We’ve all seen information and read articles about how we should be supplementing our dog’s food with one oil or another. Fish oil or Coconut oil – which one is the best? What is the difference? What health benefits does each provide? The below can help you begin to understand and decide for yourself if in fact your pooch could benefit from oil supplements. And as always, if you have questions, run them past your vet before implementing into your dog’s diet.
This is probably the oil you are most familiar with, more than likely making sure your dog’s current food is already supplemented with this oil. What is fish oil exactly? Fish oil contains Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are natural, anti-inflammatories. They support the nervous system and contribute to skin, coat, and heart health. They’ve been known to clear up chronic skin conditions and alleviate pain from osteoarthritis.
EPA and DHA are found in oily fish like herring, sardines, salmon, and halibut. Fish oil supplements also come in both capsule and liquid forms. Most gel capsules contain 200 to 300 milligrams combined EPA and DHA. Fish oil in liquid form should be stored in dark bottles in the refrigerator and used within a couple of months after opening to prevent rancidity.
Healthy dogs do well with 100 to 150 mg combined EPA and DPA per 10 pounds of body weight daily. You can increase this amount for dogs with health issues like arthritis and allergies, and your vet should be able to provide you the maximum amount needed each day based on the health issue.
The pooches in our house receive one salmon gel capsule per day, squeezed onto their dinners. We’ve also used this liquid version in the past. I can’t get over the change we’ve seen in their coats – silky, soft and shiny. We’ve also noticed less itching as all three pups have mild skin allergies.
Coconut oil is becoming more popular as a supplement for dogs, with claims it can improve digestion, help with allergies, reduce inflammation, and help regulate the thyroid. The difference between fish oils and coconut oil is that coconut oil is composed of saturated fats, different from omega fatty acids. Dog owners using coconut oil have seen an improvement in their coats, skin, and odor.
There are two kinds of coconut oil – refined and unrefined. You want to use the unrefined “virgin” coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has been treated with chemicals and has no nutritional value. Start adding the oil in very small amounts to food. Too much coconut oil can contribute to diarrhea and digestive discomfort. You can also give the oil directly to your dog or use it in baking treats/cooking food. The max dosage is around 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Our dogs receive the same coconut oil we use for cooking – Better Body Coconut Oil. I’ve read that the cheaper the oil the poorer the quality, but I have no complaints with this one. The pups receive one teaspoon added to their food one or two days each week.
We’ve only just started using the coconut oil on a more regular basis. I do know they love the taste and look forward to the extra food topping!
Do you add oil supplements to your dog’s food? Have you seen an improvement in overall health?
image via countrysideanimalclinic.wordpress.com