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Benefits of salmon oil for dogs: Try these 5 fish oil products

These products will give your dogs those essential omega 3’s they need

Updated March 25, 2021

Created By

Emily Johnson,
Woman running with her dog

The 5 best salmon oils for dogs, according to our vets

  1. Catalyst Fish Oil Chews — Our vet-preferred option
  2. Zesty Paws Salmon Oil — A mouthwatering taste pets love
  3. Grizzly All-Natural Salmon Oil — Made from wild-caught Alaskan fish
  4. American Journey Salmon Oil — The most affordable option
  5. PetHonesty Salmon SkinHealth — An all-natural, preservative-free soft chew

What we love: Not only are these Catalyst Fish Oil chews easy to feed, they are chock-full of three major fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and vitamin E) to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. The chews also go through minimal high-heat processing, leaving maximum nutrients for your pup to benefit from. Tasty and nutritional, just how we like it.

What customers say: While there aren’t a substantial number of reviews, almost 90% of them have 4-5 stars. Many customers noticed a significant improvement in their dogs’ coats and overall less shedding. It was also noted that these chews helped some pups with severe skin allergies thanks to the fatty acids.

Ingredients: Rice bran, dextrose, fish oil (source of EPA/DHA), purified water, flavor, sorbitol, vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate), sorbic acid, and calcium propionate.

What we love: Zesty Paws Salmon Oil is perfect for all-around health benefits for your pup. Not only does it boost their immune system and promote healthy skin, it also supports their hips, joints, and heart. Plus it’s super easy to mix into their food for easy serving — just add a few pumps and voilà, ready to go.

What customers say: It’s hard to ignore the 4.6-star rating with 13,000+ reviews on Amazon. Customers rave about the results: significantly less shedding, healthier joints in their older dogs, softer noses and paw pads, healed skin sores, and more. It’s hard to argue with before-and-after photos like this one!

Ingredients: Salmon oil.

What we love: Not only does USA-made Grizzly Salmon Plus have wild salmon in it, it also includes wild pollock and wild whitefish for even more nutrients. Thanks to these extra oils, you can expect support for your dog’s entire body — immune system, heart, vision, skin and coat, and overall organ health. It also has a medical-grade pump so you can be sure you get the perfect measurement of oil every time.

What customers say: With just over 6,500 reviews and a 4.6-star rating, customers seem to be very happy with this salmon oil supplement. Customers have seen great results (clear skin, soft coats, and overall happier pups) and agree the higher price is worth it. There were a few complaints about broken spouts and the oil spraying out rather quickly, so just keep an eye out when you pump.

Ingredients: Salmon oil, pollock oil, and tocopherols (preservative).

What we love: We love finding a quality product made in America, and American Journey Salmon Oil doesn’t disappoint. It’s jam-packed with natural omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, that help support skin and coat health. It comes in two sizes, both of which are fairly less expensive than the other options we’ve reviewed.

What customers say: Customers were astounded at how quickly they noticed results once adding this oil to their pets’ food. There are a lot of mentions of hair growth on bald spots, no more dandruff, silkier coats, and overall better digestive health, all thanks to the high dose of omega-3s. There were a few complaints, however, on some pets not liking the strong fishy smell, so it may not be the best option for picky eaters.

Ingredients: Salmon oil and mixed tocopherols.

What we love: These PetHonesty Salmon SkinHealth chews are all-natural and loaded not only with omega 3’s, but also omega-6 fatty acids. Not only do they support healthy skin and coats, they also support brain function and maintain healthy joints. Plus, a soft chew keeps things mess-free during mealtime, which we always appreciate.

What customers say: A 4.8-star rating with over 600 reviews on Chewy leaves no doubt that customers are loving this product. Many reviews state that they’ve seen significant improvement in joint problems and skin and coat health. Some people have noted that they are having a hard time getting their picky eaters to get used to them, but overall the majority don’t think the taste or smell are anything to worry about.

Ingredients: Salmon, oat flour, palm fruit oil, sweet potato, carrot, organic brown rice syrup, flaxseed, sunflower lecithin, cellulose powder, coconut glycerin, sorbic acid, rosemary extract, and mixed tocopherols.

What is salmon oil?

Salmon oil is a naturally derived product from (you guessed it) salmon. Salmon isn’t just good for us humans, it’s also good for our pets! Salmon oil can help your dog reap a variety of benefits to improve their overall health.

Liquid. The most common type of salmon oil is a liquid that can be mixed in with your dog’s food. If you are buying liquid salmon oil, betterpet recommends choosing a brand with a pump dispenser to make measuring it out easy. Liquid salmon oil is typically fed as a food topper during mealtime.

Capsules. These soft gelatin capsules contain salmon oil inside. Because salmon oil is sealed inside, you don’t need to worry about your fingers smelling like fish or washing stinky salmon oil out of your dog’s bowl. You can feed salmon oil capsules by feeding them directly to your dog (stuffing one in a treat can help make this easier) or hiding one in their kibble during mealtime.

