Fish oil supplements have a variety of benefits and have been recommended by doctors for years. But did you know that they can help your dogs and cats as well?
There are two important omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These acids are essential but produced only in limited quantities in dogs, and even less in cats. Both EPA and DHA are found in the cell membranes of animals. They help decrease inflammation in cells.
The most common use of fish oil for pets is as allergy relief. The anti-inflammatory elements reduce dandruff in the fur and itchiness in the skin. Not only will this help your pet feel considerably better, but it will also reduce instances of hot spots. And, like most fat supplements, fish oil helps improve an animal’s coat, making it shinier and healthier.
These anti-inflammatory properties can also be effective against any condition that causes inflammation in your pet’s organs, skin or joints – including dermatitis, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and even cancer. On top of that, DHA is important during a young animal’s life, improving eye and brain development in puppies and kittens.
At Park Avenue Animal Hospital, we offer Veterinarian Recommended Solutions’ Omega Benefits line of fish oil products. We like them because they are extensively tested for purity by a third party to remove contaminates. They are also exceptionally easy to use. Most fish oil supplements come in pill form, making it difficult to give to your pet on a daily basis. VRS’s fish oil is in liquid form, designed to be squirted on top of a bowl of food. Your pet will happily munch away on its regular diet without even knowing the fish oil is there.
Most dogs and cats can see some benefit from introducing fish oil into their diet. However, dosages and benefits can vary, and omega-3s have been known to cause some side effects, such as slower blood clotting, so you’ll want to speak with your vet to get their recommendation and make sure that fish oil is right for your animal.