We all want to keep our dogs as happy and healthy as possible, right?
Some dog owners are proactive about their pups’ health, doing everything from preparing homecooked food 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 one, but you may find yourself asking, “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, and has 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. It reduces inflammation, which can help treat and prevent allergies, diabetes, arthritis, kidney and liver disease, and cancer.
On top of that, 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. 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 not a bad 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 Omega-6.
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.
Likewise, 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.
That said, Omegas can also deplete your dog of vitamin E, so if you feed him Omega supplements, you need to also include 1 or 2 IUs of vitamin E per pound of bodyweight to counteract this effect.
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 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.
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 a veterinarian or pet nutritionist about this.
Although nutrients from foods are recommended, giving your dog Omega-3 supplements (preferably non-flavored) is perfectly fine.
You may be able to find formulas made specially for dogs, but human Omega-3 supplement works, too. As a bonus, you can take the supplement as well and enjoy many of the same health benefits.
Since Omega-3 comes in capsules or oils, you can either administer the capsule directly (if your dog will eat it) or hide it in peanut butter or cheese. You can also break the capsule open and add it to 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 20 mg EPA of fish oil per pound of body weight. That means around 160 mg EPA for an 8-pound dog.
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, if you’re using a product for pets, the easiest way to calculate the appropriate amount is to simply look at the information 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.
Fish oil is especially useful for aging dogs in order to combat arthritis and other problems caused by inflammation, but dogs of all ages can benefit from this supplement, too.
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 oil you’re giving your dog.
That said, you should always try to balance out Omega-3 and Omega-6 consumption to avoid creating health problems along the way.
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.
Li-ran is the Founder and Executive Editor at PuppyTip. He is a holistic pet parent and believes that dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He also loves cooking, especially for his dog, Richie!