Omega-3, Omega-6 Fatty Acids for Dogs, Cats - Health Benefits, Best Sources, Dosage

My Sweet Boxer x Pit Bull 'Robbie'
 In This Article:
  1. The Importance of Providing a Balanced Intake
  2. Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  3. Health Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  4. Selecting a Good Product
  5. Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
  6. Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage of Omega-3
  7. Good Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  8. Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage of Omega-6
  9. Omega-6 Fatty Acids To Be Avoided - Not Safe!
  10. Cautions
  11. Drug Interactions 

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are very important for the overall health of a dog and cat. Conversely a lack of good-source omega fatty acids can create many health issues, from allergies to cancer, fur and skin problems, heart disease and a host of other problems as you will see further below. 

Insufficient daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to or cause behaviourial problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and aggression.

1.0 The Importance of Providing a
       Balanced Intake of Omega-3 to 6

1.1 The Impact of a Balanced Intake
A balanced intake of appropriate Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids helps protect your dog and cat's body from inflammatory issues and disease.
  • Inflammation is a trigger for many inflammatory diseases including:
    • Allergies
    • Arthritis
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • etc.
As the body does not store Omega-3, daily intake of sufficient Omega-3 is essential for overall health and well being.
There are three (3) omega three fatty acids that your dog or cat must take-in on daily basis: 
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA);
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and; 
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Good quality Omega-3 has all three of these important acids.

2.0 Health Benefits - Omega-3 Fatty Acids

2.1 Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Avoid, Control, Treat,

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Atopy
  • Support optimum brain function
  • Bone health
  • Digestive disease
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Excessive blood clotting 
  • Flea allergies
  • Hair/fur problems
  • Helps prevent cancer growth
  • Heart disease
  • Learning difficulties
  • Lowers the amount of lipids (i.e. cholesterol, triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
  • Immune-mediated skin disease
  • Inflammation throughout the body
  • Inhibits thickening of the arteries 
  • Kidney disease
  • Reduces risk of obesity
  • Seborrhea
  • Metabolism regulation
  • Military dermatitis
  • Maintains fluidity of cell membranes 
Robbie with Sarah my GSD x Husky

3.0 Health Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty

Omega-6 Fatty Acids Help:
  • Build cell membranes and support cell health
  • Dry coat
  • Mycoplasma
  • Regulate Blood Clotting
  • Seborrhea

Not All Sources of Omega Fatty Acids Are Equal 

It's important to understand that although Omega 3 and 6 can be found in many foods not all sources of these fats offer good quality, safe nutrition. 

4.0 Selecting a Good Product

4.1 Decide On Your Approach
How you choose to supplement depends on your life-style, personal priorities etc...
  • Pre-blended Supplement 'all-in-one' liquid or soft-gel
    • If your priority is time-efficiency over quality than your best bet is a pre-prepared, pre-blended supplement that provides (or claims to provide) a full spectrum of omega fatty acids (3-6-9);
      •  This may save you time but you may end-up sacrificing convenience for quality if you do not choose the product wisely;
      • If you choose the pre-blended product  you will also need to decide if you are going to use a liquid supplement or a soft gel supplement. 

  • Single Source Whole Food Products:
    • You may instead prefer to use single source products that you add yourself to your companion animal's food;
      • This choice can provide you with more flexibility as to the quality of products as you can select the type and quality of the omega-3 and 6 you use;
      • For example you may decide to use Norwegian Krill Oil for omega-3 and organic virgin Coconut oil for Omega-6.

4.2 What's My Preferred Approach?
I prefer using good quality human food-grade whole food products such as whole sardines or good quality organic oils - e.g., hemp oil, flax seed oil, organic tahini, and wild fatty fish oils with no additives. My dogs also get avocado in their daily diet - you can read here about the health benefits, and how to introduce avocado to your dog's diet.

