FAQs About Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements
General Fish Oil Information:
Oil from fish contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); both are omega-3 fatty acids.
Q: Where is fish oil found?
EPA and DHA are found in mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, sablefish (black cod), anchovies, albacore tuna, and wild game. Our oil comes from fish caught wild in the pristine waters of Iceland.
Q: My dog food contains fish meal. Isn't that sufficient?
In many dog foods, the meat products come from corn-fed animals, and a variety of grains are used as fillers. Instead of natural oils from nuts, many dog food manufacturers use refined oils, like soybean oil, which are all high in omega-6. Your dog ends up with too much omega-6 and not nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids.The hormones in omega-6 increase inflammation and the immune response, blood clotting, and cell growth. Omega-3 balances the properties of omega-6 and acts as an anti-inflammatory in conditions like allergies, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases
Q: My dog already gets fish oil so why am I not seeing improvement?
A: Many dog owners are feeding their dog fish oil, but most dogs are not getting a high enough dose to make a difference. Start your dog on a dose calculated at EPA of 20 mg per lb body weight. There will be DHA in there too but you don't need to do any math on it.
Q: Is my 50 lb dog getting enough if it says 1000 mg of essential fatty acids on the label?
A: No! Many of the products say "1000 mg of EFAs" on the front of the bottle. The shorthand can be confusing because EFA sounds like EPA. Note that EFA stands for essential fatty acids, this includes EPA and DHA (which are both types of Omega 3 essential fatty acids). Be sure to read the label to see what is really in there. The fatty acids may be Omega 3, 6, or other miscellaneous ones.
Q: How do I figure out the dose?
A: Multiply your dogs weight in pounds by 20. For example, if your dog weighs 15 lbs, you multiply that by 20 mg/lb to get a target dose of 300 mg of EPA. Target dose for a 50 lb dog is 1000 mg of EPA. Target dose for a 100 lb dog is 2000 mg EPA. That is all the math you'll have to do! Don't worry about dose of DHA, it will be similar to the EPA.
Q: Does the ratio of EPA to DHA matter?
A: We do not know the exact ratios but research indicates that EPA has a stronger anti-inflammatory effect that DHA. For most of the conditions we treat in animals (digestive, skin, or joint issues) we want a fish oil that is higher in EPA than DHA.
Q: How long does it take to work?
A: After 3 weeks on that target dose, you should see signs of improvement such as reduced itchy skin, better digestion, reduced anxiety, or ease of movement in arthritic dogs. If you do not see improvements, you can double the dose.
Q: What about danger of overdose?
A: There is no toxicity but if you exceed the capacity to absorb it, the dog may get diarrhea. If this happens just lower the dose.
Q: Can I feed my dog the same fish oil that I am taking?
A: For small dogs less than 10 lbs you may find regular strength human fish oil capsules work well as these tend to have just under 200 mg EPA per dose. Be sure to read label carefully to find out if per dose amount takes two capsules or just one. For bigger dogs, particularly dogs over 50 lbs, you will need extra strength capsules unless you want to be feeding 10 or more pills per day. For high dose supplements, you will find various options under "extra strength fish oil". Willie's Choice Premium Omega-3 Fish Oil is wild caught, human grade pharmaceutical quality oil and tends to have higher concentrations per dose than the human products.
Note: For general health maintenance and most common health problems........start with fish oil. You may be familiar with popular supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, sea cucumber, cetyl myristoleate, microlactin, or herbal preparations. One or more of these may be indicated for your pet, in addition to fish oil.