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7 Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs: Canine Health and Nutrition

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

7 Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs: Canine Health and Nutrition

Salmon oil is a healthy supplement for both humans and dogs. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil promotes heart health, a sleek coat, healthy skin, and strong joints, among other benefits.

Because dogs can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, they must get them from their diet. If you’re considering adding salmon oil to your dog’s diet, here are the seven benefits.

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The 7 Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs

1. Reduces Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids, which include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), help reduce inflammation throughout your dog’s body. This reduces itchy skin, inflamed and uncomfortable joints, and gastritis.


2. Minimizes Skin Allergies

Salmon oil reduces the inflammatory response that can contribute to skin allergies. When dogs have dry or irritated skin, there’s a decreased amount of fat (oil) on the outer layer of the skin. Salmon oil provides an oil barrier on the skin to prevent allergens like grass, dust, or pollen from reaching the deeper layers that cause an immune response.

dog itchy skin


3. Improved Cognitive Function

Salmon oil contains DHA, which plays a huge role in brain development. Puppies benefit from having salmon oil as their brains develop, but it can help the cognitive function of dogs of all ages, especially older dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction (canine dementia).


4. Promotes a Healthy Coat

Salmon oil balances the skin’s moisture from the inside out, leading to healthy skin. As a result, dogs have a softer, shinier, and healthier coat with salmon oil supplements.

black and brown dog with shiny coat
Image By: maheima-kapur, Unsplash

5. Promotes Heart Health

Salmon oil has been found to promote heart health and prevent conditions like an irregular heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation. It can also act as an anti-coagulant to prevent clots in dogs that have heart disease, limiting the risk of heart attack or stroke.


6. May Prevent Cancer

Cancer is caused by damaged cells replicating unchecked. Salmon oil contains DHA and EPA, which prevent damage to cells and could protect against DNA damage that can lead to cancer. This benefit isn’t widely researched, but it has strong potential.

black labrador retriever dog bowing ready to play
Image By: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

7. Improves Overall Health

The omega-3s EPA and DHA have benefits for the heart, kidney, and liver—organ systems that can be prone to potentially life-threatening conditions. Supplementing with salmon oil could help preserve these organ systems and promote a longer and healthier life.

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How Can I Give My Dog Fish Oil?

DHA and EPA are found naturally in salmon, sardines, and anchovies. It’s also added to commercial foods and treats.

If you prefer to supplement fish oil, you can add liquid fish oil to food or provide supplements in gel capsule form. The recommended dose of salmon oil is 75–100 mg/kg with a maximum daily dose of 310(kg)3/4. Always speak to your vet about supplementing salmon oil—or any supplement—before proceeding.

Care and Storage of Salmon Oil

Salmon oil is a delicate substance prone to oxidation, so it needs to be protected from heat, light, and air. Ideally, fish oil supplements should be in dark bottles stored in the refrigerator. Vitamin E is a preservative to prevent oxidation, so look for supplements containing this or other antioxidants.

Note that flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, but they are not readily converted to the active forms of EPA and DHA in dogs. Avoid giving flaxseed as a source of fatty acids, and stick to natural sources or salmon oil supplements.

Can I Give Too Much Salmon Oil?

At the right dosage, omega-3 fatty acids have few side effects. The most common side effect is diarrhea, so be sure to gradually increase your dog’s dosage.

The supplement will have dosage guidelines but double-check with your vet to make sure your dosage is appropriate for your dog’s size, weight, and age. If you give too much salmon oil, it could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, reduced blood clotting, weight gain, altered immune function, and delayed wound healing.

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In Conclusion

Salmon oil is a natural source of essential omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy skin and coat, brain function, and overall health. If you want to supplement your dog’s diet to ensure it gets enough omega-3 fatty acids, salmon oil is a relatively safe and accessible supplement to support its well-being.


Featured Image Credit: Erin_Hinterland, Pixabay

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