How to Give Fish Oil to Dogs

By Cyn Reed

Many veterinarians, both conventional and holistic, recommend the use of fish oil for dogs. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven helpful for a number of health conditions. The main constituents of omega-3 fatty acids---EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)---act as anti-inflammatory agents, which provide benefits for conditions ranging from arthritis to allergies. Fish oil is easy to administer to your dog, and has no adverse side effects.

Choose a fish oil to use. Several companies produce fish oil products specifically for pets. You can find these at a local pet store. Andrew Weil, M.D. claims there is no harm in using fish oil that is meant for human consumption as long as you use the correct dosage. Fish oil is available in capsule or liquid form. Either is a suitable choice for your dog.

Determine the proper dosage. A different dosage may be needed for different conditions. Dosage will also vary depending on the size of the dog. Dr. Shawn Messonnier, DVM, recommends 1,500 to 2,000 mg a day for a Labrador, for instance, but a smaller dog may require less. Consult your veterinarian to determine the right dosage for your dog.

Liquid fish oil can simply be added into the dog's food. You can puncture a capsule and squeeze the contents into the dog's food, or give the capsule to your dog directly if he is willing to eat it. You can also try tucking the capsule into a piece of cheese or other treat.

You may want to supplement the capsules or liquid fish oil with cooked salmon or sardines, both of which contain fish oil naturally. Flax seeds and flax oil, while not fish oil, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, and may be added to the regime. Dr. R. M. Clemmons, DVM, PhD, suggests one tablespoon of ground flax seeds or two sardines for all dogs each day. Flax seed and flax oil can reduce platelet function for a brief period, so consult with your veterinarian before giving flax products to your dog.