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Bombshell About Salmon Oil for Dogs and Other Healthy Alternatives

Rodrigo has itchy paws.  I followed the advice of our veterinarian and started giving him Benedryl (1mg x his weight), but it can’t be good to feed him this on a daily basis.  I have hay fever and I'm not a fan of how Benedryl makes me feel; why would I subject our dog to those feelings.  So I started researching alternatives.

I found a fantastic video by Dr. Karen Becker that helped provide him with some relief.

Today, we wash off Rodrigo’s paws daily, wiping them with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, and they don’t seem to bother him anymore.  Another thing I read was that salmon oil for dogs is great for itchy skin and it’s also great for our dogs’ coats.  What I wasn't prepared for were the pros and cons of Salmon oil.

Types of Oils for a Dog's Diet

When researching the health benefits of salmon oil for dogs, I was surprised to find out that salmon oil isn’t the only options.  Our options include

  • Fish Oil
  • Salmon Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Krill Oil

Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil for Dogs

I add Bonnie & Clyde fish oil to our dogs' diet.  Many people believe fish oil is inferior to salmon oil, but this isn't the case.  When comparing Bonnie & Clyde fish oil (made with herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines) to salmon oil for dogs, you'll find these differences in the EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids (something many people don't realize):

  • EPA and DHA in a teaspoon of Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil: 690mg EPA and 460mg DHA
  • EPA and DHA in a teaspoon of Salmon Oil: 480mg EPA 500mg DHA

Bonnie & Clyde fish oil is the best omega-3 oil on the market for dogs.  It's concentrated (so a little goes a long way), it doesn't have a fishy smell, and it has vitamin E that is naturally sourced from sunflowers (so we don't have to worry about deficiencies).

Benefits of Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil for Dogs

  • Improves skin and coat health
  • Improves joint health
  • Improves digestive health
  • Improves cognitive functions

Downsides of Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil for Dogs

If you feed too much, your dog might get diarrhea.  Otherwise, there are no downsides to this product that I've experienced with my dogs.

Salmon Oil for Dogs

Salmon oil is touted to be great for our dogs' coats, skin allergies, and joint problems.  Sounds great!

Joe Craven, a fellow writer (, raises show dogs and took the time to enlighten me about the pros and cons of salmon oil.  He regularly gives his dogs salmon oil, because there are so many health benefits.  Together, we were able to find the benefits and downsides to salmon oil and being new to the product, I was pretty surprised by the downsides.

Benefits of Salmon Oil for Dogs

  • Improve the coat and skin condition of the dog, make it soft and shiny.
  • It helps in producing more collagen
  • It helps to prevent skin allergies
  • Dosage of about 1000 mg per 10 lbs of dog weight can prevent arthritis
  • Fish oil is useful in the treatment of kidney problems (frequent urination, loss of appetite)
  • Appearance of joint problems, like arthritis, is lessened.
  • Salmon oil helps alleviate inflammation, fights heart disease, and prevents renal disease.
  • It’s preventative against cancer.

Downsides of Salmon Oil for Dogs

After more than a year adding salmon oil to our dogs' food, our dogs haven't experienced any of these “downsides.”

  • Weight gain; this can be managed with a healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Bad breath (it is salmon oil); this can be resolved by regularly cleaning their teeth
  • Stomach pain, dizziness, and nausea; not all dogs have this reaction, but you should watch your dog to be sure that s/he is compatible with salmon oil
  • Loose stool and diarrhea; it’s not clear if this is lasting, but it could be a sign that your dog isn’t taking to the salmon oil well

Salmon oil can go bad and you want to pay attention to a use by date on the bottle to make sure that you’re not feeding your dog expired oil.  I store our salmon oil in the fridge.

Salmon Oil I Recommend

I'm very careful about the salmon oil that I give to my dogs because of the toxins in the oceans.  I only trust a couple of brands.

Olive Oil for Dogs

Carol Firenze is the author of the book – The Passionate Olive – 101 Thing to do with Olive Oil.  She wrote a chapter for pet owners and shared the following benefits of drizzling olive oil on their food:

On the Inside…Internal

  • Shine your Pet’s Coat & Keep your Pet Healthy
  • To Slow Down the Shedding Process
  • Prevent “Hairballs” in Cats

On the Outside…External

  • Massage your Pet
  • Remove Ticks
  • Soothe Ears
  • Lubricate the Skin on Your Pet’s Nose
  • Lubricate your Dog’s Paws
  • Give your Pet a Pedicure
  • Remove “Ice Balls” from an Animal‘s Hair or Paws

I've read that some dog owners give their dogs sardines in olive oil as a treat.  I've also read that olive oil can be harmful to dogs, but this was on a site that promoted krill oil so I'm uncertain of the validity of the statement. See what I mean about the pros and cons?

The only common warning that I found is that if a dog has a health issue that is prompting dog owners to use olive oil, be sure to check with your vet first because olive oil doesn't cure everything and the issue may be something that does require medical attention.

Olive oil is also high in calories so it's not something I'm comfortable giving our dogs on a regular basis.

Coconut Oil for Dogs

Jennifer Kehres was kind enough to enlighten me about Coconut Oil, which she gives regularly to her dog and I would not have considered as an option.  “Our gluten-free, dairy-free, coconut oil loving Shih Tzu loves it! Coconut oil helps prevent and reduce itchiness and is good for her overall health too.” ~ Jennifer Kehres

Coconut oil isn't an alternative to fish oil.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

  • Reduces pet allergies and clears up skin conditions
  • Improves digestion and reduces “doggie breath”
  • Aids in arthritis or ligament problems

I've also learned that coconut oil,

  • If applied topically, treats and aids faster healing of wounds
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections
  • Helps prevent or control diabetes
  • Helps to reduce weight and increase energy

But is coconut oil healthy?  Coconut oil gets a bad rap, “because its main component is saturated fat,” which seems to contradict the claim that it helps to reduce weight.  Holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker says “I recommend 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily.”  

Before you run to the store to get coconut oil, please read this post that I wrote about coconut oil: Stop Feeding Your Dog Coconut Oil.

Coconut Oil I Recommend

Krill Oil for Dogs

Krill oil is derived from shellfish and contains the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA along antioxidants.  I read that some feel that Krill Oil is superior to salmon oil partly because it’s easy for our bodies to absorb it allowing it to do more good.  In fact, there is a site devoted to promoting krill oil.

Benefits of Krill Oil for Dogs

  • Effective in weight loss
  • No fishy after taste
  • Longer shelf life than salmon oil
  • More easily aborbed into the body, so you don’t need as much

Downsides of Krill Oil for Dogs

  • More expensive
  • Not for animals (or people) who are allergic to shell fish.  I have no idea if our dogs have shell fish allergies either.

You can read more about the Difference Between Krill Oil and Salmon Oil HERE: Krill Oil vs Fish Oil: Which Is Better for You? |  And like with the other oil options mentioned here, double check with your veterinarian, before adding krill oil to your dog's diet.

Krill Oil I Recommend

Whether your dog is on a raw or kibble diet, I think a quality Omega-3 oil is beneficial.  I recommend products that are specifically made for dogs so that you can know that the serving amount is correct.

Read More About Supplements for Dogs

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