4.3 Read The Product Label for Quality Assurance
Next it is so important to read product ingredient lists, here's why:
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • If the label says 'fish oil' and does not disclose the source of the fish then you are likely looking at a product that is derived from factory farmed fish;
    • What is wrong with that? Well...
      • Factory farm fish are raised in confined and often man-made pools.
        • When many living organisms are forced to live in unnatural and confined conditions the environment that they live in becomes a breeding ground for disease and parasites.
      • Factory farm fish are:
        • Fed food pellets that are comprised of non-organic and often species inappropriate food.
        • Are given antibiotics, may be given growth hormones, synthetic chemical pesticides and fungicides to control parasites and fungus.
      • All of these substances are ingested by your dog or cat when they consume the oil.
        • Resulting in: an increase of toxic loading, hormone disrupting build-up, antibiotic resistance building - all health threatening conditions.
      • So while you may have the good intention of improving your dog's or cat's health with the supplement you may actually be furthering the development of health issues.
    • To avoid this pitfall choose a product that is labelled specifically and clearly with no ambiguity, i.e.
      • The ingredient list states that the source of the Omega-3 fatty acids are:
        • Norwegian Krill oil or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil or;
        • Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed (Linseed) oil, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, etc.
        • And remember that you are looking for a product that contain the full spectrum of Omega-3 fatty acids...
          • ALA - Alpha-linolenic acid  
          • EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid  
          • DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid
And one more important note about fish oil...
  • Avoid 'Fankenfish' - Nickname for GMO Salmon
    • GMO salmon has just been approved in Canada;
    • DO NOT use any product that is derived from GMO fish - the long-term effects of ingesting an animal-based Genetically Engineered (GE) product IS NOT known;
    • What is evident to me is that such a product will have similar adverse health risks as GMO corn and GMO soy;
    • If you are not familiar with the multitude of serious health risks posed by:
  • Plant-Based Omega-6 GMO Oils v.s Quality Plant Oils
    • If the product includes poor source omega-6 oil from GMO plant crops such as: soy, canola, cottonseed, safflower you are once again introducing an ingredient that is very high in pesticide residue, fungicides, genetically modified properties - all of which increase you dog's or cat's toxic load, increase the chance of hormone and endocrine disruption, renal issues, bladder and other cancers, etc.
    • To avoid this pitfall choose a product that is labeled specifically and clearly with no ambiguity.
    • The ingredient list states that the source of the oil is:
    • Omega-3 from Norwegian Krill oil or Wild Alsaskan Salmon Oil or Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed (Linseed) oil.
    • Omega-6 from organic coconut oil.
    • This way you know that you are getting a quality product that is as free of toxins as possible.
  • Avoid Products that Contain Fillers and Other Unnecessary Unhealthy Ingredients
    • Look for products that do not contain fillers, soy or wheat-based derivitives, food colouring, artificial flavoring, sweeteners, etc.
    • If you are going to use a soft-gel look for products that do not contain chemical-based slipping agents.
4.4 If You Choose an All-in-One Product Check Ratio

Read the label - if the product is not conforming to the ratio as described  in section 1.0 of this article then don't buy the product.

4.5 Decide on Human Grade or 'Made for Pets'
You can use a quality human-grade supplement or a product specifically made for dogs and cats.
  • The dog and cat supplements are not specifically formulated to be better for your dog or cat than a good human grade product;
  • The balance required for human, canine and feline intake of Omega 3 to 6 fatty acids are the same for all three species;
  • Products made specifically for the dog and cat food industry tend to be over-priced simply because the product is targeted to retail to a 'specialty' market.
4.6 Introduce Oils Gradually to the Diet

Some dogs and cats are allergic to or have a sensitivity to fish oil. Fish oil may cause diarrhea in some dogs and cats.

If your dog or cat has never had a fish supplement (liquid oil or gel) before introduce fish oil to the diet starting with 1/4  of the recommended daily dosage and over he space of a several weeks incrementaly increase the dosage until you reach the standard daily dose.

4.7 Allergies - Food and Environmental

If your dog or cat is allergic to shellfish do not give her krill oil.

If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Linum family of plants do not use flax or flax seed (also known as linseed) oil.

If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Cannabaceae family of plants do not use hemp seed or hemp seed oil. 

The same is true for any other food or environmental allergy - check ingredients against allergens and substitute to suit.

5.0 Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

      ALA -  Alpha-linolenic acid 
        EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid
        DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Atlantic Mackerel 
  • Anchovy
  • Chia Seeds (whole or ground), Chia Seed Oil
  • Cod Liver Oil
    • If you are going to use be careful pay special attention to the product that you purchase:
      • Many brands of cod liver oil are very high in vitamin A and relatively low in vitamin D.
      • This lack of balance between A and D has the potential to cause vitamin A toxicity.
      • For this reason it is important to choose a cod liver oil that has a considerably lower ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D.
  • Dairy Products from pasture fed cows, goats and sheep
  • Eggs from pastured free-range chickens.
  • Flax Seeds (ground), or Cold-Pressed Organic Flax Oil (also called Linseed)
    • Non refrigerated, non-organic flax oil does not have the same healthful properties of cold-pressed organic refrigerated flax oil.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Norwegian or Arctic Krill oil
  • Meat protein from pastured free-range animals, and wild-harvested animals
  • Wild-caught fish such as:
  • Pacific or Atlantic Herring
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Sprat
  • Menhaden fish
Norwegian or Arctic Krill oil is said to be the best, cleanest, most complete and bioavailable supplemental source of Omega-3 fatty acids. If you are going to use Salmon oil - be sure to buy only wild salmon oil or Atlantic salmon oil. Farmed salmon and other farmed fish is high in toxins, antibiotics etc. as noted in section 4.0 above. 

