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The Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs

Updated 16 April 2024
Read time: 8 mins
article author
Written by Elle Padgham
Lead Copywriter
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

If you’ve been ogling our specialist bottles of sustainably sourced, omega-rich Salmon Oil For Dogs, you may have wondered, ‘What does salmon oil actually do for my dog?’ Though Pooch & Mutt’s range of nutritional dog foods are designed to keep your pup happy and healthy, salmon oil contains vital ingredients that are essential for a dog’s development. In fact, for any animal, it’s one of the most beneficial supplements there is.

Read on for an in-depth guide on how salmon oil can benefit your dog and to learn some of the science behind salmon oil’s powerful, superhero ingredients.

How does salmon oil help dogs?

Salmon oil is such a marvel because of its wonder-trio of fatty acids: Omega 3, 6 and 9. These powerful ingredients are really beneficial to your dog’s body and mind; they promote healthier skin and coat quality, improved heart health, and they boost immune system, brainpower and movement.

What’s the science behind salmon oil?

To dig a little deeper, Omega 3 was recognised as a molecular marvel when it was found to contain fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Really long in name and in nature, DHA and EPA are long-chain acids containing 20 or more carbon atoms, and in 1929, scientists found that they form the important structural components (1) of healthy cell membranes. In 2004, the US FDA made it official - Omega 3 and 6 were given ‘qualified health claim status’ for being  beneficial to normal, healthy growth.

Here’s the most important bit - all mammal bodies, including humans and dogs - don’t produce DHA and EPA naturally. To receive these nutrients, vital for our mental and physical development, we have to get them from food… such as salmon oil.

What benefits of salmon oil will I see in my dog?

There’s a full list of benefits, as salmon oil is a veritable wonder product. After feeding it to your dog for just a couple of weeks, you’ll start to see a happier, livelier, and healthier-looking pup.

  • Better brain function, mental development and memory

Salmon oil seriously makes your dog smarter - in fact, it’s particularly recommended for the brain development of growing puppies. Research carried out by Eukanuba found that 9 week old puppies fed on a high DHA diet became more intelligent, easier to train and had improved memory in tests which taught them how to recognise shapes that led them to a treat (3). 

You can feed an older dog too, though, as cognitive development needs to be nurtured at all ages. There’s a lot for doggy-brains to hold, like house rules and how to be a functioning, well-behaved pooch in society, while a nourished brain also means they’ll stay alert, energetic and reactive to their owners (or a ball, or a squirrel, or that dog across the fence).

  • A glossy, healthy coat

The anti-inflammatory properties of salmon oil reduces scratching and limits shedding, making your dog’s coat smoother, shinier and more lustrous than ever. Just wait for passers-by to point in the street as your pup bounds along in slow motion.

  • No more itchy or dry skin

The fatty acids found in salmon oil help form a protective layer which moisturises your dog’s skin and acts as a barrier to allergens and irritants. If your pooch does suffer a skin infection, Omega 3’s anti-inflammatory superpowers include soothing the skin so they’ll be less itchy.

  • Boosted immunity against diseases

In a similar vein, the healing properties of DHA and EPA will supercharge your dog’s immune system, meaning his body will be naturally stronger in fighting off diseases such as kidney and liver disease and pancreatitis.

  • Improved cardiovascular / heart health 

Long walks and off-the-lead runs, let’s go! The Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon oil protect your dog’s heart by managing cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels, meaning their overall stamina and cardiovascular health is improved and they won’t run out of breath as quickly.

  • Lubricated joints for better mobility

Another cause for more runs on the beach, salmon oil keeps your dog’s joints limber and lubricated so they can move around easily - an essential aspect to a dogs’ continued mobility as they grow and age.

  • Bright eyes and sight 

A dog’s eyes indicate their overall health (you know that), and salmon oil promotes bright, clear eyes and better sight. As one of the main ways a dog communicates is through her eyes, ensuring they’re healthy and free of redness and discharge is super important to their day-to-day comfort.

  • Healthy weight gain, especially for puppies

When rearing a puppy there’s nothing more encouraging than seeing them grow bigger and stronger. As salmon oil is a nutrient-rich source of fat, it’s the ideal way to induce healthy weight gain in a puppy, or an underweight adult dog, in a way that includes vital nutrition too.

 

How do I feed my dog salmon oil?

Administering salmon oil to your dog couldn’t be easier - it’s got a strong fishy flavour so they love the taste. Following the guidelines for their size, just drizzle it into their regular food and mix well.

 

salmon oil for dogs

 

How often should I give my dog salmon oil?

