Krill Oil for Dogs – What are the Benefits?

krill oil for dogs featured image

Dog-specific health supplements have never been more popular than they are today.

As an increasing number of dog owners become aware of the relationship between the nutritional content of a dog’s food and that dog’s overall health, the popularity of nutrient-enriched dog foods and dog-specific dietary supplements also grows.

Unfortunately, there is also plenty of misinformation out there regarding nutritious dog foods and dog-specific supplements. Even the most loving and dedicated dog owners can struggle to know what is just marketing and what will help improve their dog’s health and well-being.

To help clear up some of the confusion and help you decide what is best for your particular dog, we will explain why so many dog owners provide their dogs with krill oil and other omega 3 supplements. We will also explain the benefits of krill oil and determine whether or not it is a superior choice to other fish oil and omega 3 supplements.

If you have questions about krill oil for dogs, you have come to the right place!

Why Do Dog Owners Purchase Krill Oil for Their Dogs?

The main reason why dog owners provide their dogs with krill oil supplements is simply that krill oil is an excellent source of omega 3 acids.

What are Omega 3 Acids?

Omega 3 acids are one of several fatty acids that have a physiological role to play in the body. While you might already know that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for human bodies, you might be surprised to learn they are also incredibly beneficial for the overall health of dogs.

Both omega 3 and omega 6 acids are considered essential poly-unsaturated fatty acids and help with numerous bodily functions in all types of mammals. While some fatty acids are formed within the body, your dog must get omega 3 fatty acids through its diet.

black slate table with product rich in omega 3

There are many dietary sources of omega 3. Krill oil and other fish oils are excellent sources of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, like DHA and EPA.

These essential omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for the health and development of every cell membrane in the human body, as they help support cell survival, renewal, and growth. DHA and EPA, in particular, are known to directly support the health of a dog’s kidneys, heart, brain, eyes, skin, coat, and joints.

So, What is Krill Oil and Why Should You Choose it?

Krill are tiny crustaceans that have a similar appearance to shrimp. They live in ocean water and tend to be found in their highest numbers along cold-water coastlines, like Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Scandinavian Peninsula.

a mid water trawl catch of antarctic krill

While most people know krill as being one of the primary food sources for many types of whales, it turns out that these little creatures also offer some outstanding nutritional benefits for humans and their pets.

As mentioned above, krill oil is considered an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. However, you can say the same thing for many types of fish oil, so you might be wondering: why would you choose krill oil over more widely available fish oil supplements?

The answer to why more people are choosing krill oil over other types of fish oils has a lot to do with the fact that, as a species, krill are very low on the food chain. Since krill mostly survive by eating phytoplankton, there is less of an issue with the bioaccumulation of harmful and toxic substances, like mercury. Not only will oil sourced from krill contain lower amounts of heavy metals, toxins, and other pollutants than other types of fish oil, it also happens to be an outstanding source of omega 3s and healthy proteins.

There are also issues relating to sustainability whenever you purchase any food or supplement sourced from marine animals. Not only is krill oil low on the food chain and high in beneficial nutrients, but krill is also a far more sustainable species than many of the types of fish that supplement manufacturers use to make their omega 3 fish oils.

What are the Real Benefits of Krill Oil for Your Dog?

Now you know why so many dog owners choose krill oil for their dogs rather than more traditional fish oil omega 3 supplements. Let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits this sustainable and effective supplement can have for your furry friend:

1. Krill Oil Supplementation Offers Benefits for Your Dog’s Digestive System

Ensuring your dog’s digestive system is functioning properly is one of the best things you can do for its overall health. Maintaining a healthy digestive system will ensure that your dog can absorb a higher percentage of the nutrients it consumes through its food. Omega 3 fatty acids help support the digestive system by directly helping with the absorption of nutrients through the dog’s small and large intestines.

Not only does omega 3-rich krill oil help support your dog’s digestive system, but the krill oil itself is much easier to digest than other sources of omega 3. Your dog can absorb more of the supplement and experience its benefits more directly.

Why? Because the Omega 3 acids found in krill oil come in a phospholipid form rather than a triglyceride form. In phospholipid form, the essential omega 3 acids are tightly packed. They pass easily through the dog’s intestinal wall membrane. In simple terms, this means that the absorption rate for krill oil tends to be higher than other types of fish oil.

2. Krill Oil Can Improve Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

One of the main reasons why dog owners offer their dogs krill oil supplements is for the improvements to the health and appearance of the dog’s skin and coat.

