Vet Approved Content
  • Edele Grey, DVM
  • Certified content. This article has been written, fact-checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.

    Approved By: Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

It’s old news that fish oils can have beneficial effects for all with research into these oils continually being performed; these benefits may also extend to our pets. So, why exactly is fish oil good for our pets?! In the wild, fish would be part of the natural diet for many dogs (and cats). Fish oil is, thus, an excellent supplement to your dog’s diet providing essential fatty acids which can help enhance canine health and fitness.

What are fish oils?! Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are precursors to molecules that are known to reduce inflammation in the body. Human consumer tests have shown that concentrations of EPA and DHA in supplements can vary widely with the concentration depending on the source, processing methods and other ingredients within the supplements. However, EPA and DHA are both readily bioavailable (available for use in the body) in both liquid and capsule forms which means that there is little waste from the supplement.

Fish themselves, do not produce these fatty acids but actually consume them from algae, plankton or prey fish and these omega-3 fatty acids are then stored in the body. Top predators such as sharks or swordfish are high in these fatty acids but may also have high levels of toxic substances such as mercury or dioxins; fish oil is also used as part of the feeding regime of farmed salmon.

Cold-water, oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring, and salmon are the most commonly available sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. These fish have approximately 7 times more omega-3 than omega-6 acids which may be important in controlling inflammation in humans and pets alike.

Omega-6 fatty acids are another group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that can have both pro- and anti-inflammatory effects which are important in promoting repair of cells after physical exertion. These include linoleic and arachidonic acid which helps with skin wound healing and inflammation within the body.

Capsule, liquid or chew, what to choose?! Capsules are coated to prevent them from being dissolved by stomach acid, thus they are less likely to give your pet ‘fish breath’. These capsules are also easily hidden among kibble if your dog isn’t a big fan of fish flavored treats. Liquid supplements may have a slightly stronger scent to them than the capsules or chews, similar to the human versions, but can be easily trickled over kibble or mixed into soft diets to ensure your pet has taken it all. The chewable tablets are great for pets that love fish flavors and they can be used as treats without your pet even realizing they’re getting something healthy!

This guide will show everything you need to know about fish oil and it’s benefits for dogs. We also have some recommendations of 10 top fish oil supplement products available online.

Benefits of Fish Oil for Dogs

1. Skin & Fur

Fish oils are rich in omega-3s which can improve your pet’s skin and fur producing a beautiful shiny coat while reducing dry skin and associated itchiness. The improved health of your pet’s skin can even reduce excessive shedding. You can find dog foods that may help reduce fur shedding here (link).

2. Immune System

The fatty acids in fish oil help to reduce inflammation and bolster your pet’s immune system. This means your dog can combat diseases and illnesses better while having more energy for playing with you and improving activity levels in older pets.

3. Joint Health

As mentioned before, fish oil reduces inflammation throughout the body which includes the joints. This is particularly important if your pet suffers from arthritis or is entering their golden years, just like with humans. Supplementing your dog’s diet with fish oil can help your pet remain comfortably active and thus enjoy better cardiovascular health as well.

Possible Side Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation

Fish oil is a fantastic supplement and is often included in commercial diets. Having said that, some pets may have some adverse side effects. If you have any concerns, or your pet is on medication then please consult your veterinarian before supplementing your pet’s diet.

1. Gastro-intestinal upset

As with almost anything a pet may eat, tummy upsets may occur, particularly if your pet has a sensitive stomach or over-indulges in fish oils. Signs of upset may be changes in the texture and firmness of your pet’s poo or increased flatulence. If your pet experiences diarrhea or pain, then immediate veterinary care should be sought for treatment and to determine the appropriate dose of fish oil. In mild cases, you can stop supplementation and your pet’s poo should return to normal in a  day or so. Before giving again, you should double check the dosage with your veterinarian and then slowly build up to that dosage.

2. Clotting disruption

The omega-3’s in fish oil have been known to prevent platelets clumping together properly, which can reduce the blood’s ability to clot following an injury. If your pet is often rough-housing with other dogs or is a little accident prone outdoors, then you should check with your veterinarian prior to adding fish oils to their diet. Pets on any blood thinning medication should not be given fish oil at all! Also, do not give fish oils to your pet if it has been diagnosed with a clotting disorder, such as von Willebrand disease.

3. Interference with medications

As with blood thinning medication, the fatty acids in fish oils may interfere with other medicines, particularly some anti-inflammatory medications. Never give your pet any supplements if they are on medication without consulting your veterinarian first.

