3 Surprising Dangers of Too Much Fish Oil for Pets

Posted by Maureen Lake at

3 Surprising Dangers of Too Much Fish Oil for Pets

Fish Oil Danger in Pets

Fish oil is the number one supplement dog owners add to their pet food.  Knowing what we now know about fish oil and all of its benefits, this goes without saying- Right? Growing research in pet health confirms the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fats. Gosh, now treatment for cancer, skin, tummy problems as well as senile dementia includes adding a lot of fish oil to your pet's diet. But, what are the dangers of too much fish oil for our pets?

I'm very careful when I add any change to my pet's diet. It probably stems from the fact that Rosa has so many allergies that I need to be careful with her safety. Truth be told, I have not added supplements to her diet, but I have to Keira's. As a senior I want to make sure she is receiving all the nutrition and supplements healthy for her lifestyle. She does get Cosequin daily, and recently I've started adding a raw food product to her kibble (which she loves) and a fish oil supplement with added Vitamin E once a day. I'm concerned she may be getting too much of a good thing. Crazy thinking right? But, I noticed after taking the oil supplement for about a month, she started throwing up liquid at odd times of the day. After calculating how much is safe given your dogs weight, (data from Pet MD suggests a dose between 20-55mg combined EPA and DHA per pound of body weight), I realized Keira was getting the maximum amount given her body weight. Was that too much? I was following the direction explicitly on the bottle... Could this be why she was throwing up? I stopped giving her the supplement, and her vomiting stopped too. The purpose of this post is not to criticize an individual product, in fact, I'll keep the name of the canine supplement to myself. My goal is to explore side effects of giving too much of a good thing. [caption id="attachment_703" align="aligncenter" width="640"]3 Surprising Dangers of Too Much Fish Oil for Pets Blood Platelet Danger[/caption]

Side Effects of Too Much Fish Oil Supplements

  1. The anti-inflammatory effect of DHA and EPA results in a change in platelet function in the blood. Platelets are necessary for blood to clot correctly. The chemicals in EPA and DHA decrease platelet activity and, therefore, blood to clot. Clotting is critical, especially if your pet is going to have any surgery or has suffered from any trauma to its body.
  2. Our pet needs a balance between a host of chemicals that promote an inflammatory response when necessary (think infection or cancer). The anti-inflammatory response of DHA and EPA can interfere with this function. It is of vital importance to keep and maintain a balance between our inflammatory and anti- inflammatory omega oils.
  3. The anti-inflammatory properties of DHA and EPA also interfere with wound healing. Again, this is crucial especially if your pet is going to have any surgery.
Fish oil supplements may or may not be a good addition to your dog's diet. The primary benefit of fish oil supplementation is to balance out the more inflammatory omega 6-fats. The bottom line is that depending on your pet's existing diet, that will determine whether a supplement is necessary. Keira does eat a grain-free, raw diet,  supplemented with grass fed meats, so she probably isn't the best candidate for fish oil supplementation. [Tweet "Your dog's diet helps determine whether fish oil is right or not. #petsdiet #fishoil"] But, that now begs the question,

How do you know if your dog needs more Omega 3?

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  • Such a great (and important) topic to write about! Feeding a high-quality, nutrient-dense food usually eliminates the need for adding supplements. If there is a specific health concern, consult your veterinarian, especially if he or she embraces holistic medicine.

    Bernard Lima-Chavez on
  • Interesting article – it’s always good to do your own research, every cat or dog is different.

    Pawesome Cats on
  • Good to know – thanks for sharing!

    Amy on
  • It’s like with everything … too much of any good thing is never good.

    Jana Rade on
  • Thank you, Bernard! I wasn’t exactly sure how this post was going to be received because so many people give supplements thinking it’s what’s best for their pet.That’s what I did too! If it wasn’t for Keria throwing up, I wouldn’t of looked deeper into the topic. I appreciate your comment so much!

    Maureen Lake on


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