Salmon oil for dogs is a fantastic health supplement for your canine companion. Both pups and older doggos can benefit greatly from this fish oil that is packed with beneficial nutrients like omega fatty acids. Salmon is also a perfect source for healthy protein. 

As the name suggests, salmon oil is extracted from salmon fish. This type of fish is generally found in cold water, mostly in the areas of the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Alaskan salmon in particular is quite popular!

Due to the fact that they live in cold waters, and because they make long journeys, salmon are fatty fish. This means that the bodies of these fish are uniquely adapted for storing high fat concentrations, but fortunately, it’s the good kind of fat! In fact, the unsaturated fats found in salmon are commonly used in people to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and even build stronger cell membranes in the body. 

Salmon oil has also become popular among pet parents, who are using it for their dogs for any number of reasons: to support a healthy immune system and healthy skin, to promote heart health, and to support cognitive function--just to name a few benefits!  

Continue reading to find out what salmon oil can do for your fur-friend and what you need to look out for when purchasing a high-quality salmon oil supplement. 

Salmon Oil vs. Fish Oil

Salmon oil and fish oil are similar, but there are some differences to be aware of. Both are sources of EPA and DHA, which are omega 3 fats, but for the most part, their similarities end there. 

Fish oil is the oil derived from the tissues of oily fish and is usually extracted from fish types like tuna, herring, sardine, anchovies, and mackerel, among others. Even the fish oil from these fish types is still rich in omega-3 fatty acids, however, which have proven to be very beneficial for the body. 

Salmon oil, on the other hand, is solely extracted from salmon fish. Salmon oil typically comes from salmon like Alaskan salmon. Also, omega 3 concentrations are higher in salmon oil than in other fish oils. 

Something to be aware of when you’re shopping for salmon oil and/or fish oil supplements is the matter of water pollution. Due to the fact that the world’s oceans are becoming ever-increasingly polluted, fish meat and fish oil supplements may not be as healthy as some pet parents hope them to be. That’s why it’s imperative that dog owners do their due diligence when it comes to researching salmon oil and fish oil brands in order to find a premium quality source of omega-3s for their four-legged friend. 

In this article, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about finding the perfect salmon oil supplement for your pet, so that you can have peace of mind that your doggo is enjoying all the benefits of this amazing holistic option! 

What are Essential Fatty Acids?

From cod liver oil to salmon oil, fish oil itself has been a craze that first gained a lot of popularity in the 1990s because of the overwhelming desire for low-fat diets. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that low-fat diets weren’t necessarily the best option. In fact, scientists quickly discovered that low-fat diets can be very detrimental to our health! Why? Because it turns out we need healthy fats to survive! 

Of course, most of us have been taught to think of fats as bad, so let’s break down exactly what these fats are and what they do for your pup! 

There are two types of fats: facilitative and functional. 

Facilitative fats are saturated fats that enhance the taste of pet food, provide calories and energy, and help with digestion and vitamin absorption.Facilitative fats often get a bad rap. In truth, though, they are dangerous only if they’re consumed in large amounts.

Functional fats, which are sometimes essential fatty acids (EFA), are exactly what they sound like: fats needed for healthy body function. Pets are unable to produce these fats on their own, which is where dog owners come into play. A salmon oil dietary supplement can be a great addition to your dog’s food because it provides functional fats to your dog’s healthcare regime.  

Now let’s take a closer look at essential fatty acids (EFAs).  

There are two types of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6. Your pup needs each essential fatty acid in certain amounts for healthy living.

Omega–3 for Dogs

The following are examples of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

  • Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)

Omega–6 for Dogs

The following are examples of omega-6 fatty acids:

  • Arachidonic acid (AA)

  • Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA)

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

  • Linolenic acid (LA)

Although omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are both valuable fatty acids to add to your dog’s healthcare plan, we are going to expound upon omega-3s in particular, because that’s where fish oil enters the picture.

Omega 3 Fish Oil Benefits

There’s a reason why oils like salmon oil and fish oil in general are revered for their wonderful health benefits. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are an important part of maintaining a healthy immune system. 

And as mentioned previously, fish oils like salmon oil contain a lot of omega-3s. 

Here are just some of the ways in which these oils can benefit your canine friend.

Cardiovascular Health

Omega-3 fatty acids can help to support cardiovascular health. 

The cardiovascular system in people and in animals is made up of your heart, blood vessels, and blood. The blood is particularly important since it contains oxygen and other nutrients that we all need to survive. 

Some research has shown that in people, salmon oil may help with blood flow, which means better oxygen delivery in the body. 

Salmon oil is also great for promoting heart health, which is especially beneficial for aging dogs.  

Neurological Health & Cognitive Function

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to enhance your dog’s brain function. 

In fact, several studies have reported that, compared with puppies not given an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, those given the supplement were significantly better at learning new tricks and commands.

Skin Health

The omega-3s in salmon oil can maintain the health of your dog’s skin and can also provide support for animals with sensitive skin. 

Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain normal inflammatory pathways, which may help with skin reactions. 