4. Vitamin E deficiency

Fish oil supplementation may cause a relative deficiency in vitamin E through increased consumption in the body. Vitamin E is essential for your pet’s ocular health, immune system, fertility and maintaining muscle throughout life. Ideally, you should invest in a supplement that also includes vitamin E however, separate supplementation is also suitable while following your vet’s advice.

5. Contamination and Spoiled Fish Oils

While not technically an adverse effect of supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oil, owners should be aware of some other risks. As noted above, many fish that are sources of fish oil can accumulate toxins such as mercury or dioxins, but most companies (and those on our list) go to great lengths to minimize these risks and tests have shown that most fish oil supplements have levels far below a single serving of fish.

Spoiled fish oils can produce peroxides which are what gives the rancid smell when fish oil goes ‘off’. Regular consumption of spoiled fish oil can have some gastrointestinal concerns in humans, and likely in our pets too, though there are no studies providing exact risk levels at the time of writing. Spoilage can occur at any stage from using poor quality fish all the way through to storage while in use by the customer. The companies featured on our list all use excellent quality, natural fish sources with excellent extraction and refining techniques to minimize these risks. In order to prolong the life of your pet’s supplement once opened, please follow the package directions and store in the refrigerator. If you have a small dog, this may mean purchasing a smaller sized bottle so that it doesn’t spoil before it’s all used up.

View The Best Fish Oil Supplement for Dogs Below

Our list here is not exhaustive, nor is it in any particular order as every pet is different in their requirements and tastes. The advice in this article is not intended, nor should it be used as a replacement for appropriate veterinary advice. If you have any concerns, you should always contact your veterinarian in the first instance.

1. K9 Pro Krill MAX Fish Oil

K9 Pro Krill MAX Fish Oil for Dogs

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These soft chew treats are sourced from pure, sustainable, Antarctic krill oil guaranteed by the company to be free from toxins such as mercury and other heavy metals. Proudly manufactured in the USA, each chew contains a minimum of 350mg Omega-3 fatty acids and also contain astaxanthin, an antioxidant naturally produced by these tiny crustaceans. Veterinarian approved, these chews carry a 100% satisfaction guarantee and can help keep your pup’s coat glossy and their joints supple while supporting their heart and brain health too.

Why We Like It – Krill MAX Fish Oil Chews are fantastic for pooches that don’t like fishy tasting treats at all as they come in chicken and cheese flavours. Added vitamin E in these chews means you don’t have to supplement your pup with extra when giving these treats. This can also help eliminate any ‘fish breath’ after eating, and are low allergen so may be suitable for dogs with food sensitivities. No mess and easy-to-read dose instructions on the packaging make these a great choice for any dog owner.

2. Grizzly Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Grizzly Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

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This 100% wild Alaskan salmon oil comes in a range of sizes with pump-dispensers for easy dosing of pets of every weight. The bottles slot easily into the refrigerator while the pump prevents leaks and spills. These are a natural and sustainable source of omega-3s as the fish are not caught solely for their oil, instead, the oil is a co-product of the company’s other human supplements. The oil is extracted and refined using human-grade equipment and without any air contamination to preventing the formation of peroxides. Each pump guarantees a minimum of 535mg Omega-3 fatty acids and 55mg of omega-6 fatty acids.

Why We Like ItGrizzly salmon oil is produced from 100% natural Alaskan salmon with a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids creating a premium product to help maximize your pet’s health.

3. Grizzly Wild Alaskan Pollock Oil

Grizzly Wild Alaskan Pollock Oil

Another Grizzly product on our list! Grizzly Pollock Oil also comes in an easy-to-use, no-mess, pump bottle. Grizzly reports that this Pollock Oil has one of the highest Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios and that their oil comes from a sustainable and affordable, completely natural source. Wild Alaskan Pollock oil has benefits similar to salmon oil but with a slightly lower price tag which can make this a more affordable source of fish oil supplementation for owners, particularly if you have a larger breed dog.

Why We Like It – Again, we love the pump-dispenser and also the fact that this company is committed to sourcing their oil from natural, sustainable and affordable wild Alaskan Pollock sources. Pollock oil one of the highest ratios of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 to Omega-6’s which is another bonus for dogs with cardiovascular disease or arthritis. As with all Grizzly products, the production process uses human-food-quality equipment.

4. TerraMax Pro Omega-3 Fish Oil

TerraMax Pro Omega-3 Fish Oil

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TerraMax has recently launched their own brand of fish oil supplements, primarily aimed at our canine companions. As you can expect with TerraMax, the quality is excellent and this is an extremely popular product; so much so they offer an unconditional 100% satisfaction guarantee. Similar to some other products on the list, this fish oil also comes in an easily dispensed pump bottle for minimal fuss.

