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Science-Backed Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs


When considering feeding our pets fish, it is typically our feline friends who we think might benefit from that the most. It is rather rare to think of dogs who would specifically enjoy fish as part of their dietActually, fish has many nutritional benefits for dogs, especially when well-prepared and deboned (small fish bones pose a risk of chocking). Furthermore, some dogs truly enjoy the taste of fish! 

Salmon oil has gained a reputation of a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Considering the nutritional benefits of salmon oil, why not incorporate it in your dog’s diet? Let’s explore all the health benefits of salmon oil for dogs and how to properly add it to your canine’s food.


What Is the Science Behind Salmon Oil’s Benefits for Dogs?

Why is salmon oil so popular and considered among the best supplements not only for humans but also for dogs? It is because of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in particular. Salmon oil is considered a superior source of these acids than other types of fish oil.

Here comes the question- Why are these acids so special? They are essential components of cell membranes throughout the body, including those in the skin, brain, eyes, and joints. They help maintain membrane fluidity and integrity, ensuring proper cellular function and communication. They also have several important functions that contribute to the overall well-being of our furry friends, which we will list below.

While salmon oil contains lower quantities of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids, it still includes them.

Omega-6 fatty acids like linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) play an important role in dogs’ dietdue to their physiological functions. 

A quick fact that you might be interested in-  omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can not be synthesized in the body, while omega-9 fatty acids (e.g. oleic acid) can be produced by the body. Therefore, they are not considered as essential as the first two types.

Healthy Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs

Anti-inflammatory Function

Omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory functions mainly due to their effect on the production of inflammatory molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are signaling molecules that play a crucial role in the inflammatory response of the body.

Let’s imagine that inflammation is like alarm that goes off when there is a potential danger. It sends signals to the body to respond and start the repair process. However, if this alarm stays on for too long, it will likely cause harm. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fish, nuts, and seeds, act like firefighters in this scenario. They help calm down the alarm system by reducing the production of eicosanoids, that promote inflammation.

Joint Health Support

The positive effect on joint health is one of the most popular benefits of salmon oil, which is directly related to its anti-inflammatory function. Inflammation can contribute to joint pain and stiffness, especially if your dog is already elderly.

According to studies, omega-3 supplements can help mitigate joint inflammation and improve mobility function. This is also because of the lubricating joint fluid, that EPA and DHA produce, which supports joint mobility and comfort.

Heart Health Support

You may have started to think that omega-3 fatty acids are some sort of a medical wonder! The further benefits of these acids may prove these belief! They are also known for having a positive effect on the heart by protecting it against inflammation and supporting blood flow. 

Keeping cholesterol levels in healthy limits is an additional benefit of salmon oil, which along with the positive effects listed above, helps promote overall cardiovascular wellness in our furry friends.

Cognitive Skills Support

Do you want to improve your canine’s learning skills? Why not add some salmon oil to their food? Omega-3 fatty acids have proved beneficial for learning skills in both humans and animals, which can be particularly helpful if you intend to train your paw friend in more advanced tasks, e.g. service dog tasks.

Adding salmon oil to pregnant or nursing dogs can support the brain development of her puppies. 

Last but not least, omega-3 fatty acids have proven their protective effect on brain cells, helping them deal with damage or degeneration.

Eye Health Support

DHA in particular plays a crucial role in supporting eye health in canines, as it is a structural component of the retina. By incorporating salmon oil into your dog’s diet you help support their eyesight and contribute to reducing the risk of eye conditions related to aging.

Skin and Coat Support

Who does not want their paw friend to have a silky coat and healthy skin? Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, salmon oil aids in reducing itchiness and skin allergies. It contributes to improving dogs’ skin and coat condition, promoting silky and itch-free coat!

Weight Management

Let’s not forget that both humans and animals need balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs and proper exercise in order to stay healthy. However, adding omega-3 fatty acids to their food will support your efforts to keep your dog’s weight healthy. This is particularly valid for dogs who are prone to gaining weight, whose calorie intake should be monitored. 

