How to Add Oil to a Dog's Diet

By Phyllis Benson

A veterinarian may recommend adding a little oil to a dog's diet to ensure that the dog has enough fatty acids for healthy skin, coat and joints. Essential fatty acids for dogs are generally Omega 3 and Omega 6. These fatty acids are found in fish and food oils. Dogs need very little oil in the diet. If the vet has recommended adding a little oil to the diet, try these easy steps.

Use fish oil in a dog diet. Fish oil capsules are an easy way to give your dog an occasional treat. Fish oil capsules are available in most pharmacies and health food stores. If your dog will not eat the capsule, snip the end and dribble the capsule oil over the kibble or food. Pet stores offer fish oil in bottles that can be squirted over kibble. Read the ingredients to be sure it is fish oil and not fish-flavored vegetable oil. Check with your vet to see what size capsule is suited to your dog.

Experiment with salmon oil capsules or liquid. Salmon oil is usually more expensive than regular fish oil. Some salmon oil is blended with other vitamins and nutrients for a supplement. Mix a small amount in the dog food once or twice a week. Dogs that do not like other fish oils will gobble up salmon oil.

Try extra virgin olive oil. Use an unflavored olive oil instead of an herbal or fruit infused oil. Add a quarter teaspoon for a small dog and up to a teaspoon for a large dog. Use a light sprinkling of olive oil two or three times a week.

Check your cupboard for pure vegetable oils. Many premium dog foods use flaxseed, safflower, canola and sunflower oils. Sprinkle a small amount on dog food but be sure the oil is fresh and not rancid. If the dog is eating regular kibble or canned food, the food has some oil or fatty acids. The oil you use is in addition to the regular diet.

Add fish to the dog's diet. When the family has basic sardines, tuna sandwiches or salmon-topped salad, add a few pieces to the dog bowl. Fish flakes make a nice change to the dog's diet and add extra fish protein and oil. Use plain sardines, not mustard or other flavored sardines. Do not feed raw fish to a dog. Many dogs do not tolerate it well. Dogs should not forage on dead fish at a lake or stream because the fish may make the dog sick.

Use oil in small quantities. Commercial supplements give recommended usages. Generally start with half what the supplement label suggests. Most oil capsules and liquids need refrigeration after the bottle is opened. Check the label for storage and precautions. Be sure your vet knows which oil you have decided to use. He may recommend changes based on your dog's health.