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Fish Oil for Dogs – Part 1

written by Vin Kutty

comments 6 comments

fish Omega-3 oil for dogs

Meet Bailey!

Fish Oil for Dogs
Bailey is my 11-year-old Shepherd-Husky mix.

Bailey and I have walked over 11,000 miles during the last 10 years or so.

He occasionally comes to work. He is unofficially considered an employee at OmegaVia.

Like many parents, I have some regrets about how I raised Bailey.

I fed him junk kibble for the first 3 years of his life.

Buying fish oil for dogs never even crossed my mind, even though I was a nutritionist and was working for a dietary supplement company at the time.

That was 8 years ago.

Now Bailey gets fish oil supplements and Omega-3 rich natural foods.

What made me change his diet?

Fish Oil for Dogs: why?

Dogs suffer from Omega-3 deficiency just like humans.

But Omega-3 deficiency symptoms are hard to tell by just looking at the dog. Omega-3 deficiency interferes in the way tissues and organs work and it requires a much closer inspection before you can identify the deficiency problem.

Omega-3 Deficiency and Diseases in Dogs:

 

  1. Heart health – yes dogs suffer from this too!
  2. Skin health – dry, red, inflamed itchy skin.
  3. Joint and hip mobility – hip dysplacia and other genetic diseases are not Omega-3 related, but fish oil will help your dog deal with the symptoms.
  4. Mood  – anxiety (not separation anxiety…that’s a different can of worms and has to do with lack of leadership, exercise etc.)
  5. Immunity – this is a group of diseases, but some can be treated with Omega-3.
  6. Increased aggression – this is mostly a behavioral problem, but some studies have shown that aggressive dogs have less Omega-3 in their bodies.
  7. Obesity – besides the obvious causes (over-feeding and lack of exercise), too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3 leads to obese dogs.
  8. Kidney health – fish oil can decrease blood pressure in your dog’s kidneys.
  9. Allergies – this is related to skin disorders, but several allergies are out-of-control inflammation in your dog’s body. Fish oil can help reduce this inflammation and the resulting allergic response.
  10. Poor wound healing – this also has to do with inflammation. Too much inflammation equals poor healing. Fish oil helps reduce inflammation in your dog and would heals faster as a result.

Well, that’s because fish oils provide similar health benefits for dogs as they do for people.

The Root of the Problem

It’s kibble.

Mass-produced kibble has hardly any Omega-3. This is because most Omega-3 is deliberately removed from dry dog food.

This seems like a foolish thing to do, but most dog food manufacturers REMOVE Omega-3 from their kibble.

Or they buy ingredients that have low-Omega-3.

Why? Because Omega-3 is a fat and it can turn rancid quickly. Rancid dog food smells bad. And if dog food smells bad, people will stop buying it.

Simple as that.

And what makes the problem worse…

In the place of Omega-3 fats, most dog food manufacturers add Omega-6 fats from corn and vegetable (soy) oils.

Omega-6 is not Omega-3 times two. Nor is it twice as good as Omega-3.

Omega-6 is cheap. And it doesn’t go rancid easily. So food processors LOVE it.

Replacing Omega-3 with Omega-6 just makes matters worse. Because Omega-6 competes with Omega-3. These two types of fats compete for positions in your dog’s body tissues. Think musical chairs. When there is so little Omega-3 and so much Omega-6, guess which one is going to win the musical chairs game?

Yup, Omega-6 wins and it gets incorporated into your dog’s tissues and organs. Dogs (and humans) convert the Omega-6 into compounds that irritate their skin and joints.

And too much Omega-6 causes inflammation and most of the diseases listed above.

Other Issues with Kibble

Not enough Omega-3 is just one of the issues with mass-market kibble.

Often, ingredients found in dog food are not there to nourish your pet – their function may be to help the kibble-making extruding machine function properly. Extruders work best at certain moisture and consistency. And this is sometimes the reason why there is so much grain, rendered animal parts and flour by-products in dog food. These ingredients are officially “food,” but they’re basically acting as ‘WD-40’ for the extruders.

Here is an excellent link that discusses what’s really in pet foods.

Thanks to Dr. Karen Shane, our wonderful and amazing vet, who gently nudged me so many years ago into switching from junk kibble to more wholesome foods. Bailey and I still drive 2 hours in LA traffic to her office for his check ups.

Part 2 of Fish Oil for Dogs will cover specific details of how to choose the right foods for your pooch.


  1. How much omegavia should I give to my dog for arthritis. He is 11 and has sinificant arthritis in his legs and hips.

  2. Hi Vin,

    I apologize for not listing his weight. He is a husky and 50 pounds. I already have him on Dasuquin and have been giving him 2 of my Omegavia capsules daily. He seems to tolerate them well (no runny stools so far!) He actually looks forward to them and chews them like they are candy haha! I am wondering are 2 pills sufficient or do you think he will need more/less? I will check out your links shortly. Thanks for such a fast response!

    P.S. On a side note I am loving the results I have been getting with Omegavia. I just ordered 3 more bottles and set up auto ship 🙂 I switched from Nordic Naturals about 9 months ago. While I liked Nordic Naturals, they gave me horrible indigestion. No trouble with these at all and they keep joint pain at bay!

    • Husky! Yea! Bailey is part husky…well, I think mostly Husky. Turns 16 this year and has tumors all over. 🙁

      Two OmegaVia is fine for a 50 lb dog. I don’t think he needs more. May be worth reducing Omega-6 a little bit by going to grain-free kibble. Try Acana. Or Orijen. Seems the secret about grain-free kibble is out. Lots everywhere.

      Glad to hear it’s working for you too. Ahem – you may want to try grain free too.

  3. Thanks Vin. He is already on grain free so it sounds like I am doing everything right 🙂
    And yes I know grain free is a great way to reduce inflammation. One of these days 😉

  4. Hi Susan – let’s talk about you for a second: if you have arthritis, I am willing to bet a lot of money that you are eating a very inflammatory diet. You need to fix your diet – switch to mostly vegetables, some seafood, meats, eggs, fruits and nuts. Basically eat stuff that was alive last week and make it all at home. Avoid Omega-6-rich seed oils, sugar, and flour. Add 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day along with Curcumin.

    A little coconut oil added to a dog’s food will not hurt, but I would not make a habit of it. Coconut is not part of a dog’s natural diet. Coconut is mostly medium chain fatty acids while natural foods of dogs consist of mostly long chain fatty acids. Both humans and dogs should go back to eating what our bodies were built for.

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