Revolutionize Your Dog’s Health: Fish Oil, The Biohacking Powerhouse

Dog Supplements

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By Dr Dan Beatty

Imagine a supplement that touches almost every aspect of your dog’s well-being. One that contributes to a lustrous coat, eases joints, strengthens the heart, and sharpens the mind.

I’m talking about fish oil, a staple in the world of human wellness that has crossed over into pet health with impressive results. As a holistic veterinarian focused on dog’s health, I turned to fish oil as the ultimate biohacking supplement. Biohacking, if you’re new to it, refers to optimizing living organisms — in this case, your furry companion — through strategic interventions.

Fish oil draws its power from being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), crucial players in the maintenance and enhancement of bodily functions. This isn’t just about overcoming deficiencies; it’s about pushing health beyond normal boundaries to thrive.

Fish oil can greatly benefit your dog’s health and wellbeing. Incorporating it into their diet can improve their appearance and activity levels.

Enhancing Vitality: Fish Oil’s Role in Skin and Coat Wellness

You’ve likely seen dogs with lush, glossy coats and wondered about the secret to such canine radiance. Discerning pet owners have long touted the virtues of fish oil for promoting skin and coat health. This isn’t just hearsay; there’s ample evidence to back up these claims. Fish oil works from the inside out, targeting the root causes of skin issues like dryness and itchiness.

Fish oil, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), supports skin health in dogs by enhancing cell membrane function, providing anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects, regulating skin oil production, and promoting effective skin healing and maintenance. This multifaceted approach helps to improve the overall condition of the dog’s skin and coat.

Noticing the changes after introducing fish oil to your dog’s diet can be truly rewarding. A reduction in excessive scratching, fewer dry flakes littering their bedding, and a noticeable sheen to their fur are markers of improvement. It’s not magic, it’s science – the essential fats in fish oil bolster the skin’s natural barrier, helping to lock in moisture and protect against allergens and infections.

The benefits of fish oil for skin and coat health may seem clear, but it’s important to remember that not all supplements are created equal. Many products are on the market, but a wise choice is one that is effective yet safe. Look for signs of excessive soft stool or greasy fur, which can indicate an imbalance and necessitate a dosage adjustment.

Now that we’ve covered the skin and coat benefits, it’s important to connect this to the bigger picture of overall health. A healthy exterior often reflects a healthy interior. In the next section, we’ll explore how the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA fatty acids in fish oil not only enhance skin and coat condition but also play a critical role in maintaining your dog’s joint health and mobility.

A Step Toward Mobility: How Fish Oil Fortifies Joint Health

If you’ve noticed your dog moving with a little less spring in their step, it’s worth considering the role of fish oil in supporting joint health. EPA and DHA are recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. This is crucial for dogs with arthritis or other joint conditions, where inflammation is often the underlying culprit causing pain and discomfort.

Here’s the science in a nutshell: EPA and DHA in the fish oil help to reduce the production of substances, specifically prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and cytokines, that erode joint cartilage, and cause inflammation and pain. This means that a consistent dose of high-quality fish oil can help to manage these symptoms, improving your dog’s mobility and quality of life.

My experience has shown that many dogs begin to show a marked improvement in movement after being supplemented with fish oil. Some indicators that the fish oil may be benefiting your dog include observing them trotting more comfortably during walks, getting up with greater ease, and showing a willingness to engage more in play.

If you want to incorporate fish oil into your dog’s joint care routine, it is important to integrate it with their existing diet and medication, if any. Always start with a low dose to assess their tolerance and choose products that are clean, safe, and potent.

Remember, just like their human companions, every dog is unique. What works marvels for one may not for another, so monitoring your dog’s response to fish oil supplementation is key. Adjusting dosages under the guidance of a veterinarian is the safest route to optimizing joint health benefits.

Optimized Dosage: Ensuring Your Dog Gets the Right Amount of Fish Oil

Making sure your dog gets the correct dosage of fish oil is crucial for maximizing the health benefits while minimizing risks. Practice caution and start with a conservative amount, which is approximately a quarter of the maximum dose. From there, closely monitor your dog’s reaction to the supplement.

As you navigate the various fish oil products, you’ll encounter a range of formulations. You might see soft gels, liquids with pump dispensers, and even foods that incorporate fish oil. Focus on products with clearly labeled EPA and DHA content. Don’t settle for anything less. The clarity in labeling reflects a company’s commitment to transparency and quality.

Quality matters when it comes to your dog’s health. Opt for fish oil products that undergo rigorous third-party testing and can supply a certificate of analysis. This ensures that the product you’re using is free from harmful contaminants and gives you peace of mind regarding its freshness and efficacy.

But remember, no supplement is without potential risks. Some products, especially those not vet-recommended and inexpensive, might contain ingredients that are not beneficial or potentially harmful or toxic. Many fish oils contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals.

Calculating the dosage is important. Colorado State University did a study showing that for many years we did not provide enough EPA and DHA to our dogs to be beneficial for skin issues or inflammation due to arthritis. In most cases we were only providing a 1/4 or 1/3 of the dose needed.

To calculate the proper dose we need the dogs metabolic weight. The weight of your dog in kg taken to the 3/4 power (MBW = kg body weight^0.75), then multiple by 310 to find the maximum dosage of combined EPA and DHA. Most dogs can not tolerate the high dosage but can be worked up to that by giving 1/4 of the dosage for 1 week then increasing the dosage every week by another 1/4.

For example, a 30-pound dog. 30 divided by 2.2 = 13.64 kg, then taken to the 3/4 power = 7.10 kg. The metabolic weight (MW) is 7.10 kg. Multiply the MW by 310 mg = 2200 mg of EPA and DHA. Now take a good quality fish oil such as Nordic Naturals ProOmega, 1280 mg of Omegas, which has 325 mg of EPA and 225mg of DHA or 550 mg combined per capsule. During the first week, it is recommended to give 1 capsule per day, which is 1/4 of the total maximum dose. In the second week, you can increase the dose to 2 capsules per day, then in the third week, 3 capsules per day and finally in the fourth week, you can give the maximum dose of 4 capsules per day.

Fish oil stands out as a key player in the arena of biohacking for dogs, offering a multifaceted approach to enhancing their health and well-being. By integrating fish oil into your pet’s diet, you are embracing a holistic approach that supports their coat, skin, joints, and overall vitality. Prioritizing high-quality fish oil and adhering to precise dosing guidelines is essential for tapping into its full potential. This practice not only elevates your dog’s physical health but also epitomizes the essence of biohacking—optimizing the biological processes of our canine friends for a happier, healthier life. As such, fish oil is more than just a supplement; it’s a cornerstone of holistic biohacking for dogs, ensuring they lead vibrant and thriving lives.

Research Studies –

Omega-3s Significantly Improved Canine Arthritis in Double-blind Clinical Trial

Bauer, J. E. Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 239, 1441–1451 (2011).

Bauer, J. E. The essential nature of dietary omega-3 fatty acids in dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 249, 1267–1272 (2016).

Roush, J. K. et al. Evaluation of the effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on weight bearing in dogs with osteoarthritis. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 236, 67–73 (2010).

Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals

Colorado State Canine Fish Oil Dosing Chart

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