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You may have heard how wonderful fish oil is for human health. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, scientific studies have found fish oil to help alleviate symptoms of ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes and more; all while enhancing immune, skin and hair health. Research displays that the benefits extend beyond human health to pet health, and is now routinely prescribed by veterinarians.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil that lend medicinal value. EPA plays an important role in signaling cells to reduce inflammation of the joints, skin and other organs. Is also reduces allergy-related inflammation that causes dry skin, dandruff and hot spots on pets. An added bonus is that the supplement promotes a shiny, healthy coat and reduces shedding.

The DHA component in fish oil is crucial to the growth of nerve cells in puppies and kittens as they are developing. As a result, brain and eye development is greatly enhanced as well, so it is advisable for dog and cat owners to administer fish oil to their pregnant or nursing pet. Though extensive research has not been performed, studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids slow the growth of cancer.

While fish oil is very easy to give to your pet, it is still important to consult your veterinarian before purchasing a supplement, as dosage varies depending on species and size. Dosage ranges widely from 71 mg for a two to four pound cat all the way to 620 mg for a 40 pound dog and varying dosages in between.

Once you have the appropriate supplement for your pet, you can either give your dog or cat a gel capsule, or – if they are not participating – you can poke a hole into the gel cap and squeeze the oil out onto their food. The other option, especially for larger dosages, is to purchase the oil in liquid form and measure out accordingly.

There are a couple side effects correlated to too-large-doses of fish oil. Though not toxic or fatal in any way, the excess can result in gastrointestinal issues, slowed blood clotting and bad breath. Dogs or cats taking blood-clotting or anti-inflammatory medications should not take fish oil without the okay from their veterinarian.