Using fish oil for dogs can have a number of health benefits. Adding fish oil to a dog's diet often helps improve the condition of the skin and coat, but there are other benefits that are not as easily visible. Fish oil also helps keep several internal organs in healthy working condition, and can be beneficial for dogs suffering from some common, age-related illnesses.
Commonly given to improve a dog's skin and coat, fish oil contains fatty acids that can help replace moisture in the skin. Dry skin can cause more than flakes, including itching and discomfort. Fish oil can help return a healthy shine to the coat and relieve itching.
Using fish oil for dogs with joint problems such as arthritis and osteoarthritis can help them find relief from inflammation of the joints. The proper dosage can help reduce the pain in afflicted joints by relieving some of the inflammation that causes stiffness and itching within the joint. Fish oil contains a chemical called eicosapentaenoic (EPA) that is absorbed into cells that have been damaged by arthritis and combats the cellular substances that cause the inflammation.
Autoimmune diseases such as allergies, canine inflammatory bowel disease, and Addison's disease develop when a dog's immune system, typically geared toward fighting the foreign bodies that cause sickness, becomes overactive and begins to destroy some of the dog's own cells. Fish oil for dogs can also help combat these diseases. The fatty acids found in fish oil can coat the inside of the stomach and digestive tract, helping to protect them from what is often the first place these malfunctioning cells attack.
Using fish oil for dogs can also have a positive impact on different organs and parts of the body. Breeds prone to heart conditions can benefit from the anti-clotting properties of the fatty acids contained in fish oil, which can also help reduce blood pressure and relieve instances of arrhythmia. These same fatty acids can help keep eyes healthy and vision sharp, and in puppies they can help ensure the internal workings of the eyes develop properly.
As with any medication or supplement, a veterinarian can give specific dosages that will be most beneficial for the dog based on weight, age, and overall health. Allergies can also be factored into the dosage, as can the possibility of using fish oil for healthy dogs as a preventative. Often, a veterinarian can recommend a specific type or brand that will be most effective.