Oil for dogs can be a valuable addition to your dog’s daily diet.
Both marine fish oils and vegetable oils (e.g. rapeseed oil) can be included in your dog’s diet.
If you want to enrich your dog’s diet with oil, you must remember that it is extremely calorific.
When feeding oil, we should dose it in moderation or choose foods with oil added, where the amount of calories from the oil has been factored into the total serving.
Carers often use various supplements to supplement their dog’s diet to best care for their pet. Among the most popular supplements given to the pet are unsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 and omega-6 family, derived from marine fish oil and vegetable oils. These ingredients can have many health-promoting properties. What effect does the addition of oil and unsaturated fatty acids have on the dog’s body? Is it worth feeding oil to your dog’s coat? Which oil will be the healthiest and how should it be administered?
Oil in a dog’s diet – what benefits can it bring?
The addition of oil to a dog’s diet is primarily a source of omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids. Their addition has many benefits for the dog’s entire body and can support a variety of health complaints. Among other things, dog oil can:
- alleviate the skin symptoms of food and contact allergies,
- support liver and kidney function
- reduce inflammation associated with many health complaints,
- boost your dog’s immune system,
- improve the appearance of the skin and coat and eliminate the formation of dandruff,
- support the functioning of the nervous system and have a positive effect on mood,
- reduce cholesterol levels,
- improve joint mobility in cases of arthritis or dysplasia,
- prevent the development of cancer.
Unsaturated fatty acids are also essential for the proper development of puppies. They support brain development and the learning process.
Which oil for your dog should you choose?
It is not true that only oils of animal origin are of value in the diet of a dog. The fatty acids contained in vegetable oils may be less digestible for your dog, but they are not completely devoid of value. Vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, olive oil or linseed oil also contain other nutrients that are valuable to your dog. Above all, vitamin E and vitamin K, and sometimes also small amounts of minerals. Which oil should you choose for your dog?
Marine fish oil, especially salmon oil, is a source of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids in the most digestible form for your pet. The high content of EPA and DHA fatty acids means that salmon oil has the most favourable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (as much as 17:1). Its administration can therefore not only improve the appearance of the coat and skin health. It can also balance the high omega-6 content of a dog’s daily diet and benefit the functioning of the entire body. Fish oil for dogs is also a source of vitamins E and D and omega-9 fatty acids.
Oil pressed from flax seeds also has a favourable ratio of unsaturated fatty acids (3:1). It contains more than 45% alpha-linolenic acid which has a beneficial effect on the dog’s circulatory system and also regulates blood pressure, relieves inflammation and has antioxidant properties. Linseed oil also contains vitamin E and plant sterols.
Refined, cold-pressed rapeseed oil is also a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, although it contains less of it than linseed oil – the ratio of omega-3 and -6 in rapeseed oil is approximately 1:3. However, it does contain other health-promoting compounds, such as cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, anti-cancer polyphenols and vitamins E, K and A. For this reason, rapeseed oil can be included in your dog’s diet.
Although olive oil will not enrich your dog’s diet with valuable omega-3 fatty acids (it only contains trace amounts), it can be a source of other health-promoting substances. This is because it contains vitamins E and K as well as anti-cancer phytosterols and terpenes with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Sunflower oil should not be added to a dog’s meal too often – the fat produced from sunflower seeds does not contain omega-3 fatty acids and is therefore devoid of their health-promoting properties. However, it is an excellent source of vitamin E and, like any oil, has a positive effect on the appearance of your pet’s coat.
Other oils for your dog
Some oils, such as thistle oil, grapeseed oil, pumpkin oil or nigella oil, can also have their uses in your dog’s diet. They contain not only vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids (including the valuable gamma-linolenic acid), but also various health-promoting components such as phytosterols and tannins with purifying, anticancer and liver-supporting effects. However, it is important to remember that not all vegetable oils will have the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids, so they should not be used too often in your dog’s diet.
Castor oil and paraffin oil (paraffin), on the other hand, can help with constipation in your dog. However, if you wish to give your dog oil for constipation, you should first consult your vet and determine the cause of your pet’s constipation.
Oil in dog nutrition – what else should you bear in mind?
When choosing oil for your dog, you should pay attention not only to the type of oil but also to the packaging. Oil should be sold in dark glass bottles, which will protect the fats it contains from sunlight. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also oxidise when they come into contact with air. Therefore, the packaging of the oil should have an airtight seal or a pump, which, by the way, makes dosing easier. The oil used in the diet should also be protected from high temperatures and stored in the refrigerator after opening. All oils for your dog should be given cold.
How much oil can be given to a dog?
When giving your dog oil, it is important to remember that it is fat – any type of oil is extremely high in calories. Regularly feeding a large amount of oil to your dog will therefore cause overweight and obesity. Conversely, a single excess of fat in your pet’s bowl can cause diarrhoea and pancreatitis. Therefore, when including vegetable or fish oils in your dog’s diet, we must start with small amounts and closely monitor your pet’s reactions.
The label of the oil for your dog will list the dosage depending on the size of your pet. If we want to give our dog oil from the grocery shop, we should keep it in moderation. Small and miniature dogs can be given just a few drops of oil. For medium-sized pets, a maximum of half a teaspoon. For large dogs, a whole teaspoon of oil a day. We can also choose a dog food that already has added oil in its composition. In this way, there is no risk of overdosing on oil and our dog will benefit from the health-promoting properties of oil at every meal.
Bottom line – what should you keep in mind when choosing oil for your dog?
Oil can be a valuable addition to the daily diet. The unsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 and omega-6 family contained in it have many health-promoting properties. Your dog’s diet can include both marine fish oils – in particular, salmon as a source of EPA and DHA – and vegetable oils.
When choosing an oil, we should pay attention to its packaging. A dark glass bottle secured with a tight cap or a pump will protect valuable ingredients from the harmful effects of sunlight and oxygen. If we want to enrich the dog’s diet with oil, we must remember that it is extremely calorific. In addition, too much oil can result not only in obesity but also diarrhoea and pancreatitis. Therefore, when giving oil to your pet, you should dose it in moderation or choose food with oil in it.