We all want to keep our dogs as happy and healthy as possible. Some dog owners are proactive about their pups’ health, doing everything from preparing homecooked food for their dogs to enrolling them in daycare for proper socialization while they have to be away at work.
Another easy and inexpensive step many pet parents take to ensure their dogs’ best health is to give them nutritional supplements. Omega-3 is clearly a popular supplement, but you may ask yourself, can I give my dog omega-3 for humans? The short answer is yes.
This article will explain the benefits of omega-3 and how to properly administer this nutritional supplement to your dog.
What Is Omega-3?
Omega-3 is a fatty acid, most commonly found in fish and certain seeds. Although it’s a fatty acid, it’s the “good” kind of fat with many health benefits. However, dogs and humans don’t produce omega-3 in their bodies, so it must be derived from food or supplements. That’s why so many people take fish oil supplements as a way to get more omega-3 in their diets.
What Are the Benefits of Omega-3?
The benefits of omega-3 for humans and dogs are very similar. Omega-3 reduces inflammation, which can help treat and prevent allergies, diabetes, arthritis, kidney and liver disease, and cancer. It’s also good for brain development, helps to improve memory, and can prevent Alzheimer’s.
Omega-3 can help keep your dog emotionally balanced as well, as it’s been proven to prevent and treat anxiety and depression. Plus, the combination of health benefits from omega-3 can give your dog a boost of natural energy while calming hyperactivity.
Omega-3 has beauty benefits too. For example, it can give your dog moisturized skin and a glossy coat, so he will be less prone to itchiness and shedding.
Clearly, with so many benefits, it’s a great idea to introduce omega-3 to your dog’s diet.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
One thing to be very cautious of when starting to feed your dog omega-3 is to be sure you balance it with another particular nutrient.
Omega-6 is another important nutrient that works in harmony with omega-3. It assists with proper blood clotting, cell growth, and building a healthy immune system. However, too much of it can be harmful, and omega-3 helps to counteract any potential harm of omega-6. This is because omega-6 actually increases inflammation, while omega-3 works to reduce it.
Similarly, omega-3 has all the health benefits mentioned above, but too much omega-3 on its own without the balance of omega-6 can ultimately be harmful to your dog’s health. A healthy body, for both humans and animals, needs a balance of both types of omegas to function properly.
Be sure to give your dog both omega-3 and omega-6 to keep him at his healthiest and prevent any problems resulting from an imbalance in his nutrition. Omegas can also deplete your dog of vitamin E, so if you feed him omega supplements, be sure to also include 1 or 2 IUs of vitamin E per pound of body weight to counteract the effects of the omegas.
If you’re concerned about keeping the proper balance, talk to your veterinarian or a holistic pet provider to determine if the food or supplements you’re giving your dog have a safe balance of both types of omegas and other nutrients.
How to Give Your Dog Omega-3?
Since omega-3 is found in many foods, you could easily add it to your dog’s diet by feeding him the types of food that already naturally contain this fatty acid. Just like humans, it’s best for animals to receive their nutrients from food whenever possible rather than from supplements.
Fish is one of the main sources of omega-3, particularly salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and albacore tuna. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds are other food sources of omega-3, but aren’t as easily absorbed by dogs, so fish or fish supplements are better options.
Be careful though — just because a particular food is a good source of omega-3 for humans doesn’t mean it’s recommended for dogs. For example, avocados are an excellent source of omega-3 for humans but are highly toxic to dogs. If you find foods that contain omega-3, make sure they’re safe first before giving it to your dog. You can also check with your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist about this.
Although nutrients from foods are recommended, giving your dog omega-3 supplements for humans (preferably non-flavored) is perfectly fine. You may be able to find formulas made specially for dogs, but human supplements also work. As a bonus, you can take the supplement too and enjoy many of the same health benefits.
Omega-3 comes in capsules or oils and you can either administer the capsule to your dog (if he will eat it) or hide it in his food. You could also break the capsule open and drizzle it on his food or drizzle omega-3 oil similarly.
Like most supplements, the amount you should feed your dog varies by the weight of your pet. As a general rule, you should feed your dog about 300 mg EPA of fish oil per 10 pounds of body weight. On the other hand, the absolute maximum you should give your dog is 1,000 mg of fish oil per 10 pounds and that’s only advised to combat serious health issues and should definitely be approved by your vet.
That said, the easiest way to calculate the appropriate dosage when using supplements is to simply look at the information that should be included on the label.
Bottom Line: Can I Give My Dog Omega-3 For Humans?
Yes, you can definitely give your dog omega-3 for humans and it can have a variety of wonderful health benefits. It’s especially useful for aging dogs to combat arthritis and other problems caused by inflammation, but dogs of all ages can benefit from this supplement.
Getting omega-3 from foods like certain types of fish is the best way to add them to your dog’s diet, but supplements are also a good option and may even allow you to more accurately measure how much omega-3 you’re giving your dog. But be sure to balance out omega-3 with omega-6 and vitamin E in the right amounts to avoid creating health problems.
Always check with your vet if you have any concerns or want to be sure you’re taking the best possible care of your dog and his diet.