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Omega 3 Fish Oil for Cats: Benefits, Dosage, and How to Choose The Best One For Cats

If you own a cat, you may have heard about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for your feline companion.

These essential nutrients support your cat's skin and coat, immune system, joints, and cardiac health, among other aspects of their health.

Since cats cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, they must obtain them through their diet or supplements.

This article will help you select the best omega-3 fish oil supplement for your cat.

We'll discuss what omega-3 fatty acids are, why they are essential for cats, what to look for in a fish oil supplement, and how to use them safely and effectively.

Based on our research and criteria, BestForPets will also recommend the most effective fish oil supplements for cats.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to choose the right omega-3 fish oil supplement for your cat.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1. Benefits of Omega 3 for Cats

Selection of healthy unsaturated fats, omega 3 - fish, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds

Omega-3 is a category of 11 fatty acids that are essential for numerous bodily functions.

The two most prevalent omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are primarily found in marine fish oil.

Omega-3 is beneficial for cats of all ages, particularly elderly cats with chronic conditions. Here are some of the benefits of omega-3 for cats:

1.1 Omega-3 for Heart Health in Cats

By modulating blood clotting, relaxing artery walls, and preventing arrhythmias, omega-3 can help enhance the cardiovascular health of cats.

Omega-3 can also reduce the levels of triglycerides, a type of lipid that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to a study by Freeman et al. (2006), cats with heart disease who received fish oil had lower triglyceride levels and less blood clot formation.

1.2 Omega-3 for the Skin and Coat of Cats

By minimizing inflammation, itching, and dehydration, omega-3 can help keep your cat’s skin and fur healthy and shiny.

In addition to protecting your cat’s epidermis from allergens and infections, omega-3 can also strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

Cats with allergic dermatitis who were given fish oil scratched less and had fewer skin lesions than those who were not, according to a study by Mueller et al. (2004).

1.3 Omega-3 for Arthritis in Cats

By minimizing inflammation and swelling, omega-3 can alleviate joint pain and stiffness in animals with arthritis. Omega-3 can also enhance the mobility and quality of life of arthritic senior cats.

According to a study by Fritsch et al. (2010), cats with osteoarthritis who received fish oil were better able to leap and navigate staircases than those who did not receive the supplement.

1.4 Omega-3 for the Brain of Cats

By promoting the development and maintenance of brain cells, omega-3 can help improve cats’ cognitive function and memory.

Omega-3 can also help prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older animals by protecting the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.

According to a study by Pan et al. (2010), elderly cats who received fish oil demonstrated superior memory and learning abilities.

2. Dosage of Omega 3 for Cats

Conceptual image from omega-3 capsules and salmon mouth

Now that you are aware of the benefits of omega-3 for cats, you may be wondering how much omega-3 to give to your cat. The answer depends on multiple variables, including your cat’s weight, age, health, and diet.

However, the following guidelines will help you determine the proper omega-3 dosage for your cat:

2.1 How Much Omega-3 for Cats

The quantity of omega-3 recommended for cats is based on their body weight and the ratio of EPA to DHA in the supplement.

A general rule of thumb is to provide your cat with approximately 20 mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For instance, a 10-pound cat should receive approximately 200 mg of EPA per day.

However, this quantity may vary depending on the supplement’s quality and concentration.

Some supplements may contain more or less EPA and DHA than others; therefore, you should always read the label and carefully follow the instructions.

You can also consult your veterinarian for more specific recommendations based on your cat’s unique requirements.

2.2 Omega-3 Side Effects for Cats

Omega-3 is generally safe and beneficial for cats, but too much or too little can cause undesirable adverse effects. Possible adverse effects of an omega-3 overdose or underdose in cats include:

  • Symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting,
  • Weight gain or loss,
  • Bad breath or body odor,
  • Increased bleeding or bruising,
  • Impaired immune system or wound healing.

Always begin with a low dose and gradually increase it until you reach the optimal level for your cat.

Additionally, you should monitor your cat’s reaction and adjust the dosage if you observe signs of discomfort or distress.

If you have any doubts or concerns, you should promptly stop giving your cat omega-3 and contact your veterinarian.

2.3 Omega-3 Deficiency in Cats

In contrast, if your cat does not consume enough omega-3 in their diet, they may develop an omega-3 deficiency, which can result in a variety of health issues. Among the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency in cats are:

  • Dull or brittle coat,
  • Dry or flaky skin,
  • Excessive hair loss or thinning,
  • Increased susceptibility to infections and allergies,
  • Poor growth or development.

To prevent omega-3 deficiency in cats, you should provide them with a balanced and varied diet that includes omega-3 sources such as salmon, eggs, and flaxseeds.

Additionally, you can supplement your cat’s diet with omega-3 products, such as fish oil, soft chews, and algae oil. Before adding any supplements to your cat’s diet, you should always consult a veterinarian.

3. What to look for in a fish oil supplement for cats

Sources of omega-3 acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which contain numerous double bonds. Important omega-3 fatty acids for cats include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-thrombotic properties, EPA and DHA are the most beneficial omega-3 fatty acids for cats. In addition, they support the health of the skin, coat, eyes, brain, nerves, heart, kidneys, and joints.

ALA is a precursor of EPA and DHA, but cats have a limited ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. As a result, cats need to obtain EPA and DHA directly from their diet or supplements.

There are numerous sources of omega-3 fatty acids, including fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, and algae oil. Not all sources are equally effective or appropriate for cats.

Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids for cats because it is high in EPA and DHA, that cats can readily absorb and utilize. Additionally, fish oil undergoes less processing and oxidation than other sources, making it more potent and pure.

