Reviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Krill oil for dogs is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which provide numerous health benefits for dogs. These fatty acids not only mitigate skin allergies, strengthen the cardiovascular system, and fortify the joints, but also help to ease kidney disease, improve cognitive function, and protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
To help dog owners decide if they should include krill oil in their dog’s diet, we have researched its top five health benefits and potential drawbacks.
What Is Krill Oil?
Different from fish oils, krill oil is made from small crustaceans with a shrimplike appearance called krill. These tiny creatures are commonly found on the coastlines of Antarctica, Canada, and Japan.
Krill oil supplements have become popular among pet owners due to the several health benefits they offer to dogs and cats. You will know more about these as you continue reading.
5 Health Benefits of Krill Oil to Dogs
What does krill oil do for dogs? Krill oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that dogs need. It is also rich in free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
Let us take a closer look at the many health benefits your pooch can acquire from krill oil:
1. High Omega-3 Absorption Rate
Is krill oil better than salmon oil for dogs? Yes, krill oil is better than salmon oil for dogs, particularly regarding their omega-3 absorption rate.
Fish oils such as salmon oil contain omega-3 fatty acids in triglyceride form. On the other hand, krill oil for dogs possesses phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids.
Phospholipid is more tightly packed than triglyceride. This means it can easily pass through your dog’s intestinal wall cell membrane, which gives it a higher omega-3 absorption rate.
Thus, your pooch will more likely reap all the health benefits of omega-3 krill oil for dogs compared to salmon oil.
2. Protects and Boosts the Immune System
Krill oil for dogs contains high levels of a natural antioxidant known as astaxanthin.
It has an impressive antioxidative capacity, which is 10 times higher than alpha and beta-carotene as well as lutein. Compared to vitamin E, the astaxanthin in krill oil is 100 times higher in antioxidative capacity.
This makes it a powerful antioxidant that can greatly help eliminate free radicals from your dog’s body, especially older dogs. This ability also improves his immunity against several health problems, which we will discuss below.
3. Promotes Healthy Heart and Blood Circulation
Krill oil’s EPA and DHA fats, along with its antioxidants, keep your dog’s heart healthy and improve its function. They also work together to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as improve blood circulation.
This lowers the dangers of heart problems such as stroke and heart attack. Moreover, it also enables the proper transportation of oxygen and essential nutrients throughout the body.
4. Good for the Joints
As we have mentioned, krill oil for dogs supports good cardiovascular function and proper blood circulation. This enhances your dog’s joint health as he will receive all the nutrients needed to keep them strong.
The antioxidative properties of krill oil for dogs play a part in maintaining strong joints. Because it fights off and reduces free radicals in the body, your dog will have lower chances of suffering from weakened joints.
Most importantly, the phospholipid omega-3s in krill for dogs lessens food cravings. Thus, dogs are less likely to overeat, preventing obesity that may cause canine arthritis.
5. Helps Alleviate Skin Allergy Symptoms
Using krill oil for dogs with allergies will help alleviate inflammation caused by their bodies’ reactions to foreign irritants in their bodies.
The omega-3 fatty acids’ anti-inflammatory properties handle this problem. Using krill oil for dogs with itchy skin also does well in soothing irritated skin.
Dermatological conditions such as hotspots and dandruff caused by allergies are also alleviated, thanks to its omega-3 fats for dogs. Overall, this promotes healthy skin and coats in pooches.
Krill Oil for Dogs’ Side Effects
There are a few minor and major concerns about krill oil’s side effects not only on pooches but also on the environment. Here are the most common issues about krill oil for dogs:
1. Stomach Problems
Currently, the appropriate dosage of krill oil for dogs remains undetermined. Dog owners should be mindful of how much they give to their canine companions.
Ingesting large amounts of krill oil can lead dogs to experience diarrhea and vomiting.
2. Spikes Up Blood Sugar
Krill oil for dogs is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to regulate blood sugar levels. On the contrary, administering large amounts of omega-3 fats can potentially cause the opposite effect.
It can suddenly increase blood glucose levels. For this reason, it is not a good idea to add krill oil to a diabetic dog’s diet.
3. Interferes with Blood Clotting
Excessive consumption of krill oil for dogs can alter the platelet function. This is caused by the oil’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, it can thin your dog’s blood and slow down wound healing.
Dogs set to undergo surgery should not be given krill oil since it can disrupt their body’s blood-clotting ability and cause bleeding.
4. Unsustainable Resource
Many people claim that krill oil is a sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, as the demand for krill oil grows, this possibility dwindles further.
Krill fishing is commonly carried out in Antarctica. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) oversees krill fisheries in the area.
