Canidae is considered a good brand but its All Life Stages has a 7.4 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to 3. That’s too high.
  • Many people consider Hill’s Science Diet to be an acceptable dog food, but they don’t list how much Omega-6 or 3 is present. The #1 ingredient in their Active Adult formula is Ground Whole Grain Corn. What the heck is corn doing there?

STEP 2: Buy all-natural foods that are made from grass-fed animals or fish

  • Corn meal or any other grain meal has no place in dog foods.
  • Dogs are related to wolves. Have you ever seen or heard of a wolf eating corn?!
  • Whole grains is not a good thing! Dogs are carnivores – they have no business eating whole grains.
  • The best dog foods are home-made or fresh-frozen raw foods (see below).

STEP 3: Look for the right Omega-3

  • If the label says ‘Omega-3’ in big letters but Flaxseed oil is listed as the source of Omega-3, then it’s almost useless.
  • Omega-3 from Flaxseed oil is often listed as Alpha-Linolenic Acid – dogs do not absorb these very well. Avoid dog foods with Flaxseed or Flaxseed oil.
  • If the label says ‘Omega-3′ and fish or flax oil is listed at the end of the ingredients list, there is not much Omega-3 in there. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.
  • Look for foods with ‘long chain Omega-3’ such as EPA and DHA Omega-3. These are the Omega-3 found in fish oil and dogs can easily absorb them.

STEP 4: Start supplementing your dog’s diet with fish oil pills


  • Avoid Cod Liver Oil – this has too much Vitamin A and D, which could get toxic at high levels.
  • Feed a little wild salmon or liquid fish oil or fish oil pills with meals.
  • If you give your dog fish oil pills, go for the high quality human supplements.
  • If your dog is picky, wrap pill in peanut butter, bacon, sausage or cheese to get them to eat it.
  • Start slow – too much fish oil will give some dogs an upset stomach.
  • It’s easy to overdose with a liquid fish oil supplement so it is particularly important to start off with a small amount.

Giving your dog fish oil supplements is a great idea, but ONLY AFTER you’ve made the dietary changes listed in Steps 1 thru 3. Fish oil supplements only add Omega-3 to their diets, but a healthy, natural diet will address many other health issues that Omega-3 cannot do by itself.

How long before I notice a difference?

You will notice a difference in your dog’s health in 10 to 14 days, with most benefits becoming obvious in about a month. If your dog has allergies or some inflammatory condition, you will notice a decrease in itching, scratching and red or irritated skin.

So what do what does my dog, Bailey, eat?

natural foods for dogs
He gets a blend of Stella & Chewy’s raw lamb and Orijen and Acana brand kibble.

And, of course, he gets an OmegaVia pill dipped in peanut butter every day. If he’s been really good, I smear some peanut butter on his nose.

Our Bailey is 12 years old and still bounces like a puppy. Walking doesn’t tire him anymore, so he runs alongside me while I go bicycling around streets and hiking trails of Calabasas, California.

Need Professional Help?

If you need the help of an expert, contact Nadine M. Rosin for a consultation at The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood. Nadine is a certified holistic pets/toxin-free lifestyle consultant whose own dog lived to be 19 with a purely holistic protocol after being given just 6 weeks to live at age 8 with a cancer diagnosis.

Schedule a one-on-one consultation with Nadine here.

OmegaVia Team with their furry friends

At the 2010 Pumpkim Festival in Calabasas, California.

fish oil for dogs

Two-legged: Vin Kutty & Sam Grant
Four-legged: Bailey Kutty & Horatio Grant

Omega-3 supplement expert and Author Vin Kutty About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. He’s walked over 11,000 miles with Bailey, his Shepherd-Husky mix. And has the podiatrist bills to prove it. Email him.

Fish oil for dogs

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