The Best Fish Oil for Dogs & What to Avoid

Pit bull dog looks at bottle of Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

We’ve known for decades that giving fish oil to dogs has some amazing health benefits, and hundreds of studies have since confirmed the validity of this superfood. But how do you choose the best fish oil for your dog in such a saturated market? There are lots of factors to consider, but we can help!

Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs

Husky dog eating kibble topped with Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

The benefits of salmon oil are abundant and delicious!

The first clinical studies of the health benefits of fish oil for dogs were published in 2010, and since then we’ve learned that salmon is likely the best source of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, vitamins D3 and B12, as well as other vital nutrients.

Skin and Coat

The abundant omega-3 fatty acids found in pure salmon oil have some amazing anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce itching and redness caused by allergies. Salmon oil also contributes to overall skin and coat health for all dogs, so much so that we included it in our best-selling Skin and Coat Supplement chews!

Arthritis

Those anti-inflammatory properties also make salmon oil an excellent addition to senior dogs’ diets, as they have been proven to alleviate arthritis symptoms. In fact, in clinical studies, dogs whose diets were supplemented with fish oil were able to reduce their dose of arthritis medication! (As directed by their vets, of course.)

Senior Labrador lying on soft bed

Salmon oil is particularly beneficial for senior dogs who may be dealing with arthritis or cognitive issues.

Cognitive Function

Many aging dogs are affected by Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, a common condition similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. Dogs suffering from CDS show lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid—one of those glorious omega-3 fatty acids, generally abbreviated as DHA—in their brains. However, studies have shown that adding DHA via diet can help to reduce symptoms of CDS, keeping your good old dog youthful a little longer.

Puppies and young dogs also benefit from extra DHA, which contributes to brain and eye development. Since salmon contains particularly high levels of DHA compared to other fish species, it’s an essential food supplement for dogs of all ages!

Immune System

In addition to those DHA fatty acids, salmon is packed with more astaxanthin than most other fish. This antioxidant with a funny name has serious immune system benefits and may even help prevent some cancers in dogs and cats!

Heart Health

You’ve probably heard that the American Heart Association recommends adding fish or fish oil supplements to your diet to promote heart health, but did you know that fish can also help your dog’s heart? Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates confirms that omega-3s can improve heart muscle, reduce the potential for arrhythmias, and combat weight loss related to heart disease.

What to Avoid

Salmon oil sounds awesome, right? It is! However, not all fish oils are created equal. Here are some red flags you’ll want to look out for when shopping for fish oil for your pet:

Hands holding dry brown pellets used to feed fish on commercial fish farms

Farmed fish are fed dry pellet food loaded with hormones and antibiotics, rather than healthy wild prey.

Farmed Fish

If you’ve shopped for fresh salmon for your own dinner table, you may have noticed that farm-raised salmon is much duller in color than bright-pink wild fish. This is because wild salmon eat smaller fish species and krill, which are loaded with astaxanthin—that beneficial immune-boosting antioxidant which also gives salmon its lovely pink hue.

What do farmed fish get for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Usually, dried food pellets made with fish trimmings, corn gluten, chicken fat, soybeans, and other byproducts of the animal feed industry. They’re also loaded up with hormones and antibiotics to keep them healthy and encourage fast growth.

For the highest amounts of good fatty acids, look for oil made from the healthiest fish: wild-caught salmon.

Unsustainable Fishing Practices

With our oceans in decline worldwide, it’s more important than ever to confirm that any fish products you buy have been sourced sustainably. A relative newcomer to the fish oil industry is krill oil, made from tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans fished out of Arctic waters. Although krill contain high levels of astaxanthin, they are an essential food source for the entire food chain in the Arctic and beyond, so overfishing is a serious concern.

In addition to overfishing, some fish oil manufacturers source their raw materials from polluted and highly trafficked waters off the coast of Africa. These fish can be loaded with heavy metals and other toxins which require extensive purification and chemical filtering techniques to remove before they can be ingested by pets.

Mixed Fish Species

Many products labeled simply “fish oil” are created using a hodge-podge of fish species rather than one high-quality species like salmon. These oils tend to have lower concentrations of EPA and DHA and higher levels of saturated fats, making them less healthy than pure salmon oil. Often, these cheaper “filler” fish are small filter feeders rather than predatory fish, meaning they’ll have lower amounts of astaxanthin, too.

Extensive Purification Processes

Pet fish oils created from mixed fish species and even fishmeal byproduct purchased from commercial processing plants require additional purifying to make them suitable for consumption. One of the most common purification processes uses ethanol to filter out toxins, but this breaks down the oil on a molecular level to the extent that it must be synthetically re-assembled.

Fish oils which have been processed this way are called ethyl esters and are not absorbed as well by the body (human or canine!) as less-processed triglyceride oils. EE fish oils also break down more quickly, leaving the potential for rancid oil on your pet’s meal.
Chart comparing Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil to competitors' mixed fish oils

So What is the Best Fish Oil for My Dog?

Now that you know what you don’t want from your fish oil, what factors make the best fish oil for your dog? You can find them all in Natural Dog Company’s Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil!

Single ingredient:

Wild caught Alaskan Salmon oil is the only thing in this bottle!

Sustainably harvested:

Fished from pure and plentiful waters off the Alaskan coast.

Packed with nutrients:

Alaskan salmon species have highest levels of omega-3s compared to fish from other locales.

Minimally processed:

Our oil is a triglyceride, giving it the greatest bioavailability with the least saturated fats.

Made in a reputable facility:

Our facility is FDA-certified for its Good Manufacturing Processes, certified non-GMO, and a recognized Friend of the Sea, among many other accolades.

Blue pit bull looking at bottle of Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

“Obviously this is the ONE, mom!”

The best part about our salmon oil? Because it is minimally processed, it retains a strong fishy smell and flavor. Dogs go wild for this flavor and some of our customers even use it as a food topper to get their picky pups to finish their dinner!

For improved skin and coat health, a stronger immune system, fewer senior dog problems, a healthier heart, and better eating habits, Natural Dog Company’s Wild Alaskan Salmon oil is the best fish oil for dogs. But don’t just take our word for it…

Real Reviews from Satisfied Customers:

Goldendoodle loves eating her food topped with Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

My two year old Goldendoodle absolutely loves this Salmon Oil! She is typically a grazer, but when I add this to her food she eats the whole bowl of food right away. I have noticed that she is not itching as much since she started taking this supplement daily. Will definitely purchase again! — Molly G., Greenville, SC

Yorkie beside a bottle of Natural Dog Company Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

My dog is a picky eater and doesn’t always want to eat his food at mealtime. Adding a squirt of this Salmon Oil has helped him finish his bowl like a champ. This product is a win-win for us because he loves the taste and I love that he’s getting extra nutrients! —Emily E., Chapel Hill, NC