In cats and dogs alike, this over-the-counter supplement can help strengthen their immune system and reduce inflammation.

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It's important to you that your pets lead healthier, happier lives. Whether you want veterinary advice, behavioral insight, or the best-in-market pet essentials that make every day more joyful, for both you and your cat or dog, The Well-Balanced Pet offers practical tips you can use.

Fish oil has many benefits for humans, but did you know that it can also be good for your pet? While the dose and administration of this supplement will be different from how you would take it, and it's recommended that you consult with your veterinarian, both cats and dogs can benefit from the nutrients and minerals naturally found in fish oil. "The top nutrients in fish oil typically include omega fatty acids, which are great for skin, joints, heart, and brain function," says Dr. Ryan Rucker, DVM and Zesty Paws spokesperson. "I generally use them for my dog and cat to help with skin and coat plus joint support, but they are also great for heart and brain function as well."

With Dr. Rucker's advice, here's what you need to know about this supplement.

woman feeding Siberian cat
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How to Administer Fish Oil

In general, fish oil is given to pets as a liquified addition to their food. "Pets often think it's a treat, although some may have an aversion to the fishy taste or smell. For those pets, soft chews are also available," Dr. Rucker says. "Fish oils are usually administered once daily." The amount that you give to your pet depends on their weight. For example, the Zesty Paws Pure Salmon Oil Skin & Coat Support Dog & Cat Supplement ($14.97, has a recommended dosage of a half pump for pets that weigh up to 12 1/2 pounds and one pump for those that weigh between 12 1/2 pounds and 25 pounds.

Choosing the Right Fish Oil

Not all products are created equal: According to Dr. Rucker, you want to look for fish oil supplements that come from wild and sustainably caught fish sources instead of farm-raised fish sources. Next, you should research the product and its ingredients to make sure that it does not have contaminants or impurities—or additional ingredients that may not agree with your cat or dog. Talking to your veterinarian is also recommended, especially if you have questions about your pet's overall state of health.

Health and Development Benefits of Fish Oil

The best ingredient for a fish oil supplement is wild Alaskan salmon, such as Zesty ($25.97, because it is rich in EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids. "These ingredients are the most sought after for overall health," says Dr. Rucker. Essential fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) support vision and neuron development, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body and can help alleviate problems related to heart disease and kidney disease. All three of these acids aid in the health of skin and coat for our furry family members.

Kittens and puppies benefit from the brain boost that fish oil gives them, and it helps them to grow and develop properly. For adult pets, the fatty acids can also aid in their reproductive health and overall physical condition. It has also been used to treat a variety of health problems, including some types of cancer in dogs. Your veterinarian can work with you to come up with a plan for your pet's health and show you how fish oil could benefit your animal companion.


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