When selecting a fish oil supplement for your cat, you should evaluate the product’s quality and safety. Here are some considerations:

3.1 Third-party testing: Look for products that have been evaluated for potency, purity, freshness, and contaminants by independent laboratories. This ensures that the product meets both the manufacturer’s standards and claims and is free of hazardous substances such as mercury, PCBs, and dioxins.

3.2 Certification: Additionally, look for products that have received certification from reputable agencies like NSF International or USP Verified. This indicates that the product was manufactured in accordance with stringent quality control guidelines and is compliant with industry regulations and standards.

3.3 Expiration date: Look for products with a clear expiration date printed on the label or packaging. This indicates that the product has not lost its efficacy or safety with time.

3.4 Freshness: Consider the product’s freshness by looking for a low peroxide value (PV) or an antioxidant score (TOTOX). This indicates the product’s degree of oxidation or rancidity. Oxidation can diminish a product’s potency and quality, as well as cause disagreeable aromas or flavors. A low PV or TOTOX value indicates that a product is stable and fresh.

When selecting a fish oil supplement for your cat, consider how to compare different brands and products. Here are some tips:

3.5 Read labels: Carefully read the labels and look for information such as constituents, dosage, serving size, EPA and DHA per serving, source of fish oil, extraction method, additives or preservatives, etc. This will help you understand what you are purchasing and how to use it properly.

3.6 Read reviews: Read reviews written by consumers who have previously used the product. This will give you an idea of the product’s efficacy, safety, and palatability for cats. You can also look for recommendations from veterinarians or other experts.

3.7 Compare prices: Compare prices by considering the cost per serving or per gram of EPA and DHA among different products. This will help you find the best value for your money and avoid overpayment or underdosing.

To find the best omega-3 fish oil supplement for your cat, it’s important to compare prices and consider the cost per serving or per gram of EPA and DHA among different products, as mentioned in the article “Best Omega 3 Fish Oil For Cats“.

4. How to use fish oil supplements for cats

Products sources of Omega-3 acids

Consult your veterinarian before administering any fish oil supplement to your cat.

Your veterinarian can advise you on whether your cat requires omega-3 supplementation, the appropriate dose, the dosage frequency, and any potential adverse effects or drug interactions.

The quantity of EPA and DHA in the supplement, the cat’s weight, and the cat’s health status all play a role in determining the dose of fish oil supplements for cats.

For example, if your cat weighs 10 pounds, you may provide them with about 200 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day.

This is only a general guideline, and you should follow the instructions on the product label or your veterinarian’s recommendations for the specific product you are using.

Some products may have varying concentrations or serving sizes, necessitating dosage adjustments. You may combine the liquid or capsule with your cat’s food or water or administer the medication directly into their mouth.

Fish oil may not appeal to the taste or odor of some cats, so you may need to experiment with various methods or products to discover the one that works best for your cat.

The product should be stored in a cold, dark location away from heat, light, and moisture. To ensure the product’s freshness and efficacy, you must also use it within the recommended shelf life or expiration date.

You should observe your cat’s reaction to the supplement and adjust the dosage or dosage schedule as necessary.

Within a few weeks of administering the supplement, you may observe changes in your cat’s skin, coat, behavior, vitality, or appetite.

However, some benefits, such as heart health, may take longer to manifest. You should also be aware of any potential risks associated with the use of fish oil supplements for cats, including:

4.1 Diarrhea, vomiting, or indigestion: An excessive amount of fish oil can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and an upset stomach in some cats.

You can reduce the supplement’s dose or frequency or switch to a different product to avoid these side effects.

4.2 Bleeding disorders: Fish oil can thin the blood and inhibit blood coagulation, which can increase your cat’s risk of bleeding or injury. This can be hazardous if your cat has a wound, is undergoing surgery, or has a bleeding disorder.

Consult your veterinarian before giving your cat fish oil supplements if they have any of these conditions or are taking any medications that affect blood coagulation.

4.3 Vitamin E deficiency: Fish oil can deplete the essential antioxidant vitamin E in your cat’s body, which protects cells from oxidative injury.

A deficiency in vitamin E can lead to skin issues, muscle frailty, and immune system disorders in your cat. You should give your cat both vitamin E and fish oil supplements to prevent this problem.

5. Conclusion

Omega 3 gel capsules

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that can significantly enhance your cat’s health and wellbeing.

Cats cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, so they must obtain them through their diet or supplementation.

Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids for cats because it is high in EPA and DHA, which cats can easily absorb and use.

When selecting a fish oil supplement for your cat, you should evaluate the product’s quality and safety, including third-party testing, certification, expiration date, and freshness.

You should also compare brands and products based on their ingredients, dosage, serving size, EPA and DHA per serving, source of fish oil, extraction method, additives, or preservatives.

Before giving your cat any fish oil supplement, you should consult with your veterinarian and follow their instructions on how to use it safely and effectively.

Additionally, you should adjust the dosage or administration as necessary and observe your cat’s reaction to the supplement.

Within a few weeks of administering the supplement, you may observe improvements in your cat’s skin, coat, temperament, vitality, and appetite.

However, some benefits, such as musculo-skeletal health and cardiac function, may take longer to manifest.

BestForPets hopes that this article has helped you select the optimal omega-3 fish oil supplement for your cat. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Dr. Kathleen Champ

Dr. Kathleen W. Champ is a veterinarian and medical writer with more than 15 years of expertise in small animal, general care, surgery, and emergency medicine. As a lifetime animal advocate, Dr. Kathleen W. Champ has devoted her professional life to delivering great care for animals.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Kathleen Champ

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