For maximum benefits, feed your dog salmon oil every day. For small dogs a teaspoon a day is enough; for medium dogs, 1-2 teaspoons; for large dogs, 2-3 teaspoons; and for giant dogs, 3-4 teaspoons a day. Clear instructions are on the label of each of our Salmon Oil For Dogs bottles.

How should I store salmon oil - does it go off?

All fish oils have an expiration date; after this its quality will gradually decrease, and in the worst case it could make your dog unwell. If you’ve had an unopened bottle of salmon oil for a while, check the expiration date before feeding it to your dog. A fresh bottle should be good for two years if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight - but use it up within 90 days once you’ve broken the seal, and throw it away if it smells rancid.

Can I give my dog too much salmon oil? 

Short answer - yes, or you could risk any of the side effects listed below. Be sure to feed your dog the recommended daily amounts according to their size and age, as indicated on the label on the bottle

Are there any side effects of salmon oil for my dog?

Most dogs will see the many positives of salmon oil, however with any supplement, there’s always a risk of side effects or allergies. If you notice your dog experiencing any of the following symptoms after taking salmon oil, it’s a good idea to book a visit to your vet and get them checked over, just to be safe. 

  • Itchy skin

Salmon oil reduces the chance of itchy or inflamed skin in the majority of cases, however if your dog is allergic, it could have the opposite effect. Keep a lookout for frantic scratching fits in your dog, or more itching than usual.

  • Weight gain

Salmon oil is very energy-dense and so it’s great for growing puppies or underweight dogs. If your pooch seems to be piling on the pounds (and there’s no change to his exercise or diet but the salmon oil), then you may need to cut back. 

  • Constipation or diarrhoea

If your pooch has toilet trouble after you’ve introduced salmon oil to their diet, try a few days of just their regular food to see if it makes a difference.

  • Pancreatitis 

If your dog shows the classic signs of pancreatitis - a hunched bag, sustained vomiting over hours or days, diarrhoea, lethargy and/or pain in the abdomen, take them to the vet for treatment. Salmon oil is known to reduce the chance of diseases such as this, but there’s always the risk of a bad reaction.  

How is salmon oil different from other oils for dogs?

There’s plenty of other oil supplements for dogs that offer similar health benefits, but salmon oil is the cream of the crop, and here’s why.

Salmon oil vs other fish oils for dogs

Oils derived from other fish, such as cod liver oil, offer lots of the same benefits to dogs as salmon oil; improved coat and skin quality, a boosted immune system and decreased inflammation. However, this is mostly down to its Omega 3 content - something that salmon oil has a much higher concentration of. Salmon oil also provides superior Omega 3 absorption in a dog’s body, and it has a fishier taste, which dogs love. Put simply, other fish oils are great, but salmon oil tops them in terms of concentrated goodness (and tastiness).

Salmon oil vs plant-based oils like olive, coconut and flaxseed

As a plant-based alternative to fish oils, we humans often turn to natural oils such as olive, coconut and flaxseed. For dogs, this doesn’t quite work the same way. While fish oils contain the long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA found in Omega 3, plant-based oils have more of the short-chain acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Though ALA is still beneficial to dogs and puppies, they’d have to eat a whole lot of plant-based oil to receive the more potent nutrients found in smaller amounts of salmon oil.

 

Sold on salmon oil’s dog-enhancing superpowers? To see the benefits in your dog, Pooch & Mutt’s Salmon Oil is sustainably sourced, of the highest quality and packed full of Omega 3, 6 and 9. 

If you have any other questions about Salmon Oil that we haven’t covered here, you can contact us via email or leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help.

Comments (42)

How much salmon oil should I give my 8 week boxer puppy a day.

Cheryl - Mar 27 2023

Can I give my dog salmon oil as well as the joint care dry food? Or should I get a different type of food. Thank you

Katie - Mar 31 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi @Katie we will get one of the team to reach out to you by email! :)

Team Pooch - Mar 31 2023

Doberman with itchy skin due to environmental allergies. Can I rub it into his skin

Carolyn - Apr 11 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Carolyn, we wouldn’t recommend rubbing Salmon Oil on your dogs skin, it is more beneficial to feed as per the guidelines to nourish from within :)

Team Pooch - Apr 11 2023

Hi. My puppy suffers with a heart murmur which will more than likely be going as on going investigations. Am I still ok to feed my dog salmon oil?

Demi-Leigh Smith - May 16 2023

I have a 12 month old rescue Yorkie who eats anything he can find, he’s scavenging all the time. One of his favourites is mud and anything else he can find that’s more disgusting. I have been told that salmon oil can reduce his need to do this, is this correct?

