Did you know your dog’s epidermis is replaced approximately every 22 days?
That means if you have an itchy dog, you could potentially start to see improvements in their skin in under a month after you begin to feed food that reduces inflammation.
And that’s where omega-3’s enter the picture.
Importance of Omega-3
There’s no doubt that omega-3 is absolutely vital to your dog’s overall health. Omega-3 balances out the Omega-6 and is the foundation for your dog having healthier fur, skin, hearts, joints, and immune systems.
It’s just as important to have a balance between the two. Omega 6 has vital nutritional benefits but for the purpose of this article we will only focus on omega-3s.
There are five different forms of omega-3 below.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and must be fed to your dog because it cannot be synthesized by their bodies.
Omega-3 is best known for its ability to reduce inflammation. Feeding omega-3 can provide itchy and rashy dogs relief.
Typically most dog parents turn to feeding fresh oily fish or fish oil to source omega-3.
Fish oil may be consumed by eating fish, extracted directly, or concentrated and put in capsule form. Active ingredients that have studies behind them are omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]).
But what do you do if your dog is allergic to fresh fish and fish oil?
Luckily there are fish oil substitutes.
What is it? Ahiflower oil is a vegan oil that is fast becoming a favored alternative to fish oil and flaxseed oil.
And it’s been hailed as one of the cleanest vegan fish oil alternatives.
What is it made from? Ahiflower is the flowering plant of the corn gromwell plant, normally found in the United Kingdom.
What sets this oil apart from other omega-3 sources? As a plant source, it contains more SDA, which can be converted to EPA and DPA, and this conversion is more efficient than ALA. Therefore, fans of Ahiflower oil say that it’s better than other plant-based options.
What is it lacking? EPA and DHA which is only found in animal products.
Where to buy: Safe-Sea – Green Lipped Mussel Oil With Ahiflower
Why I like this brand: It’s by Dog’s Naturally, a trusted thought leader in dog nutrition. It also has green-lipped mussel oil as well as astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant and is a type of carotenoid, a natural pigment found in various foods. In particular, this beneficial pigment lends its vibrant red-orange color to foods like krill, algae, salmon, and lobster
Some other considerations: Ahiflower contains 60% more GLA than hemp seed oil, making it the best plant-based source of omega fats.
Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associates or other programs I participate in). At no charge to you, as an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Calamari (Squid) Oil
What is it? It’s the newcomer to the omega-3 space and celebrated as the latest breakthrough.
What is it made from? Calamari or squid
What sets this oil apart from other omega-3 sources? Calamari oil contains more omega-3 fatty acids than krill oil or fish oil on a gram for gram basis.
What is it lacking? It’s deficient in GLA and ETA
Where to buy: Standard Process Calamari Omega-3 Liquid
Why I like this brand: Standard Process is one of the best brands for holistic supplements.
Some other considerations: Calamari populations have been growing because there have been fewer fish feeding on them (due to the fish population decreasing because of overfishing).
Some dogs can take calamari oil even though they have a fish allergy. If you choose to feed your dog this oil, be sure to feed 1/4 of the dosage the first time.
Green Lipped Mussel Oil
What is it? It is a marine-based oil.
What is it made from? Green-lipped mussels
What sets this oil apart from other omega-3 sources? In addition to being packed with omega-3 fatty acids, it is also great for its bone tissue and cartilage strengthening properties which help with inflammation of the joints.
It is also rich in magnesium and zinc, which are cofactors for converting omega-3 fats.
Green-lipped mussels are rich in ETA, which isn’t found in significant amounts in other oils. New studies show that ETA has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
What is it lacking? Nothing
Where to buy: Haka Life Nutrition Green Lipped Mussel Oil for Dogs
Why I like this brand: They claim to be 247x more effective than salmon oil, and 158x more effective than fish oil.
Some other considerations: Green-lipped mussels eat phytoplankton which can be sustainably grown.
Some dogs can take green-lipped mussel oil even though they have a fish allergy. If you choose to feed your dog this oil, be sure to feed 1/4 of the dosage the first time.
What is it? A marine-based oil
What is it made from? Krill are decapod crustaceans that feed on phytoplankton.
What sets this oil apart from other omega-3 sources?
What is it lacking? It’s low in ETA and has no GLA oil.
Why I like this brand: It also has Astaxanthin
One thing to note is that krill is the food source for fish, penguins, and whales. There is concern that if we overharvest krill, we impact the species that rely on them for food.
Some dogs can take krill oil even though they have a fish allergy. If you choose to feed your dog this oil, be sure to feed 1/4 of the dosage the first time.
What is it? Plant-based – powder
What is it made from? Algae
What sets this oil apart from other omega-3 sources? Because fish feed on phytoplankton, fans of this type of fish oil claim that you are feeding omega-3 from the source.
What is it lacking? It is said that phytoplankton may have a lower concentration of DPA, and EPA.
Why I like this brand: The algea is produced sustainably in inland alge farms. No arable land or scarce freshwater is needed to produce the microalgae. Only natural daylight is used in production. The result is a 100% pure, natural, and vegan product that contributes to a healthy body and mind and a healthy and sustainable planet.
Some other considerations: It’s difficult to find out exactly how much EPA and DHA are in phytoplankton vs. fish oil. This is because phytoplankton is a newcomer to the omega-3 scene.
On the one hand some articles point to phytoplankton having less EPA and DHA, while others claim that phytoplankton provides the most bioavailable and purest form of omega-3 EPA.
When dogs are allergic to fish or marine oil, phytoplankton is the other alternative for them.
Dogs absolutely need to add omega-3 into their diet either by feeding fresh fish (raw or cooked) or adding an omega-3 oil.
While most dogs can comfortably consume fish oil, some cannot because they are allergic, and fish oil gives them hives, makes them break out, or makes them itchy.
In that case, the substitutes are to try plant-based oil like ahiflower or phytoplankton.
Some dogs are able to be fed other marine oil like green-lipped mussels or krill. If you try these options, be sure to feed 1/4 of the dosage the first time.
One final recommendation is to find several brands to rotate your source for omega-3 oil from. It’s always good to rotate everything you feed your dog, even if it’s the brand of supplements you choose.
Omega 3 vs Omega 6 for prevention and treatment of inflammatory skin disease.