Can Fish Oil Kill Dogs?

I Almost Killed My Dog With Fish Oil

That’s the thought provoking title to a five year old post that recently made the social media rounds. If you haven’t seen it surface recently, the gist of the article is a seemingly anonymous dog owner noticed that her three year old Neopolitan Mastiff became terribly lame after eating eight capsules of fish oil a day.

One day, when the dog finally had trouble rising, his worried owner began researching his symptoms and saw that he might be suffering from vitamin E deficiency. After further research, she discovered that fish oil could deplete the body of vitamin E, so she stopped giving the fish oil and started giving her dog vitamin E.

Within a week, her dog was completely sound and back to normal. Of course, millions of dog owners began to question the fish oil they were feeding their dogs.

We did too and here are our thoughts on the matter.

Isn’t Fish Oil Good For Dogs?

Well, that’s a loaded question. And the best answer we can give you is … maybe. It might be best to start at the beginning if we want to make sense of the fish oil debate.
Dietary fats are divided into three main categories: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). Most vegetable oils except palm oil, olive oil and coconut oil are high in PUFA while most animal fats are mostly composed of saturated and monounsaturated fat.

The main dietary PUFAs, omega-3 fat and omega-6 fat, aren’t metabolized by the body and need to be obtained from food. Not surprisingly, PUFAs usually contribute only a minor part of your dog’s fat tissues, while the majority is composed of saturated and monounsaturated fats, like most other mammals.

There aren’t many foods that contain omega-3 fats and they’re primarily found in the fat of cold water fish. Vegetable sources, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, aren’t easily converted to the critical components of omega-3: eicosapentaenoic acid, called EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA, so they’re not a great source of omega-3, especially for dogs.

Omega-6 fatty acids are mainly found in seeds and nuts, and the oils extracted from them.

Omega fatty acids are important to the body as it manufactures hormones from them. In general, the hormones derived from the two fatty acids have opposite effects. Those from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions.

So it’s important that both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and their respective families of hormones, are in balance to maintain optimum health.

Continue reading at Dogs Naturally Magazine.

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