6.0 Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage -


    If you are using a pre-prepared blended product (i.e. includes Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids) follow the manufacturers' dosing instructions. If you are using a single whole food product - i.e. Krill oil you can follow the dosage provided below or the manufactures instructions.

    6.1 Norwegian or Arctic - Krill Oil, Cod Liver Oil or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

    Daily Dosage for Dogs and Cats

    • X-Small Dogs and Cats 
      • 1 -14 lbs – 250mg
    • Small Dogs and Cats
      • 15-29 lbs – 500mg
    • Medium Dogs 
      • 30-49 lbs – 1000mg
    • Large Dogs
      •  50 -79 lbs – 1500mg
    • X-Large Dogs
      •  80 lbs and up – 2000mg 

    Chia, Flax Seed Oil 
    • 1 tsp per every 11 lbs of body weight;
    • 1 ml per every 1 kg of body weight.

    7.0 Good Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
            LA - Linoleic acid
            GL - Gamma-linoenic acid, and
            AA - Arachidonic acid
    • Animal Meats
    • Coconut Oil (see below)
      • While virgin coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, when added to a dog’s diet in small quantities, on a daily basis virgin coconut oil has many beneficial qualities. It is also very effective as a topically applied treatment on cuts, wounds and for ailments of the skin. To learn about the extensive benefits of adding coconut oil to your dog’s daily diet click here.
    • Chia Seeds (ground or whole) or Chia Seed Oil
    • Hemp Oil
    • Pumpkin Seeds

    8.0 Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage Omega-6

    8.1 Hemp, Flax, Pumpkin Seed Oil
    • 1 tsp per every 11 lbs of body weight;
    • 1 ml per every 1 kg of body weight.
    8.2 Coconut Oil
    • 1/4 tsp per every 10 lbs of body weight twice daily;
    • 1/2 tsp per every 10 lbs of body weight once daily.
      • Coconut oil health benefits, go here

    9.0 Oils That Are Not Recommended  

    Do not give your dog or cat non-organic:
    Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Safflower Oil, Soy Oil

    Canola oil, soy products, soy oil, safflower oil, cotton seed oil are grown from Round-up Ready Genetically Modified (GM) seed crops (i.e. in North America). These oils are all very high in pesticide residue...
    Canola and soybeans in the USA and Canada are almost all grown from Genetically Modified (GM) seeds - the long term affect of ingesting GM food is not known. Further to this, large factory farms use a method to process soy that leaves it very high in photoestrogens. Photoestrogens have been proven to interfere with reproduction and thyroid function. Factory farming processing methods for soy also result in a product that is very high in phytates. Phytates prevent mineral absorption as well as substances that prevent the normal function of enzymes required to digest protein. And one last thumbs down for large factory farm produced soy - it has one of the highest concentrations of pesticides found in North American crops. Traditional methods of processing soy by fermentation (as employed in Japan and China) greatly reduces photoestrogens, and phytates, thus making consumption of the resulting soy, safe and nutritional.

    10.0 Cautions
    • Some dogs and cats are hypersensitive (intolerant or allergic) to shell fish and/or krill.
      •  If you think your dog or cat is allergic to shellfish do not give her krill oil.
    11.0 Drug Interactions

    If your dog or cat is on the following drugs consult your veterinarian before supplementing with Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
    • Blood thinners
    • Beta blockers
    • Diuretics

    12.0 Holistic Support

    Holistic Wellness Services and Holistic Behaviorist Services 

    Holistic Wellness and Behaviorist Services

    Do you need holistic advice to support your companion animal's health and well being? Become a client. Book your consultation. My professional holistic nutrition, wellness and behavioral services are available to you:
    🌿 Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ• 🐈
    🌿 Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•