Sylvia Newnham - Jun 13 2023

I have a 10 year old ,Llewelyn Setter neutered male, he suffers from Coloitis, Pancreatitis,and high cholesterol, he also has several large fatty lumps , would it be safe to give him salmon oil, as he is on a low fat diet. Thankyou.

Lin Mcaughlin - Jul 20 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Lin, our team are going to reach out to you directly in regards to your comment, if you haven’t heard from them within 48 hours send them an email on [email protected] :)

Team Pooch - Jul 20 2023

I have a 10 yr. old boxer. I give him 2-3 teaspoons of alaskan salmon oil per day. He’s doing GREAT! Acts like a puppy!

Paul - Aug 07 2023

I have a 22 month Labrador last year his skin flared up where he lost the fur around his eyes and he was chewing his skin constantly. Thought we had got to the bottom of his problems but the same thing has happened this year. I am trying to avoid the vets as I know they will put him on steroids which he gets all the side effects from them I have put him on salmon oil today and already he does seem to be more settled with his skin tonight

Emma - Aug 21 2023

Thank you for the information it’s been very helpful. My dogs have been on salmon oil for 4 days now because they have an itchy problem we will see how it goes

Mary - Sep 01 2023

Looking for this product for some time.
I will update on the product. Tks. Minnie

Minnie Flick - Sep 14 2023

Does your wet food contain all the fish oil the dog needs? I’ve just ordered some oil from you but am not sure I should give them extra.
My 13 year old staffie Cross is borderline renal disease, can you advise me on how I can help her?
Thank you

Debbie - Oct 25 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Debbie, All of our foods (wet and dry) are nutritionally balanced and contained all of the required nutrients for the average dog.

However, some dogs benefit from supplementation of ingredients like fish oil. For example, those with itchy skin or joint disease should often be given extra fish oils.

For those patients who would benefit from extra fish oils, they should be given alongside our wet food, which is not supplemented with extra fish oils.

With regards an older dog with borderline renal disease, if the dog’s vet has not advised a renal diet, our senior diet is possibly a good option (worth discussing with their vet to double check).

Fish oil is often recommended for those dogs with renal disease as it can help to reduce local inflammation within the kidneys and boost immunity. It may even slow the progression of renal disease in some cases.

Team Pooch - Oct 25 2023

The P&M salmon oil is great and my dog loves it and definitely seems to have a renewed spring in his step! I do find it messy to pour though, is there a pump available for the bottle?

Lisa - Nov 16 2023
Pooch Admin

Hey Lisa, We are currently working on making changes to our bottle and you should see this in the near future! :)

Team Pooch - Nov 16 2023

I have a underweight 6 month Mali X Dutch herder will it help with weight gain

Ge - Feb 22 2024
Pooch Admin

Hi Ge!
A teaspoon of Salmon oil contains roughly 38 calories, it could help with a little weight gain but we would advise looking for a food that would be higher in fats to help with this. :)

Team Pooch - Feb 22 2024

I’ve just started giving the fish oil to my cocker spaniel. The Vet saiid that it would help him with his brain function as he has popcorn seizures and is very reactive. He is also nervous. I notice after a few days of.mixing the salmon oil with his food, that he is calmer. However he sits and seems to be seeing something that I don’t see. Is he hallucinating? He’s also stopped begging for food and he’s eating all of his dog food. What do you think? Sandy

Sandy - Mar 07 2024
Pooch Admin

Hi Sandy,
We would recommend speaking with your vet regarding this, as this could be linked to their seizures and they know your pets history best. :)

Team Pooch - Mar 07 2024

Hi

My 10 year old lab has arthritis and recently diagnosed spondylosis. She has been on Yumove for a few years now and has been on Pardale V for 3 months or so and given Gabapentin and Memantine recently, which is not controlling her pain and seems to be making her pain worse. Would she be able to take salmon oil as already getting green lipped mussel in her Yumove?

Thanks.

Ray - Apr 16 2024
Pooch Admin

Hi Ray,
You can absolutely feed salmon oil alongside YuMove, we would advise following the feeding guidelines for both and monitor for any adverse reactions :)

Team Pooch - Apr 16 2024

My dog is allergic to salmon. Is there an alternative?

Richard - May 14 2024
Pooch Admin

Hi Richard,
We do only have our Salmon oil available, but you could look at other brands and get either a herring oil or cod liver oil instead. If you are unsure, we would advise speaking with your vet regarding what might be best for your pooch. :)

Team Pooch - May 14 2024

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