Like humans, dogs' health benefits tremendously from taking omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 helps dogs grow shinier fur and ameliorates itchy, scratchy skin. Other benefits from omega-3 include extended lifespan, reduced inflammation from arthritis and a healthy heart. But exactly how much omega-3 should you give your dog to keep it in optimal health?
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Choose Omega-3 Supplements Wisely for Dogs
Choose your dog's omega-3 supplements as you would for yourself. In fact, you may share your omega-3 supplements with your pet. Only consume molecularly distilled, pure omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources. Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed oil and walnut oil require further conversion into EPA and DHA (the effective versions of omega-3 for mammals) and may cause indigestion in your pets.
Decide Your Dog's Optimal Dosage
If your dog is healthy in general and you are giving it omega-3 to maintain optimal health, 800 milligrams twice weekly for a large dog above 70 pounds is plenty. For small dogs, 250 milligrams twice weekly is adequate. If you are trying to treat your dog's itchy skin (psoriasis) or want to see an improvement in its fur quality, increase the dosage to 1,200 milligrams three times weekly for large dogs and 500 milligrams three times weekly for small dogs.
How to Give Dogs Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It is difficult to attempt giving your dog omega-3 gel capsules. The best way to include omega-3 supplements in your dog's diet is by blending the omega-3 oil into something your dog loves that also contains healthy fats such as peanut butter or all-natural cream cheese.
How Long Does It Take to See Omega-3 Health Effects in Dogs?
Omega-3 "therapy" requires long-term dietary dedication. See it as more of a lifestyle than a temporary fix. Depending on the health condition of your dog and the symptoms you wish to improve, it generally takes at least two months for your dog to get used to omega-3 supplements and show an improvement in fur luster, lowered triglycerides and agility. It may take as long as three months for itchy, scratchy skin conditions to improve. Despite the slower improvement, omega-3 induced health benefits are solid and longer lasting, because it targets diseases and inflammation at the cellular level.
Side Effects and Overdose of Omega-3 Fatty Acid
In general, there are no harmful side effects for dogs that ingest too much omega-3 fatty acid if the source is fresh and potent. There may be discomforts, such as indigestion, gas and loose stool. Because high-quality omega-3 supplements are expensive and little is required to achieve health benefits, blindly dowsing your dog's food with these oils will only lead to waste and digestive discomfort in your pet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.