Salmon oil is known for reducing appetite and promoting sense of satiety. If you opt for salmon oil as a tool to reduce your dog’s weight, please consult with a veterinarian first. They will let you know the best way to proceed, based on your dog’s individual needs.

Reduction of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common gastrointestinal condition in dogs, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. The anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids alleviate the symptoms of this disease, including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. 

By adding salmon oil to your paw friend’s food you help them improve their gastrointestinal health. 

Immune System Support

Thanks to their immune-supporting effects, omega-3 fatty acids help regulate immune responses and enhance the body's ability to fight off pathogens. By improving the immune system, salmon oil can contribute to overall wellness and reduce the risk of illness in dogs.

Reproductive Health Support

According to research, implementing salmon oil into dog’s food during pregnancy and nursing will likely support development of both the mother and her offspring. DHA, in particular, is essential for the proper development of puppies' nervous systems and cognitive function.

How To Properly Implement Salmon Oil Into a Dog’s Diet?

Considering all the benefits of salmon oil, many veterinarians support its use as a supplement to a dog’s diet. This is particularly valid for canines facing health issues such joint problems, skin conditions, allergies and decline in cognitive function. 

Despite all the positive effects of salmon oil on dog’s overall well-being, you should be mindful when adding it to your dog’s food.

Veterinarian Consultation

Always consult a veterinarian first, as they will advise you on the most suitable amount for your dog and recommend the best way to implement them inn their diet.

Opt for a Salmon Oil of a High Quality

It is essential to opt for a high-quality salmon oil, which is specifically designed for dogs. Make sure it is free of any additives and supplements that can be potentially toxic to dogs or that do not promote their health in general. The more natural a product is, the better!

Opt for the Most Suitable Form

Salmon oil comes in various forms, e.g. soft gel capsules and liquid oils. If you want to supplement your dog’s food in a way that will provide the optimal experience for them, make sure to choose the right form for them.

Keep Track of Your Dog's Health and Consider Potential Side Effects

Even when salmon oil is known for its great benefits for our paw friends’ health, this does not automatically mean that all dogs will respond to it the same way.

Look for any signs of improvement in their skin, coat, mobility and overall well-being.

You shouldn’t also exclude the likelihood of potential side effects to occur as well. Some dogs may be allergic to fish or easily gain weight if it is not properly adjusted to their diet.

Thinning of the blood and interfering with medications are other potential side effects of salmon oil.

Last but not least, make sure to properly store the product, as it can become rancid if not store properly or already expired. Make sure to read the labels carefully.

Adjust Dosage as Needed

The recommended dosage of salmon oil may vary depending on your dog's size, age, and health status. Monitor their response to the supplement and adjust the dosage accordingly.

Consult a veterinarian first, as they will give you personalized advice based on your canine’s unique needs.


Store the salmon oil according to the manufacturer's instructions to maintain its freshness and potency.

Do not use it after the expiration date!

Consider Other Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

While salmon oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, you can also consider incorporating other sources such as fish like mackerel or sardines, flaxseed oil, or algae-based supplements.

However, there are several factors to consider if opting for any of the alternative supplements listed above.

You should be cautious about bones. While small, they can pose a choking hazard or cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested in larger quantities. Also, make sure the fish is cooked to eliminate any risk of parasites.

Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. While ALA is beneficial, it is not as readily converted to the active forms (EPA and DHA) as those found in fish oil. Some dogs may not efficiently convert ALA to EPA and DHA, and even though flaxseed oil can be used as a supplement, it may not fully replace the benefits of fish oil.

Algae supplements are an excellent alternative for dogs who may have allergies to fish or for vegetarian/vegan households. They contain EPA and DHA, the active forms of omega-3s, and are suitable for providing these essential fatty acids to dogs.