Omega 3 Fish Oil For Dogs – How to Find and Evaluate a Quality Product

Last Updated on 2021-05-03 by Admin

Omega 3 Fish oil for dogs is a widely used supplement. Research has shown benefits to using Omega 3 Fish oil in People and pets.

Even the FDA now allows some health claims regarding Omega 3 Fish oil made for human consumption. Here is the update from June 2019.

Omega 3 In Our Meat Supply

Omega 3 is naturally much higher in meats and fish that live in the wild. Even grass-fed beef has up to 5 times more Omega 3 than grain fed beef. It is no different with Chickens. Grain-fed chickens have less Omega 3 than free-range chicken. Farmed fish also contains less Omega 3 than wild fish.

Nature seems to provide it in a sufficient amount in animals allowed to live in natural conditions.

Dogs need relatively large amounts of meat in their diet. That also means they are not getting as much Omega 3 as they probably should. Most of the Meat that goes into dog food is from farmed animals. And when we consider processing to make kibble, the amount of Omega 3 will be even more reduced. High heat can destroy up to 80 % of the naturally occurring Omega 3 in meat and fish.

So it is not surprising that so many dog owners supplement the food with extra Omega 3.

You Have To Start Somewhere

How do we know if we use an excellent quality Omega 3 fish oil for dogs? For many readers, I’m sure much of the information comes from popular product reviews. That was how I went about choosing the Omega 3 fish oil for my dog Annie initially.

Do the people giving reviews know what makes one oil better than the other? Those ratings, for the most part, will not consider some essential aspects like environmental toxins. How about the oxidation level of the oil. Hardly ever is that mentioned in any review that I read. Pet products generally are of lower quality and are not fit for human consumption. So what kind of fish Oils are we giving our Pets? We can do better than guess and hope that the product is reasonably good.

What Makes A Quality Omega 3 Fish Oil?

There are international organizations that set standards for fish oils. That does limit how much Lead, Mercury, or other metals allowed in the oil to pass the test. A good standard will also specify limits on environmental toxins and Oxidation levels. Light and oxygen can cause the oil to oxidize and alter it. Finally, we probably would feel good to know that oil comes from sustainable sources.

When fish oil is not tested against any standard, what exactly are we giving our pets?

I like to know that when I give Annie, Omega 3 fish oil for dogs. That there are reasonably low amounts of environmental toxins and heavy metals. I can’t eliminate the exposure as it is all around us. But I can make an effort to keep It at a reasonably low level. Without such standards, we have no way of knowing how much of those elements are in the oil.

When evaluating Omega 3 fish oil for dogs, it should have a certificates of analysis. And must have passed all the criteria of the standard. If it passed multiple standards, then that is even better.

Many companies that get their products Analysed make those reports available to consumers. That helps consumers to make an informed decision. But, You may have to ask the company for the Analysis results.

What about EPA and DHA? Is that not the way to determine the quality of the fish Oil? I’m a lot less concerned with the amount of EPA and DHA when evaluating the oil. You will see later why that is.

Standards For Quality Fish Oils

I was able to find the following link on that shows the allowable limits for various standards.

Nordic Naturals makes Omega 3 fish oils for Human and Pet consumption. They also make many other high-quality nutritional products. I have no affiliation with them but use their products. Because they test all products, and I can see the analysis when I choose.

It is wise to look for products with a certificate of analysis and have passed those tests. A dog will consume a relatively large amount of fish Oil over an extended period. It is even more critical that the quality of the oil is good. Heavy metals and toxins found in our environment build up in the body over time. It gives me a peace of mind to know that the heavy metal and environmental toxins are of a low amount in the product I give Annie. That might only be one source for toxins. I do what I can to provide Annie with a good chance for long and healthy life.

What About DHA And EPA In Fish Oil

Under the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), the oil must contain the amount of DHA and EPA specified on the label. For concentrated fish oils, it must have greater than 60% combined EPA/DHA.

Fish oil can be from a single source like salmon or mackerel. But can also consist of a blend, a variety of fish. That will, in part, determine the amount of DHA and EPA on a label.

A company makes the label for the product. It is not the standard that dictates how much DHA and EPA must be in the oil.

Comparing Fish Oils Can Be Tricky

I said earlier regarding DHA and EPA that I’m not all concerned about how much DHA and EPA are in the oil.