Sourced from the icy waters off of Iceland, this fish oil is extracted from responsibly sourced herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies with no fillers. Molecular distillation of the fish oil claims to eliminate all toxins and exceeds required standards for pet supplements. Each 5ml serving contains a minimum of 1325mg Omega-3 fatty acids.

Why We Like It – This is TerraMax’s first Omega-3 fish oil supplement for dogs which is focussed on high quality and customer satisfaction. The easy to use pump-dispenser bottle is handy too. Customers report less smell with this product than some other fish oils and there are no additives. While you will need to supplement your pet with separate vitamin E, this product is veterinarian recommended.

5. Vetoquinol AllerG-3

Vetoquinol AllerG-3

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This is one of the best selling online fish oil supplements for our canine friends and is also delivered in liquid or capsule form. The AllerG-3 capsules come in small, medium and large breed sizes supplying a minimum of 183mg Omega-3s in the small breed capsules. An added benefit of this product is the incorporation of vitamins A, D3 and particularly vitamin E which is a great time and trouble saver. The fish oil in AllerG-3 is sourced from wild, cold-water fish and has USP (United States Pharmacopeia) ingredient verification.

Why We Like It – Vetoquinol AllerG-3 is one of the most popular fish oil products on the market and the first on our list that is available in capsule form. Each capsule also supplies extra vitamins A, D3, and E which are all important for your pet’s health. These capsules are great for pets that don’t need the extra calories that come with treats or liquid formulations and can easily be mixed in with kibble or soft diets while reducing the risk of ‘fish breath’.

6. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet

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This fish oil supplement is entirely derived from wild anchovies and sardines, which both contain omega-3, just from a different source from most of the other products on our list. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet uses non-GMO, natural and sustainable sources for their fish oil with numerous awards and independent testing to confirm this. Vitamin E is added as an anti-oxidant in this product, however, the amount is not listed so you may need some extra supplementation for your pet. Each 5mls of the liquid formula contains 1426mg Omega-3s.

Why We Like It – Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet is a supplement derived from wild anchovies and sardines from some of the cleanest waters in the world and full of omega-3 fatty acids. This product is available in both soft gel and liquid forms and both are produced in a zero-waste facility using biofuel.

7. Amazing Nutritionals Omega-3 Chews

Amazing Nutritionals Omega-3 Chews

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Another chewable treat on our list, this time from Amazing Nutritionals which can, again, be given as a treat. These treats come in bacon and liver flavor for fussy pets who don’t like fish. These chewy tablets are manufactured in the USA in an organic-certified facility so you know it’s a quality product. These tablets contain Omega-3s from fish oil and Omega-6s from sunflower oil, however, it doesn’t provide minimum concentrations on the packaging.

Why We Like It – Another product that’s third-party tested for purity so you can trust it’s safety with a money back guarantee. No mess, no fuss chewable tablets in a yummy bacon and liver flavor for picky dogs providing both Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids.

8. Zesty Paws Salmon Bites

Zesty Paws Salmon Bites

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These deliciously chewy treats are produced from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, providing a minimum of 191mg Omega-3s in each chew from fish oil. An extra source of 250mg DHA fatty acid comes in the form of algae-sourced DHA alongside supplementary vitamins C, E and B7 (biotin). Zesty Paws are committed to transparency about their product contents enabling pet owners to make informed decisions with all allergens listed on their products.

Why We Like It – These tasty chews are produced from wild-caught Alaskan salmon with added vitamins C, E, and B7. We love that all ingredients are listed including allergens so you know if it will be suitable for your pet.

9. Nutri-Vet Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Nutri-Vet Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

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This veterinary-formulated fish oil contains both Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from only Wild Alaskan Salmon provides a minimum of 1228mg Omega-3 and 100mg Omega-6 per 4.5g dose. Produced in the USA, there are no heavy metal contaminants including mercury in this product. Vitamin E may need to be added as an additional supplement if you choose to use this product.

Why We Like It – Another great product from the USA with wild-caught Alaskan salmon and veterinarian formulated. The pump-dispenser bottle is a great plus for minimal mess.

10. Nutri-Vet Omega Krill & Fish Oil

Nutri-Vet Omega Krill & Fish Oil

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Krill oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and this veterinary-formulation provides a minimum of 1407mg Omega fatty acids per 5mls dose. All fish and krill are wild-sourced for this product that is supplied in both liquid and soft-gel forms.

