Cod liver oil supplements for dogs

Cod-liver oil can be used successfully as a supplement in your dog's diet. It provides nutrients that are beneficial to skin, coat and joints. Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of feeding it to your pet.


There are millions of dog owners in the world today, and the average person believes in taking the best possible care of his or her furry friend.  While love may very well be the most important part of providing care for a canine, there are also the following things that need to be addressed: a high-quality food, regular veterinary care including vaccinations, grooming, training, and additional supplements, such as vitamins and cod-liver oil.

What is cod-liver oil?

Cod-liver oil is an oil that is derived from fish.  It contains Omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamins A and D.

When did it first appear as a supplement?

People have been taking cod-liver oil for hundreds of years.  It seems to have taken hold in the cold fishing communities of Scotland and has become popular in many countries since.  The idea of giving it to canines appears to have been made public in about 1921 when a gentleman by the name of Sir Edward Mellanby published an article stating that he felt cod-liver oil could counteract arthritis.

How can it benefit my dog?

When given as a supplement, cod-liver oil can be beneficial in several ways.  It helps to keep joints in good working condition, which is a definite plus in many breeds that may be prone to joint disorders.  It’s helpful for geriatric dogs that may be experiencing stiffness in their legs and hips.  It has also been shown to be beneficial in younger dogs, particularly the working dog, as it is a natural energy booster.  The added bonus to dogs taking this supplement is an improvement in coat quality, sheen, and texture.

Are there different forms of cod-liver oil?

This supplement can be given as a capsule.  It commonly has gelatin included with the oil, and you can dip the capsule in low-fat peanut butter or cream cheese to make it more appealing.  It can also be poured over your dog’s food.  Act as though it’s a treat and your dog will look forward to his daily dose.

Are some types better than others?

There are many different combinations available on the market today.  You can find basic cod-liver oil with nothing else added, or you might choose a supplement that has additional ingredients, such as sunflower oil, added to the capsule.  There are quite a few variations on the market today. Be sure to read the labels and do your own research before deciding on a supplement. Talk to other dog owners, canine nutritionists, or your veterinarian.

Are there any dangers or drawbacks to feeding cod-liver oil?

There has been some concern shown over giving too high a dosage to your dog.  Before beginning any supplement, be sure to consult your veterinarian.  He or she can help you determine the correct dosage based on your dog’s weight and general health to assure a safe amount.

Where do I begin?

As always, when it comes to your pet, please consult your veterinarian before changing anything in your furry friend’s diet.  Do your research and ask opinions of people who have “been there, done that”.  Check your local pet supply center or do a search online for a large selection of oil.

We all would like our pets to be with us as long as possible. Remember that a high-quality diet, which can include supplements, can greatly increase your dog’s chances of a longer, happier and healthier life.