For decades, humans have been consciously including salmon in their diets to ensure they gain the vast number of benefits of this oil fish. Now, it has become a top trend to give dogs salmon oil, too. This is based on scientific research showing that dogs of all ages (from puppies to seniors) can benefit from the nutrients in salmon oil.
Omega 3 is one of the essential fatty acids for dogs. It is essential because dogs are unable to produce these fatty acids in their bodies.
Salmon oil contains high levels of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Humans can make both EPA and DHA from ALA (a short-chain fatty acid present in vegetable oils), but dogs struggle to do the same. In fact, even in humans the process is inefficient. For this reason, it is much better to provide your dog with a direct source of long-chain fatty acids.
Of course, you could simply feed your dog salmon. However, this does pose some risks. For one thing, the bones in salmon are quite fine. It is easy to miss some and end up feeding them to your dog, which could cause her an injury or discomfort. In addition, when you feed your dog fish rather than salmon oil, it becomes more difficult to measure how much omega 3 she receives.
By feeding your dog salmon oil on a regular basis, you will provide her with the following benefits.
A common reason dog owners start feeding their pets salmon oil is to resolve skin problems. One way fatty acids work is by promoting the production of the natural oils that lubricate your dog’s skin. These oils heal redness and itchiness caused by eczema, allergies, dermatitis, and just about any other skin condition.
Most other skin treatments tend to be just temporary solutions or they are designed to treat a singular cause of flaky, itchy skin. The exception is coconut oil, which can be both safe and effective for long-term use. Still, it is far less beneficial than salmon oil, as it contains no omega-3 fatty acids.
Dogs who have suffered from an imbalanced diet (such as rescue dogs) often have a poor coat condition. Their coats may be coarse, the hairs even cracked. Consuming salmon oil can help improve these dogs’ appearance faster.
Other dogs are simply prone to shedding, which is a nuisance for their owners. The fatty acids in salmon oil combat this problem, at the same time making the coat bright and soft.
People often associate the word “fat” with poor heart health. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. As well as lowering high blood pressure, they reduce the amount of triglycerides in your dog’s body to prevent heart disease.
Many people are familiar with omega-3 fatty acids as nutrients essential for brain function. This is just as true for dogs as it is for humans. Omega 3 is especially important for developing the brains of puppies and maintaining alertness in older dogs.
Salmon oil contributes to the healthy function of a number of other organs in the body, including the liver and many of the organs that make up the digestive system. It is particularly useful for dogs who are suffering from kidney disease or kidney problems like frequent urination and lack of appetite.
Omega 3 plays a major role in keeping inflammation in check. Whereas a certain amount of inflammation is necessary to drive white blood cells to sites in the body exposed to viruses or bacteria, too much inflammation can lead to degenerative health issues.
By ensuring that your dog consumes a sufficient amount of omega 3, you help her avoid conditions like arthritis and potentially prevent acute gout attacks. Salmon oil can also reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
By boosting the immune system, salmon oil increases healing time for injuries and fights off illnesses. It also corrects an overactive immune system, preventing allergic responses and autoimmune disease.
Salmon oil can reduce the risk of a variety of types of cancers. It is particularly effective when part of a biologically-appropriate raw diet.
If your dog already has cancer, salmon oil may be able to slow the growth of tumors, improving her chances of recovery. It can also prevent cancer-related cachexia — the loss of muscle mass and strength.
Adding salmon oil to an obese dog’s meals can help her lose weight faster. It can also help her maintain her ideal weight once she has shed some pounds. Again, it is important that salmon oil be part of a balanced diet for it to be effective. Plus, your dog will need to receive sufficient daily exercise.
Some salmon oil products are far better than others. The best ones of all are made from wild Alaskan salmon. Such fish are taken from clean water, free from pollutants (such as mercury) that could have an adverse effect on your dog’s health. Furthermore, wild salmon is better than farm-fed salmon, as it contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids for greater nutritional benefits.
Whereas you could add salmon oil supplements to your dog’s meals, an even better option is to purchase dog food that comes with high-quality salmon oil as an ingredient. This way, you’ll be providing your dog with a premium source of DHA and EPA every day. There’s no need to wait for your dog to suffer from a health problem to start feeding her salmon oil. Giving her plenty of omega 3 now will yield health benefits in the future.