    My Holistic Client Services are Available Worldwide:
    πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USA
    πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada
    πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ UK and other European countries
    πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia and other Oceania countries
    πŸ‡­πŸ‡° Hong Kong and other Asian countries
    πŸ‡¨πŸ‡· Costa Rica and other Central American countries 
    πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί European countries
    πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ή Trinidad and Tobago and other South America countries
    πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ South Africa and other African countries
    πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ Sweden and other Nordic countries
    πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ͺ United Arab Emirates

    Available Holistic Consultations and Sessions:
    πŸ“± FaceTime
    πŸ“± Facebook video or voice calling
    πŸ’» Skype
    πŸ“ž Phone
    πŸ“§ Email 
    🚢🏻‍♀️ In-Person

    Menu of Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ•πŸˆ
    For more information go here. 
    ✅  Maintain Health, and;
    ✅  Address Health Issues and Conditions:
    ✓ Treatment and Remedy 
     Pre-Surgery holistic support protocols
     Post-Surgery holistic healing protocols
     Pre-Vaccine holistic support protocols 
     Post-Vaccine holistic support protocols
     Natural Insect and Parasite Prevention
     Natural Treatment for Insect, Parasite Infestation, Co-Infection, Disease
    ✅  Custom Designed Whole Food Diets - raw or gently cooked, and;
    ✅  Advice and Recommendation: 
    ✓ Premade Diets - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried 
    ✓ Supplemental Fresh Foods - raw, gently cooked
    ✓ Super foods
    ✓ Treats - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried, gently cooked
    ✓ Herbs 
    ✓ Alternative Medicines

    Menu of Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•
    For more information go here
    In-person Sessions - available locally
    Voice and Video Sessions - available worldwide 
    ✓   Obedience Training
    ✓   Behavior Modification
    ✓   Psychological Rehabilitation

    Affiliations to Companies
    ✓ None.
    ✓ I don't sell food or supplements.
    ✓ I'm not aligned with any companies.
    ✓ I choose to maintain my objectivity in selecting best-solutions for my individual client's needs.

    Contact me

    Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 


    1. what is the dosage for whole
      chia seeds?

      1. Daily dosage for chia or flax should be in the range of:

        1/2 tsp for tea cup dogs 2 to 4 lbs;
        1 tsp for toy dogs 5 to 15 lbs;
        1 tbs for small dogs 16 to 25 lbs;
        1.5 tbs for medium-small dogs 26 to 39 lbs
        2 tbs for medium-large size dogs 40 to 70 lbs
        2.5 tbs for large dogs 71 lbs to 90 lbs
        3 tbs for x-large dogs 91+ pounds

    2. What is the daily dosage for krill oil?

    3. Hi, there are so many brands of krill oil out there. How to select one of better quality and any particular information to look out for?

    4. Will giving my dogs chia seeds give them the amount of both, omega 3 and omega 6 that they need? Should I give them coconut oil also? Thank you so much for taking the time on here to help people. God bless.

      1. Hi Jackie, I recommend that you give your dogs chia seeds and coconut oil.

        My dogs (different breeds and sizes from very small - 4 lbs - to large) get all of the following on a daily basis: olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds and coconut oil :>)

      2. Hi Karen,
        If you feed your dogs olive oil, coconut oil and chia, wouldn't that make omega 6 dosage much higher than omega 3 as the olive, coconut oil and chia are all omega 6's? Or do you just feed your pups higher amounts of the fish oil and fish?

        Also, if we choose to feed say coconut oil and hemp oil (Omega 6's) should we only use half your recommended dosage per each oil so that the amount of oil they are getting is not too much per day? thanks Karen.

      3. My dogs get a selection of good fats - fish oil from wild-caught Norwegian fish, organic sesame oil, organic sunflower oil, organic hemp or organic flax oil, organic borage or primrose oil, organic coconut oil, virgin olive oil. And in their food fat from organic: kefir yogurt, cheese, meat etc. A dog's natural diet is 30% fats obtained from appropriate sources. The vegetable oils you mentioned in your comment above are not just Omega 6, some contain Omega 3. I recommend that you purchase consultation time to address your dog's diet.

      4. Thanks Karen, Yes I am going to order a consultation with you very soon. Thanks a lot! Tasch

    5. once I have mixed the oils how much do I give to a dog that is 25 pounds to 35 pounds and how long do they last in frig or should they stay at room temp in dark container

      1. Re-read the article above - the answers to all of your questions are provided in the article.

    6. I am feeding my dog your grain free diet and she is still chewing her feet is there any thing I can do. The Vet want her to go on steroids and antibiotics again it seems like it never ending. I am worried about what the drugs are doing to her. She is 11 and ways about 26 pounds I would appreciate any suggestions you have.

