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My Dog Is Allergic To Fish Oil. What Can I Use As A Substitute?

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.  

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.  

Ahiflower Oil – With Astaxanthin

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.  
While Ahi Flower is an alternative it does not have adequate levels of EPA and DHA but if your dog cannot have marine source of OMEGA 3 – then know that by using this your dog won’t get the levels of EPA and DHA it needs.

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.  

If your dog is also allergic to shellfish, or has yeast I would NOT use this oil.

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.  

Ahiflower Oil – Vegan – No Marine Fish Ingredients

I would only recommend this oil if your dog cannot have fish oil, algae derived oil, calamari or squid oil.

This Ahi-flower oil is vegan/plant-based and only fed to dogs that cannot have any other marine-based oil.

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.   

Krill Oil

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.  

Where to buy: Antarctic Krill Oil 2000 mg 120 Softgels | Omega-3 EPA, DHA, with Astaxanthin

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. 

Where to buy: Marine Phytoplankton Omega 3 EPA Non-Fish Oil Vegetarian Superfood Powder for Dogs & Cats for Healthy Skin & Overall Health

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.  

Closing Thoughts

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.  

Keep in mind plant-based Omega 3 does not have adequate levels of the Omega 3 rich in DHA and EPA.

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.  


ETA Oil:



Omega 3 vs Omega 6 for prevention and treatment of inflammatory skin disease. 


Ahiflower benefits:



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  1. Eva

    So I have a blue put and his back is losing hair, spots like..
    He had a. Allergies rest and us allergic to fish.. others are outside allergies..what would be the best oil for him? He’s 3

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      Hello Eva. If he is allergic to fish and all other marine based oils, then he can do a pure Ahiflower oil:

      I just updated the article with a link to a pure vegan/ahiflower oil.

      That said – just adding an oil rarely fixes an allergy. If he is losing fur, there are other imbalances going on and I’d look closer at the diet and what other herbs to help him. A good TCVM vet can help you or you can book a zoom with me as well. Good luck with your pup – hope he gets better soon.

  2. Kimberly

    Love the way you presented the information here! I’m thankful I found you so quickly in my research. I’ve ordered 2 different oils to rotate them with my dog. I have a German shepherd with extremely itchy feet. A sensitivity test showed he has a salmon sensitivity. I have a good feeling that your information will be a big help to my big guy’s problem!

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      Glad to hear the article helped. If his feet continue to be itchy – watch his eyes. If his eyes and tear production increases coupled with being restless at night – his liver might be out of balance. Then you can add some dark leafy green toppers and milk thistle and that may help. Wishing you and your pup health and wellness.

  3. Lilly

    I am looking for some kind of joint supplement without fish oil or any kind of fish in it. Is there any out there? I can’t seem to find any. Or even a recipe.

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      Hello Lilly – I didn’t catch your comment the first time.

      The only non fish oil joint supplement I can recommend is by Gold Standard Herbs. Click through and look at their Voltrex or Lumbrex supplements. One is for the hips, knees and spinal cord, the other is for the back, hind leg and. discs. I think you can use DAILY and that might get you 5% off. Not sure if that is still active. Good luck.

  4. Andrea

    Can you explain why you wouldn’t use safe sea for dogs with yeast issue? Thank you

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      Hello and thank you for reading the article. I avoid shellfish for all dogs with yeast issues until the yeast is resolved . And this supplement has green lipped mussels which might delay the yeast from being resolved. Hope that answers your question.

  5. Christina

    Hi, thanks so much for this article! I’m happy to find your site… I have a 2yo Tibetan Terrier X Mini Schnauzer and he has been very itchy lately. He has tested for a sensitivity to fish oil, but shows no sensitivity to the fish included in the test (aside from tuna). So, salmon, cod, haddock… sardines, trout, even crab and squid are fine. Does this make sense? Can he eat some fish but not have fish oil?
    The itchiness may be getting a bit better, but still hasn’t gone away totally.. although we’ve adjusted his diet and everything. Most treatments for itchiness recommend fish oil.. but would a little fish do any good or harm?

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      Hello Christina, Thank you for reaching out. There may be other confounding factors to his itch. Hard to say without a full consultation. You can book a call with me or I can refer you to a TCVM vet if you need. Blessings.

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