Why We Like It – A veterinarian formulation produced with both Krill and fish oil, this product provides a superior combination of fatty acids and anti-oxidants.

Related; NurishPet’s Salmon Oil Chews

How to Calculate the Fish Oil Dosage

  • Salmon fish oilsUnder 30 lbs: Consult a vet. The amount will likely be under 1,000 mg of fish oil.
  • 30-60 lbs: 1,000 mg is recommended.
  • 60-90 lbs: 2,000 mg is recommended.
  • 90-110 lbs: 3,000 mg is recommended.
  • 110-140 lbs: 4,000 mg is recommended.

It is not that difficult to spot a pattern here – an extra 1,000 mg of fish oil is recommended for every 30lbs of the dogs’ weight. Keep in mind that this is so mostly because of the fact that the fish oil contains EPA/DHA.

Questions about Fish Oil from Other Dog Owners

1. Where to buy fish oil for dogs?

Simple question, thankfully with a simple answer. These days you can buy it almost anywhere. All good pet stores will stock supplements and you can also purchase at your veterinary clinic or even online. There are also countless online stores offering fish oil supplements, but you need to do a little research to find out which offers the best service, products and price.

2. How much fish oil should I give my dog?

Supplements should include instructions on the packaging about dosing. If your dog has a sensitive tummy or is lighter then you should consult your veterinarian before giving any supplements.

3. How often should I give fish oil to my dog?

Once a day dosing is sufficient in most cases, all good supplements will have dosing recommendations on their packaging which gives you some guidance for that product.

4. Why use fish oil for dogs?

Fish oil

As noted previously in this article, fish oil contains fatty acids that help to boost your dog’s health and help grow a lustrous, glossy coat. Fish oil is helpful in controlling inflammation which is really important for dogs that suffer from arthritis. Supplementing with fish oil can help your dog’s mobility and get them active again.

Make the walks even better with a reliable canine harness.  Boosting the immune system is another benefit that means your pet will be better capable to fight infections.

5. Are fish oil capsules/liquid safe for dogs?

Fish oil supplements come in liquid and solid forms and both are safe for dogs, just as they are for humans. While dogs cannot take all supplements that humans can, plain fish oil supplements are suitable for your pet.

6. Does fish oil help reduce dry, itchy skin in dogs?

Yes, fish oil can help dogs with itchy skin. Daily dosing with fish oil can help improve your pet’s coat and skin condition through reducing dryness and inflammation which will reduce the urge to scratch. Another great benefit of this healthier skin is that your pet’s coat will be shinier and softer.

7. What’s the difference between salmon, krill and regular fish oil?

Krill oil is not strictly a fish oil as it is produced from crustaceans, not fish. Krill oil contains more of the fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) than fish oil and also contains astaxanthin which is a potent antioxidant with a reddish pigmentation.

Salmon oil should be produced only from salmon which can make it very expensive compared to regular fish oil which is usually derived from a variety of oily fish such as salmon, trout, albacore tuna and sardines among others.

All three oils contain omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for dogs including EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Best Omega-3 Fish Oil for Dogs

Grizzly Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Grizzly Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

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Our favorite product on this list has to be (as you knew it would be): Grizzly Salmon Oil All-Natural Dog Food Supplement. This pump bottle is easy to use with an amazing quality fish oil supplement. Reasonably priced, easily stored and an undeniably excellent quality that can rarely be matched all make this one our top recommendation.

Differences between fish oils

If you’re looking for other supplements, don’t forget to check out our other buying guides: best probiotics for dogs, glucosamine for dogs, and coconut oil for dogs guide.

To read more about how omega-3 supplements can help your pet – check out this tufts study or this science daily study.

If you are looking for additional dog supplements don’t forget to check out our other buying guides: best probiotics for dogs, glucosamine for dogs, and coconut oil for dogs guide.

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Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs & Cats - Supports Joint...
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Bestseller No. 2
Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs & Cats - Supports Joint...
  • A tasty & body nourishing treat for cats & dogs - Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan...
  • Healthy, powerful Omega fatty acids - This premium Salmon Oil is rich with...
  • Help your pet stay in great shape - The rich Omegas in Salmon Oil help to...
Bestseller No. 3
Nutri-Vet Fish Oil Supplements for Dogs | Skin and Coat Omega 3...
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Edele Grey, DVM
Passionate about animal welfare, I feel owner education and collaboration maximizes the health of animals while forging unbreakable bonds between owner and pet which provides both parties with the best quality of life. I have a strong scientific background and I take a holistic approach in striving to provide my patients with the best evidence-based care and treatment options.