Kidney Health

The kidneys are an important part of your dog’s body. They remove waste and extra water from the body and also maintain the body’s balance of chemicals like calcium, sodium, and potassium. 

Salmon oil can help promote kidney health, as omega-3s support normal renal function in dogs.

Bone and Joint Health

Sometimes, especially in older dogs, our canine friends can experience discomfort associated with normal aging or with normal daily exercise and activity. 

Salmon oil is a great holistic option to turn to in these cases, considering the mounting evidence that omega-3 supplementation can support connective tissue health as well as bone and joint health.

Other Benefits 

Omega-3s can also help to maintain normal eye function and is a great option to turn to in supporting liver health. 

In addition to this, salmon oil and other fish oil types can help maintain a normal inflammatory response in dogs, which is especially great for dogs who may deal with occasional discomfort at times.    

How to Choose the Best Salmon Oil for Dogs 

If you choose to give your dog a salmon oil supplement, there are several things you should be aware of to ensure salmon oil quality.

Types of Fish Oil Forms

Dog owners should first know that fish oil can come in three forms.

Natural Triglyceride 

Natural triglyceride oil is the most natural and easiest for the body to absorb. 

However, it is not purified and may contain contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), which are highly toxic industrial compounds. 

Synthetic Triglyceride 

Synthetic triglyceride oil is—you guessed it—synthetic. 

Therefore, it absorbs the least easily of the three types of fish oil on the market. We highly recommend avoiding this type of fish oil.

Ethyl Ester 

Ethyl ester oil is concentrated and distilled and thus has no impurities. 

Therefore, it is semi-natural with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, ethyl ester oil has two types of omega-3s: DHA and EPA.

Most clinical studies have used ethyl ester oil when exploring the benefits of omega-3s. Ideally, this is the type of fish oil your product should contain. 

Certificate of Analysis 

Pet parents who’ve purchased CBD for their dogs or cats before will no doubt be familiar with the concept of a Certificate of Analysis (COA). 

A Certificate of Analysis is an authenticated document issued by the third-party lab that tested the product in question. (Sometimes, the analysis can be conducted by an in-house quality assurance team, but it’s recommended to opt for third-party lab testing to ensure total transparency in test results). 

Essentially, a COA includes the results of all of the necessary testing performed on the product as part of quality control. The COA will not only assure you that you’re getting the best salmon oil possible, but it will also detail exactly what’s in your salmon oil as well as how the oil tested when it came to contaminants, mercury poisoning, and heavy metals. 

Dog owners should always ask for a COA from the manufacturer when purchasing any salmon oil supplement, and any reputable company should have no problem in providing one. 

Wild Caught Fish 

Another thing to look for when shopping for salmon oil is whether the fish from which the oil was derived was farm raised or wild caught. Only purchase salmon oil and other fish oil products that have been derived from wild caught fish. 

Studies have repeatedly concluded that farmed salmon might contain hazardous levels of PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin (a pesticide), and toxaphene (an insecticide). 

Additionally, the quality of life and living conditions of farmed fish leaves much to be desired.

Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing 

When purchasing any fish oil product, pet parents will want to ensure that their product of choice has been both ethically and sustainably sourced

Salmon oil manufacturers that pride themselves on ethical and sustainable sourcing are committed to not causing pollution and not using more resources than necessary, especially when it can have negative impacts on marine life. These eco-friendly companies do everything they can to keep ecosystems thriving and avoid harming the planet as much as possible. 

As an animal lover, it’s more than likely you share these values when it comes to protecting the environment and all its creatures, so opting for ethically and sustainably sourced salmon oil is a great way to give your dog the best while also ensuring Mother Nature is at her best. 

Avoid Ethanol 

Finally, dog owners must ensure that they are avoiding salmon oil that was processed using ethanol.

Ethanol is sometimes used as a cheap method of salmon oil processing and can cause your pup to have some very serious health issues. 

Luckily, there are ways to check the ethanol levels at home. Simply pour a small amount of the fish oil into a styrofoam cup. If the oil eats through the cup in less than 30 minutes, it’s likely that it contains ethanol.

Knowledge is Power!

Whenever you plan to add any supplement to your dog’s healthcare regime, it’s absolutely essential that you do your homework and learn all that you can about the supplement’s potential benefits and the many ways in which you can ensure you’re purchasing a quality product. 

By understanding what makes one product better than the next, you can feel confident in what you are purchasing and giving to your four-legged friend.

This is especially true for salmon oil and all fish oil products that you may purchase. It cannot be stressed enough: make sure you are buying from a reputable company and that you are getting the best product available for your pup. 

Salmon Oil for Dogs Dosage

If you choose to add a salmon oil supplement to your dog's daily routine, there’s good news: you likely won’t have to pry your pup’s mouth open and force them to swallow a pill.

Most companies have gotten the memo that a salmon oil capsule and your fur-buddy typically don’t go together. That’s why many salmon oil for dogs products are now available in an easy-to-use liquid form. The liquid can easily be administered at mealtime, taking the headache out of giving your dog health supplements.