As of now, the annual krill harvest produces about 300,000 tonnes, the precautionary catch limit is set at 5.6 million tonnes, and the total estimated krill biomass is 60.3 million tonnes.
While it is believed that catching this much Antarctic krill does not affect the ocean’s ecosystem, in the long run, it will. Many concerned environmentalists warn that krill fishing competes with animals in the Antarctic waters.
For instance, krill is a food source for whales, and around 2 to 5 tons of them are eaten by these marine mammals. That makes 794 million tons a year. This along with krill fishing, might wipe out the whole species of these tiny crustaceans.
5. At Risk of Chemical Contamination
Many dog owners ask, “Is krill oil poisonous to dogs?” No, proponents state that krill is less likely to absorb toxins because it belongs at the bottom of the food chain.
Thus, although krill and fish oil are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, krill oil is safer than fish oil.
However, some critics raised concerns about the rising demand for krill oil, which leads to more fishing. This can result in the contamination of krill with chemical pollutants, toxins, and heavy metals.
To find a safe krill oil for dogs, select a brand with the yellow seal of NASC (National Animal Supplements Council). This organization inspects pet supplement manufacturers and ensures that the product is safe and of high quality.
How Much Krill Oil Is Safe for Dogs?
The ideal dosage of krill oil for dogs will depend on its concentration of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
75 to 100 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA per kilogram of body weight is the recommended amount for dogs. So a 15-kilo (30-pound) dog will need around 1,125 to 1,500 combined EPA and DHA from krill oil.
Keep in mind that different products contain different amounts of omega-3s. Make sure to read the product description to know how much combined EPA+DHA each krill oil for dogs offers.
Does Your Dog Need Krill Oil?
Dogs do not necessarily need krill oil to supplement their omega-3 fatty acid intake.
Although krill oil is full of DHA and EPA, it lacks other healthy anti-inflammatory fats such as eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Do not worry though. There are other healthy omega-3 supplements out there for your dog that come from more sustainable resources.
What Are the Alternatives to Krill Oil for Dogs?
Some of the best alternatives to krill oil for dogs are ahiflower oil, green-lipped mussels, and hemp seed oil. They provide anti-inflammatory fatty acids to dogs without endangering the ecosystem.
1. Ahiflower Oil
Ahiflower oil is a plant-based oil that contains high levels of omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids, including stearidonic acid (SDA). SDA is a unique omega-3 fatty acid that easily converts into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In addition, ahiflower oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a potent anti-inflammatory fatty.
It is worth noting that as a plant oil, ahiflower is a fully sustainable source of oil, making it an environmentally-friendly choice.
2. Green-Lipped Mussels
Green-lipped mussels are a rich source of healthy fatty acids, including ETA, which has the highest concentration.
They also contain significant amounts of EPA and DHA, as well as glycosaminoglycans. These compounds act as anti-inflammatory agents and can help reduce pain associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, allergies, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
3. Hempseed Oil
Hempseed oil has a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Similar to ahiflower oil, it is also a good source of GLA.
However, hemp seed oil is not abundant in DHA and EPA. So you will need to pair it with another sustainable supplement, such as green-lipped mussels that contain these healthy fats.
FAQs About Krill Oil for Dogs
1. Can I Give My Dog Krill Oil Made for Humans?
No, we do not recommend giving your dog krill oil for humans. Supplements made for humans may contain added ingredients that are dangerous for your pooch.
Another important point to remember is that human krill oil and dog krill oil dosages differ.
Giving the wrong dose may be ineffective and may also trigger unwanted side effects. Thus, it would be safer to stick to using krill oil capsules for dogs.
2. Is Krill Oil Good for Dogs with Arthritis
Yes, krill oil is good for dogs with arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory omega-3 acids. They help ease arthritic pains and improve joint strength.
3. Does Krill Oil Help Dogs Shedding?
Yes, krill oil does help reduce dog shedding caused by skin issues like dandruff or skin allergies. Its omega-3 fats suppress skin inflammations, boosting coat health and enhancing hair durability.
4. Does Krill Oil Affect the Liver of Dogs?
Unlike other oil supplements like cod liver oil, there are no reports about krill oil negatively affecting the liver of dogs. So far, excessive intake will not lead to liver damage.
However, do not forget that krill oil induces other side effects like poor blood clotting and gastric distress. So avoid overdosing your dog with this supplement.
Supplementing your dog’s diet with krill oil increases his intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
These fatty acids are linked to many health benefits, such as better heart function, stronger joints, and healthy skin and coat.
However, as time passes by, krill oil for dogs has gradually become unsustainable due to high demand and overfishing. To find more sustainable alternatives, scroll through our Diet & Recipes section.