Omega 3 Sustainability and Your Dog

Hi Folks!  A visit with my naturopath reminded me why I chose the fish oil I did.  Happily enough the same company that makes my fish oil, also makes one for dogs.  Fish oil, if you didn’t know, provides many health benefits to humans and dogs – healthy hearts, brain function (puppies/senior dogs), immune systems, skin/coat/hair, joints, just to name a few.  As a mobility doc, I am frequently recommending that clients with dogs suffering from osteoarthritis or dogs at risk of osteoarthritis, consider supplementation, and I am often asked, “what is a good supplement?”.  When searching for a fish oil product, look for, and consider, the following:

1.  Sustainability – is the fish oil obtained from a sustainable source?  Look for ingredients that have “lower food chain” fish on the label like sardines/anchovies for dogs, for humans, think of squid oil.  Squid oil contains more omega 3’s than either krill or salmon.

2.  Quality – look for one that tests for contaminants and can provide this information to you as a lab report should you desire.  As you may be aware, fish can act as “sinks” for contaminants such as heavy metals, and the longer lived the fish (ie. the bigger the fish, the higher up on the food chain, like Salmon or Mackerel), the more likely they may contain contaminants.

3.  EPA and DHA – look for one that states the content of each.  The ratio is often 1:2 or 2:3, either for DHA or EPA.  The key is just to ensure a higher ratio of omega 3’s vs. omega 6’s.  Omega 3’s are the inflammation fighting fatty acids.

4.  Refrigerate!  – if the bottle is dusty and sitting on a shelf with no expiry date, walk away (that goes for any joint supplement in general).  Refrigeration is not necessary on the shelf in a store, but you should store it in the fridge to keep it fresh and use within 90 days or so.

5.  Mind the Tummy – start out real slow when giving to your dog initially.  Start with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amount and build from there.  Some dogs may have allergies to certain types of seafood, or can get tummy upsets if started on too high a dose.  Monitor closely when starting it – look for bowel upset, unusual itching, or general avoidance.  Most dogs don’t mind the supplements and can be mixed in with food.  Avoid any high calorie additions if you need to entice your dog to eat it.

This is not a plug/endorsement but I use Ascenta’s human line with DHA.  A canine product is also available from the same company.

Happy Fish Oil Hunting!

Copyright 2015 Dr. Shannon Budiselic.  Equilibrium VRC Ltd.  Do not reproduce or copy without written permission from the author.