Thursday February 22, 2018

What fish oil dosage is right for my dog?

Many pet owners choose to give their dog or cat fish oil supplements because the Omega 3 benefits them in many of the same ways that it does for humans. If you are planning to give fish oil to your dog or cat, your main concern in regards to dosage size is their weight. Since a dogs weight can range anywhere from 5 to over 200 pounds, its important to scale the amount to them. Depending on how picky of an eater your dog is, you may also find you have trouble getting them to eat the pill while other dogs will gulp a pill or two down with their food and not notice a difference.

Medium to Large breeds of dogs can generally take a single 1g capsule per day. For smaller breeds or cats, you may want to try poking a hole in the capsule and squirting about half of it on their food to start. Most cats will love this!

The important thing to keep an eye on in the beginning is their stool. If it gets really runny, scale back on the fish oil for a few days until their body becomes most used to it. It is easy to give them too much at once because you are using human sized pills.

Can I take fish oil if I’m allergic to fish?

With the use of fish oil supplements becoming more prevalent, people with fish or shellfish allergies are often left wondering whether they will be able to use a fish oil supplement. These supplements can be a great source of Omega 3’s which are difficult for them to come by otherwise.

The answer depends greatly on your specific allergy and also the quality of the fish oil you are planning to consume. Allergies are your body responding to a specific protein by releasing certain chemicals called histamines. So just because you are allergic to fish may not mean you are allergic to fish oil. In addition, some fish oil manufacturers claim to have protein-free fish oil due to special processing techniques.

The bottom line is to check with a medical professional, especially if your allergies are severe. He or she can give you a definitive answer so you don’t have to worry about breaking out in a rash 20 minutes after taking some fish oil.

How much fish oil should I take?

The amount of fish oil you should take should be based on the EPA and DHA levels in the fish oil, not on the total amount of fish oil.  Most good fish oil supplements will feature 18% EPA and 12% DHA which equals out to 180mg and 120mg respectively in a 1g tablet.  Based on these numbers, here are some dosage guidelines:

  • Adults 18+ with no history of heart disease: 2-3 tablets daily
  • Adults 18+ with coronary heart disease: The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends consuming 1g daily of both EPA and DHA.  This equates to about 5 tablets daily using the numbers above.
  • Adults 18+ with high cholesterol: The AHA recommends consuming 2-4g daily of EPA and DHA.  This equates to 10-20 tablets daily using the numbers above.
  • Children 18 and under: No established dosage for children, please consult a medical professional.

As usual, please consult a medical professional if you are currently taking any other medications.  Fish oil can increase the effectiveness of some medications, like blood thinning medicines.

You can download the complete American Heart Association study here.