The dosage of salmon oil will ultimately depend on your dog’s weight. Many experts agree that instead of following the guidelines listed on the container, you should ask your vet how much salmon oil is necessary for your dog’s individual health needs.

Generally, the recommended dosage is as follows:

0-26lbs: 4ml

27-53lbs: 8ml

54-106lbs: 12ml

107lbs+: 16ml

Additionally, as with any supplement, be sure to ease your dog into taking salmon oil. You may consider only offering your pup half the recommended dosage for a few days to make sure he has no adverse reactions. Then, you can gradually increase the amount of salmon oil he consumes until you’ve reached the full dosage. 

Storing Salmon Oil

Salmon oil needs protection from heat, light, and air. 

If you do choose to purchase salmon oil, buy a product that comes in a dark, airtight container and store it in the fridge. In fact, some products will feature a unique pump that does not allow oxygen back into the oil. 

Additionally, due to its susceptibility to oxidation, salmon oil can become rancid if not stored properly. If the fish oil has any sort of “off” smell, throw it away immediately. 

Alternatives to Salmon Oil for Dogs

Salmon oil for dogs provides necessary EFAs like omega-3s, which can have amazing potential health benefits. These healthy omega fatty acids can support heart health, maintain a healthy immune system, and promote healthy cognitive function. 

When exploring fish oil options, pet parents will most likely come across a host of alternatives to salmon oil. Some of the most popular alternatives are detailed below. 


It may surprise pet owners to learn that fish aren’t naturally born with high levels of omega-3. Instead, they get it through their food source, which provides them with the necessary nutrients. That source is known as phytoplankton, which are the tiny bundles of algae and bacteria that help sustain the entire ocean.

Zooplankton (small organisms that live in bodies of water) consume the phytoplankton, and then fish eat the phytoplankton by eating the zooplankton.

This is how omega-3 travels through the food chain and reaches the fish that we turn into salmon oil supplements.

Why phytoplankton is so great...

Phytoplankton is a whole food, meaning that your pup’s digestive tract doesn’t need to digest it first before absorbing all of its nutrients. For dogs with digestive issues, phytoplankton is a great way to get the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

This is a major benefit over phytoplankton from plant sources of omega-3 fats, which are much harder for your dog to digest and to convert into energy. Additionally, phytoplankton can grow in controlled, filtered water farm environments.

While fish derived from farming environments should be avoided, when it comes to phytoplankton, farm raising means that the omega-3 source doesn’t contain heavy metals, radiation, or toxins.

Of particular note is the fact that phytoplankton contains a powerful antioxidant known as superoxide dismutase, which can help with oxidative stress in the body. 

Again, phytoplankton is a great option for dogs with digestive issues, as your pup can absorb all its nutrients without digesting it first. 

Krill Oil

Chances are you might’ve heard of krill oil before. If not, you’re bound to come across the subject of krill oil while researching potential salmon oil products for your pup. 

Krill oil is derived from krill, small crustaceans that have the appearance of shrimp. 

Like salmon oil, krill oil provides your dog with a quality source of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. As such, krill oil can support skin health, joint health, and normal renal function. 

Keep in mind, however, that salmon oil products for dogs will typically contain much higher amounts of omega-3s for the simple reason that salmon contains higher concentrations of this fatty acid in comparison to other fish types. 

It’s also important to note that in some cases, krill is not ethically and sustainably sourced. Experts have estimated that krill populations have dropped by 80% since the mid-1970s. Considering krill is the main food source for many types of marine life, especially the baleen whale, this can have negative impacts on entire ecosystems. This is one of the many reasons why it’s crucial to do as much research about the companies you purchase from as possible. 

CBD Oil for Dogs 

When it comes to supporting your dog’s immune system, CBD oil specially formulated for our four-legged friends is becoming an increasingly popular holistic option

CBD, short for “cannabidiol,” is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has two varieties: the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. As long as your pet’s CBD is derived from the hemp plant, your dog won’t get high but will still be able to enjoy the many potential health benefits of cannabis. 

CBD can support healthy bones and joints, support your pup’s immune system and cognitive function, promote relaxation, and help with occasional discomfort--just to name a few of the reasons more and more pet parents are turning to CBD every day! 

Salmon Oil for Dogs: A Final Thought

It’s no surprise that so many dog owners interested in holistic wellness are turning to salmon oil to help support their pup’s health. 

Salmon oil for dogs can support cardiovascular health, cognitive function, neurological health, skin health, kidney health, bone and joint health...the list truly goes on!

The important thing for pet parents to remember, though, is that not all salmon oil for dogs is created equally.

As you begin exploring options and narrowing your choices down to the perfect fish oil for your four-legged friend, remember to ensure your salmon oil is derived from wild caught fish, that the company you do business with practices ethical and sustainable sourcing, and that you're able to view a Certificate of Analysis, which can ensure the quality and safety of the product you're giving your dog. 

Following these guidelines will help you select a salmon oil for your dog that is of the highest quality, which you and your pup will both be happier for! 

Salmon Oil for Dogs FAQs

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