Fish Oil for Dogs

The Ultimate Guide to FIsh Oil for Dogs

Flaxseed Oil vs. Fish Oil

flaxseed oil vs. fish oil

Flaxseed oil is a common source for omega-3 and omega-6 in dog food and dog treats. Some would argue that flaxseed is an excellent vegetarian source for omega-3. In this article we discuss the pros and cons of flaxseed oil vs fish oil for your dog.

The Case for Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed Oil for Dogs : Pros

Flaxseed Oil for Dogs : Cons

Flax seed oil may be rich in Omega-3, however, the Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil are the inactiveform (ALA). In order to convert flaxseed's ALA into a usable form of Omega-3 for a dog, your dog must produce a specific enzyme in his body. Most dogs, like all carnivores, do not produce the enzyme needed to convert flaxseed oil ALA to EPA and DHA. Therefore, the benefits for flaxseed oil are diminished in dogs. For this reason, we only recommend fish oil for dogs as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed Oil for Dogs with Fish Oil Allergies

Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of a dog's diet, especially dogs with allergies. The best source of Omega-3 acids, such as EPA and DHA, are from fish oil. Although rare, some dogs may have allergies to fish, which limits their Omega-3 fatty acid intake to flaxseed oil. In the case of a fish allergy in dogs, we recommend using flaxseed oil in tandem with a digestive enzyme supplement containing desaturase and elongase. By giving your dog digestive enzymes each time you give him flaxseed oil, you will ensure proper conversion of the inactive ALA to active EPA and DHA, and all the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids will be available to your dog. There are several quality brands of flaxseed oil available online to choose from for your dog. Solid Gold brand carries a liquid flaxseed oil for pets, however it does not address the digestion issue of ALA.

Although flaxseed oil does not seem to be as beneficial to dogs with inflammatory diseases according to recent research, in a recent human study, increased supplementation of ALA from flaxseed oil was found to slightly increase the levels of EPA only. DHA levels were not shown to increase with flaxseed oil supplementation. With this research in mind, there may be some limited benefits that dogs can obtain from flaxseed oil supplementation in the case of a dog with fish allergies.

Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil : Results

After weighing the pros and cons to flaxseed oil vs fish oil for dogs, the clear decision is fish oil over flaxseed for dogs that are not allergic to fish oil. See our recommended fish oil for dogs.


Barcelo-Coblijn G, et al. Flaxseed oil and fish-oil capsule consumption alters human red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid composition: a multiple-dosing trial comparing 2 sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 88(3): 801-9.

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Flaxseed Oil vs. Fish Oil

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