Soft chews. Salmon oil chews make it easy to give your dog salmon oil while offering them a tasty treat at the same time – most dogs are unlikely to turn their noses up at salmon oil treats. A significant benefit of salmon oil chews is that they often contain other supplements that are beneficial for dogs such as hemp or flaxseed oil – they are like a dog multi-vitamin. However, out of the three forms of salmon oil, soft chews have the lowest amount of omega 3’s. They can also contain unnecessary filler ingredients. Be sure to check the ingredients prior to choosing a salmon oil chew for your dog.

Benefits of salmon oil

Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient for dogs, and salmon oil is a great source of it. It is also one of the only sources of those super beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that we mentioned in the product reviews above.

Some additional benefits of salmon oil are:

Boosts puppy development. Feeding your puppy salmon oil from 8 to 52 weeks may help boost their muscle growth, eyesight, cognitive function, problem-solving, and promote an overall healthy immune system.

A shiny coat and itch-free skin. Omega 3’s have been linked to improved shine in dog coats and may even prevent hair loss (less hair loss = less vacuuming, yes please). Salmon oil can also help improve your dog’s skin overall, including flaky, dry skin due to canine dermatitis.

Treats arthritis. One of the most popular uses of salmon oil is as a joint supplement thanks to its mild anti-inflammatory responses. It may help your dog to comfortably stand and also improve your senior pup’s ability to get around easier.

Healthy heart. Salmon oil is often recommended for breeds with heart problems, like cavalier King Charles Spaniels, as it can support overall heart health.

Helps battle cancer. Salmon oil and the omega 3 fatty acids it contains have been linked to overall immune system health and response. This could potentially help slow down the growth of certain cancerous tumors.

Treats kidney disease. If your dog has kidney disease, salmon oil is one of many supplements that may help treat it. The omega 3’s found in salmon oil can help reduce inflammation and help regulate their frequent urination.

Lowers blood pressure. Omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon oil can lower blood pressure and decrease harmful triglyceride levels (which can lead to heart disease or metabolic syndrome).

Helps with weight gain. If your dog is underweight, adding salmon oil to your dog’s meal, the extra calories found in salmon oil can help your dog gain weight. One teaspoon of liquid salmon oil contains about 40 calories.

Stimulates appetite. Many dog owners simply add salmon oil to their dog’s food to encourage them to eat their meal.

Risks/Negatives to using salmon oil

While uncommon, salmon oil has some potential side effects:

Bad breath. The fishy breath caused by salmon catches some dog owners off guard. Choosing an unscented salmon oil or brushing your dog’s teeth after feeding can help lessen the overall stink, or you can simply wait a few hours for the smell to subside.

Weight gain. If your dog is already at a healthy weight, then the extra calories in salmon oil can really add up. If you are supplementing this into your dog’s diet, you may need to adjust the portion size of your pup’s meals or up their daily exercise.

Digestive issues. Some dogs don’t take well to salmon oil. Your dog may vomit or experience loose stools. The chances of this happening can be reduced by introducing salmon oil to your dog slowly — start with a quarter dose of salmon oil before slowly increasing the dose.

👉 If your dog suffers from any of these side effects (minus the stinky breath), you should contact your veterinarian for help and guidance.

How to give salmon oil to your dog

Depending on the form you buy your salmon oil in, there are a few ways you can give it to your dog. Liquid salmon oil is sometimes used as a food topper by mixing it into their meals. Capsules can be put into their food bowls or hidden in a piece of cheese and given as a treat. Soft chews are the easiest, given simply as a tasty treat.

Shopping tips

Before choosing which type of salmon oil to feed your dog, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Consider their breed, size, weight, and overall health. Salmon oil isn’t a one-size-fits-all for all dogs. If you aren’t sure what’s best for your pup, ask your vet for suggestions.
  2. It’s important to only use high-quality products. Always buy dog supplements from reputable brands that clearly list the ingredients on the label.
  3. Look for salmon oil products that are made with sustainably sourced or wild-caught fish. These fish tend to be healthier and less toxic compared to farmed fish.
  4. Avoid salmon oil liquids and chews that are made with synthetic ingredients or packed with preservatives and chemicals. These ingredients may cause adverse reactions or limit the effectiveness of the fatty acids.
  5. Over the long term, using fish oil as a supplement to a grain-based diet may deplete vitamin E, so some dogs may also ultimately require that supplement too.

How to properly store your salmon oil

Protecting fish oil from heat, light, and air is important. Buy your fish oil in dark bottles and store it in the refrigerator. Fish oil can become rancid since it’s susceptible to oxidation, so make sure to throw your bottle away if it has an “off” odor. Also, remember to check the expiration date on your bottle or chews before giving your pup salmon oil.

What about wild-caught salmon oil?

Wild-caught refers to any salmon that was caught in the ocean where it was free to roam and eat a natural diet of other fish. The other option is farm-raised salmon, where the fish are kept in giant nets and fed pellets. It might seem like a small difference, but that natural diet causes wild-caught salmon to have up to a 30% higher omega 3 concentration than farmed salmon.

And why is wild Alaskan salmon oil so popular? Well, these salmon are caught in American waters and the fisheries and manufacturers need to abide by US laws around food safety. Another benefit is that Alaskan salmon have very low levels of mercury and arsenic, among the lowest levels in the world.