Some dog owners are proactive about the health of their pups, doing everything from preparing homemade meals 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 that their dogs are in the best health is to give them nutritional supplements. Omega-3s are obviously a popular one, but you may be asking yourself, “Can I give my dog Omega-3s for humans?” The short answer is yes.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are the components of fish oil that make this fish extract beneficial for you and your dog. In the body, certain molecules, called eicosanoids, signal the body to reduce inflammation as well as perform other beneficial functions. Omega-3 fatty acids help the body make more of these helpful eicosanoids. The most studied types of omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), but there are actually 11 types of omega-3s found. However, dogs and humans do not produce omega-3 in their bodies, so it must be obtained from food or supplements. This is why many people take fish oil supplements to get more omega-3s in their diet.
Benefits of omega-3:
The benefits of omega-3s for humans and dogs are very similar
- It reduces inflammation, which can help in the treatment and prevention of allergies, diabetes, arthritis, kidney and liver disease, and cancer.
- It is also good for brain development, helps improve memory and can prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Omega-3 can also help keep your dog emotionally balanced, as it has been proven to prevent and treat anxiety and depression.
- The combination of health benefits from omega-3s can give your dog a natural energy boost while calming hyperactivity.
Balanced omega diet for your dog:
It is true that you can provide your dog with omega-3 but there are some diet controls you should keep in mind before feeding your dog omega-3. Some of them are provided below.
- One thing to be very careful about when starting to feed your dog omega-3s is to make sure you balance it with omega-6s.
- Omega-6 is another important nutrient that works in sync with omega-3. It aids in proper blood clotting, cell growth and building a healthy immune system.
- Too much of it can be harmful, and omega-3s help counteract any potential harm of omega-6s. This is because omega-6 actually increases inflammation, while omega-3 works to reduce it.
- Likewise, too much omega-3 by itself without a balance of omega-6 can ultimately be harmful to your dog’s health. A healthy body for both humans and animals requires a balance of both types of omega.
- Omega-3 can also make your dog deficient in vitamin E, so if you feed him omega supplements, you also need to include 1 or 2 IU of vitamin E per pound of body weight to counteract this effect.
Dosage Recorded for Your Dog:
Like most supplements, the amount you should feed your dog varies by your pet’s weight. As a general rule, you should feed your dog about 20 milligrams of EPA fish oil per pound of body weight. That means about 160 milligrams of EPA for an 8-pound dog. On the other hand, you should give your dog 1,000 milligrams of fish oil per 10 pounds, and this is only recommended when dealing with serious health problems and of course, approved by your vet.
Ways of Giving Omega-3 to your Dog:
Since omega-3 is found in many foods, you can easily incorporate it into your dog’s diet by feeding him foods that already naturally contain this fatty acid.
- Fish is one of the main sources of omega-3s, especially salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and albacore tuna. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil and chia seeds are other food sources of omega-3s, but are not easily absorbed by dogs.
- Just because a particular food is a good source of omega-3s for humans, doesn’t mean it’s recommended for dogs. For example, avocados are an excellent source of omega-3s for humans, but are highly toxic to dogs. If you find foods that contain omega-3s, make sure they are safe before giving them to your dog. You can also check this with a veterinarian or pet nutritionist.
- You may be able to find formulas made specifically for dogs, but a human omega-3 supplement works just as well. As a bonus, you can also take the supplement and enjoy the same health benefits.
Fish oil is especially useful for aging dogs to combat arthritis and other problems caused by inflammation, but dogs of all ages can benefit from this supplement as well. Getting omega-3s from foods such as certain types of fish is the best way to incorporate them into your dog’s diet, but supplements are also a good option, and can also allow you to more accurately measure that. How much oil are you giving your dog? That said, you should always try to balance your omega-3 and omega-6 consumption to avoid causing health problems along the way.