When we look at DHA and EPA, it is vital to compare the same volume of oil. In contrast, brand A uses a teaspoon per serving. Brand B might use a pump, and the pump dispenses 2 ml. That is less than one half a teaspoon. So the DHA and EPA on Brand B’ label might be less than half of Brand A, who used a teaspoon for measurement. Brand C might list DHA and EPA per 100 ml on the label. And that makes the DHA and EPA values look huge compared to Brand A and Brand B. That does not mean it is better than the other two brands.

To make a fair comparison, we need to make the measurement the same on all three brands.

And then calculate the value of DHA and EPA for the base measurement. Only then can we make a comparison. When I do this, I find that most Omega 3 fish oils for dogs are relatively close in the amounts of DHA and EPA they contain.

But product labels can get confusing. See the table below. I made up the values. But have taken the various serving sizes and how DHA and EPA get displayed from real products.

Brand A
serving size
1 teaspoon
Brand B
serving size
1 pump (2 ml)
Brand C
per 100 ml
Brand D
Serving size
DHA550 mg300 mg12 %
EPA390 mg200 mg18 %
Omega 312000 mg
Table 1

Looking at the table above, it is not straightforward to compare DHA and EPA amounts between products. And I’m not making any judgment on any of the oils in my table.

It takes more work than it should to evaluate and compare DHA and EPA between brands. I went through the exercise once. That is more than enough. And Yes, there is a better and simpler way.

Where To Find A Good Quality Omega 3 Fish Oil

I mentioned IFOS earlier. IFOS is not the only standard, but one of the more stringent ones.

There are many brands of Omega 3 fish oils tested against one or more standards. But for simplicity, You can use the IFOS site to find a quality Omega 3 Fish oil for dogs and humans.

Here is a link

See an example of an IFOS Analysis report search for Bonnie and Clyde Pet Goods via the above link. You have to follow some links and select a batch number. Then You get the Analysis results. I have no affiliation with Bonnie and Clyde Pet Goods. It’s an Omega 3 oil I had used in the past and knew it is on the IFOS site. Products that passed the IFOS may have the IFOS logo on the label. That can make it easier to find a suitable brand in the store or online.

Keep in mind when comparing the DHA and EPA of different Brands, even on the IFOS site. You still need to follow the steps mentioned under Comparing Fish Oils can be tricky. Each brand uses a different serving size.

Thus, it is more important to me to make sure that the product I purchase has a certificate of analysis and passed the test. Then how much DHA and EPA are in the fish oil. Yes, there are variations between brands. But when You make a proper comparison, the differences no longer look that large.

Understanding The Certificates Of Analysis

Nordic Naturals also analyzes all products. And with the lot number for the product. You can have access to the analysis. Here is the link where you can get the analysis:

Nordic Naturals, for example, won’t show up in the search on the IFOS site. They use a third party to do the analysis. The products I use are tested against multiple standards. I have no affiliation with Nordic Naturals.

Keep in mind the amount of DHA and EPA must be in the oil, based on the product label, to pass the test. Each product will show a different amount of DHA and EPA based on serving size. DHA and EPA are not like other sections on the Analysis report. The other areas show allowable limits.

To compare Omega 3 fish oil brands, the certificate of analysis should be from the same standard. For Brands tested against multiple standards, you need to find the values associated with IFOS, for example.


Not all Omega 3 oils are the same. Comparing DHA and EPA values between brands will require some work on Your part. Overemphasis on DHA and EPA drown out other aspects of a quality Omega 3 fish oil.

It is not easy for the consumer to get a good quality Omega 3 fish oil for dogs. We give our pet supplements because we care about them and want them to have good health. Yet often, we don’t know much about what we give our pets. Doing research is time-consuming but time well spent. I started researching Omega 3 fish oils for dogs when I began feeding Annie Raw food.

Life would be so much easier if just all fish oils were tested and listed on the IFOS site. If we could only use one standard measurement to display DHA and EPA values on labels, that would great. Standards are not perfect.

Have You checked if the Omega 3 oil You take has a certificate of analysis? Most of what I wrote about above also applies to Omega 3 for human consumption.

On the side

  • Don’t give Your dog Omega 3 intended for humans. It most likely was not tested for pets
  • Be aware that some Omega 3 oils have supplements added. Make sure the total consumed from food and supplements is safe.


How much Omega 3 fatty acids should I give my dog?

International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS)


Finding omega-3 fats in fish: Farmed versus wild Tocopherol is often added to fish oils

Leave a comment