Like other sources of omega 3 acids, krill oil lessens the occurrence and severity of common skin issues, like hot spots and dry skin underneath the coat, often caused by allergies.

Many dog owners also find that omega 3 supplements can help reduce itchiness from allergies and dry skin. Not only can krill oil supplements help your dog’s coat look smoother and shinier, but they can also even help reduce excessive shedding and dander issues. Since omega 3 fatty acids support skin health, supplementation can even help reduce other skin-related issues, like an overly dry nose and cracked skin on the pads of the dog’s paws.

Since omega 3-rich oils reduce itchiness, redness, and other skin issues caused by matting and chronic allergies, it only makes sense that many dog owners use krill oil to help treat their dog’s skin and coat issues.

3. Krill Oil Can Help Support a Healthy Cardiovascular System

Like humans, dogs are at risk of developing heart disease, especially as they enter their senior years. While certain breeds have an elevated risk, any dog can suffer from some form of heart disease, which is why it is so important to support the overall health of your dog’s cardiovascular system.

It is always important to make sure your dog maintains a healthy body weight by getting enough exercise and eating a diet formulated to specifically meet your dog’s current life stage and its breed type, good omega 3 supplements can also help support heart health.

Omega 3 fatty acids help protect the entire cardiovascular system by promoting healthy blood circulation, ensuring enough nutrients and oxygen flows throughout the dog’s entire body.

While you should not view krill oil as a magical cure for heart disease, studies have shown that omega 3 supplementation can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, both of which are essential components of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

4. Krill Oil Can Help Reduce Joint Pain in Dogs

Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is another type of fatty acid found in krill oil. GLA can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory, which can help with joint-related pain in dogs, especially for those with arthritis.

There is also a belief that omega 3 supplementation supports the effectiveness of other supplements to reduce joint pain. Omega 3 fatty acids help support the digestive and cardiovascular systems. So, other supplements that your dog takes that reduce joint pain will circulate throughout the dog’s body more effectively if the dog is also taking omega 3 supplements.

Combining the antioxidants found in krill oil and the omega 3 acids helps ensure that a dog’s entire body is functioning at its best. If your dog is suffering from chronic joint pain, your veterinarian might recommend using a glucosamine supplement in addition to your preferred omega 3 supplements.

Additional Benefits of Providing Your Dog with a Krill Oil Supplement

While the benefits listed above are considered the primary reasons why dog owners are choosing to provide their dogs with a krill oil supplement, there are some additional benefits to using effective omega 3 supplements:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids can help support cognitive health and development, which is why many people choose to provide young, growing dogs with krill oil.
  • Some studies have shown a link between omega 3 supplementation and ocular health, which means that krill oil supplementation can help improve eyesight by ensuring the proper development of the dog’s visual cortex and retinas.
  • Omega 3 supplements can help regulate and reduce the occurrence of blood clots in both dogs and humans.
  • While they are not conclusive, studies show a strong link between omega 3 supplementation and the reduced occurrence of certain types of cancers. Essentially, getting a healthy amount of omega 3 fatty acids, either through food or supplements, could slow the development of certain cancers.
  • Krill oil can support proper liver function.
  • Krill oil contains high amounts of antioxidants that help protect the omega 3 fatty acids from oxidizing, which leads to better absorption. Antioxidants also help with healthy blood flow throughout the entire body.

How Much Krill Oil Should You Give Your Dog?

Like any supplement, the amount of krill oil you give your dog will depend largely on the dog’s age and weight.

Most veterinarians will recommend giving your dog a fish or krill oil dose of between 75 and 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. For example, if your dog weighs 22.7 kg or 50 lbs, you would provide that dog with no more than 2,000 mg or 2 grams of fish or krill oil per day.

If math is not your strong suit, you can use the chart below to get a rough idea of how much krill oil you should give your dog per day:

As long as you provide your dog with a high-quality krill oil capsule or drop in an appropriate dose volume, it will be safe for your dog.

Final Words

While supplements should never replace exercise and a nutritious diet, they can be an effective and affordable way to help support your furry friend’s overall health.

While there are other types of omega 3 supplements you can choose from, krill oil is a sustainable source that tends to be free from the toxins and contaminants which can be present in other types of fish oil.

If you have further questions about krill oil or any other dog-specific supplements, you can always speak with your veterinarian!