      Thank you

      1. Putting her on steroids (i.e. prednisone) puts her short to medium term health at very great risk and will shorten her life. Putting her on repeated courses of antibiotics suppress her immune system, wipes out the good bacteria in her gut along with the bad - which results in re-occurance of the yeast infection that is causing her paw problems. In addition her body will develop an immunity to antibiotics which puts her life further at risk. You can read about steroids here

        For dogs with food allergies it is not enough to simply switch the food that they are eating you also must eliminate the particular food ingredients from their diet that he/she is allergic to. If your dog has multiple food sensitivities (which your dog likely has) I need to know more of the history of her previous diet. Once I have that I can advise you on what her daily diet should be, a cleansing protocol, ingested supplementation and topical treatment. You would require an hour of my time. My international consultation service is explained here

        It would be my pleasure to assist you...

        Cheer, Karen

    7. Hi Karen

      I've recently switched from Salmon oil to Krill oil for my dogs and I'm a little confused about the dosage. I'm using Dr Mercola's Krill oil for pets. It indicates to give 3 pumps daily (total 0.51ml...150mg) for dogs from 15-29lbs. This amount seems lower than the dosage you recommended above. I've read that due to the more efficient absorption of Krill oil, lesser is required. Not sure how accurate is this, and what would be the optimal amount? My dogs weigh around 12 and 18lbs. Hope you can help to clarify. Appreciate your response. Thanks!!

      1. Hi D,
        Dr. Mercola sells very good quality products - for his product use the dosage on the label.
        Cheers, Karen

    8. I'm a little confused on the ratio Karen. Will you please help me?My dog is very itchy during winter times so I want to help him. So there should be 2 items of omega 3 and 1 item of omega 6? I do cod liver oil, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil, piece of sardine right now..DO I need to add or remove anything?

    9. a very helpful blogs. i have a dog who has multiple illnes.the most hard things was finding the dosage for dogs based on their lbs. super thanks for your articles. bless you!

    10. Hi I have started giving my dog real food instead of dog food for about a week. I don't know what vitamins I should give her to get/stay healthy? She is 13 she is a bichon.

      1. Holistic Diet Nutrition Health Consultations

        Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Plans

    11. Thanks for all your amazing info! I'm wondering if I buy krill oil in capsules, is it necessary to open them up or can I just put them in with their food whole? My dog is not a big fan of the fish oil taste and has been picky about eating his food with it in the past. Thanks!

      1. Yes, your Pitties can have krill oil in capsules rather than in un-capsulized liquid form. Make sure the capsules are free of toxic slipping agents such as magnesium stearate.

      2. Will do! Thanks again. My pittie has been having a lot of itching issues but I feel he is on a fast track to better health with all your advice!

    12. Hello Karen,

      Thank you so much for enlightening us.
      My dog is on Orijen dry dog food and the label says:
      Omega-3 (min.): 1.8%
      Omega-6 (min.): 2.6%
      So the ratio is almost 2:3 (Omega-3 : Omega-6) than your prescribed 2:1.
      My question is: will the dosage you gave above balance out the dog food's? Don't I have to lessen the dosage of Omega-6 supplement? For what it's worth, my dog weighs 19 kg.

      Thanks so much for you time and patience!

      1. Unfortunately, and sadly even the best dry processed dog 'foods' are not balanced, nor species appropriate despite the deceitful advertising of the manufacturers - adding as per above will help offset a little of the damage created by a diet of dry processed food.

    13. Karen, I just wanted to thank you for sharing all this information to everyone for free. It's absolutely invaluable and the fact that you don't sell any products is admirable. It's really appreciated.




    Post a Comment

    Important Note

    1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines

    Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

    Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

    Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

    If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

    2.0 Definition of Holistic

    Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

    If you use a ‘natural’ substance such as a pure herb, you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

    Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

    Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


    "relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

    "Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

    Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

    3.0 Expectations
    In a health or behavioral situation.

    Don't expect a few items or one isolated action to remedy the situation.

    In most situations, remedying a situation will require a comprehensive approach.

    4.0 Leave a Comment

    I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

    I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

    Karen Rosenfeld | Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Practitioner | Holistic Behaviorist | Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

    Popular Posts