Essential Guide to Oils for Dogs: Skin, Coat, Health, and Age-Related Care
Optimising your dog’s health often hinges on the right nutritional choices, and incorporating specific oils into their diet or topical treatments can have profound effects. This guide explores the best natural and marine oils, such as Algal, Coconut, Rapeseed, Hemp, Flaxseed, Avocado, Walnut, Sunflower, Chia Seed, Grapeseed, and Palm Oil, and their specific roles in addressing various canine health issues.
Best Oils for Dog Skin and Coat
A lustrous coat and supple skin in dogs are not just about aesthetics; they reflect overall health. Oils like Coconut, Hemp, Flaxseed, Salmon and Algal are packed with essential fatty acids that nourish the skin and fur. Coconut oil, specifically, contains lauric acid which strengthens skin tissues and adds a healthy sheen to the coat. Hemp oil is rich in Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), an Omega-6 that maintains skin hydration and minimises dryness and flakiness. Flaxseed oil, abundant in Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), an Omega-3 fatty acid, helps in reducing inflammation and improving the coat’s health.
Algal and Salmon oils provide a host of skin and coat benefits. As the best sources of Omega 3 including DHA, EPA and DPA, they not only have highly effective anti-inflammatory properties but DPA particularly helps nourish the skin and coat of dogs, improving their overall appearance and reducing issues like dryness, itchiness, and excessive shedding. It also aids in maintaining a healthy skin barrier, protecting against environmental irritants and allergens. (1, 2)
Of all the marine sources of Omega-3’s, algal oil is the premium source – it is where the ‘fatty’ fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna) get their Omega-3 from through eating algae, seaweed and kelp. The plus to algal oil and seaweed is that there is negligible risk of the heavy metal toxicity associated with salmon oil, it also reduces the risks associated with chronic overfishing and acts a a positive carbon sink. A win for your dog and the environment.
Best Oils for Dogs with Itchy Skin
For dogs suffering from itchy skin, the anti-inflammatory properties of oils like Coconut and Hemp are invaluable. They provide relief from irritation and reduce the need for constant scratching. The topical application of Coconut oil can quickly soothe hot spots and dry patches, while oral Hemp oil supplements can address systemic skin itchiness.
As outlined above, the Omega 3’s found in algal oil, seaweed and salmon oil, are amongst the most effective in supporting dogs with itchy skin conditions.
Best Oils for Dogs with Allergies
In canine allergies, anti-inflammatory oils such as Flaxseed and Fish oils, and now increasingly Algal oil, are recommended. While flaxseed oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids ALA it does not contain the very important EPA and DHA, and the ‘new’ Omega-3, DPA (Docosapentaenoic acid), which help modulate the immune system’s response to allergens. This can lead to reduced severity of allergic reactions. Introducing new oils to dogs with allergies should be gradual as part of any transition.
Best Oils for Dogs with Kidney Disease
Kidney health in dogs can be supported with Omega-3 rich oils like Algal and Fish oils. These oils assist in decreasing inflammation and protecting renal function. Their anti-inflammatory properties are particularly beneficial in chronic kidney disease, helping to preserve kidney function over time. (3) However, the introduction of these oils should be discussed with a veterinarian, as dietary modifications are often crucial for dogs with kidney disease.
Best Oils for Dogs with Cancer
In dogs undergoing cancer treatment, Omega-3 fatty acids from Fish, Flaxseed, and Algal oils can be particularly supportive (4). These oils aid in reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system naturally, which can be compromised during cancer treatments. They also help in improving the quality of life and may mitigate some side effects of chemotherapy. However, the specific type and dosage of oil should be tailored to each dog’s condition and treatment plan, in consultation with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist or herbalist.
Best Oils for Dogs’ Liver Health
For liver health, oils that facilitate detoxification and support liver function are beneficial. While specific liver-supportive oils like Milk Thistle are often cited, general supportive oils such as Fish and Algal oils also play a crucial role. They help in reducing liver inflammation and oxidative stress, thereby aiding liver function and health. However, for dogs with existing liver conditions, these oils should be given under veterinary supervision.
Best Oils for Dogs with Dementia and Cognitive Decline
Cognitive function in dogs, particularly those experiencing dementia, can be supported by oils like Coconut, Algal (seaweed) and Fish oils. Coconut oil provides medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which serve as an alternative energy source for the brain, potentially aiding cognitive function. Fish and Algal oils, rich in DHA, contribute to brain health maintenance. Consistent and long-term use is essential for these benefits to manifest.
Best Oils for Dog’s Paws
Coconut and Almond oils are excellent for maintaining healthy dog paws. These oils provide moisture and hydration, protecting the paw pads from cracking and dryness. When applying these oils, it’s important to ensure they are well absorbed to prevent any slippery residue.
Best Oils for Dog’s Ears
For maintaining ear health in dogs, Coconut oil is a great choice. Its antimicrobial properties help in keeping the ears clean and preventing infections. When using oil in the ears, it’s crucial to be gentle and avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal.
Best Oils for Old Dogs
Senior dogs can greatly benefit from oils like Coconut and Omega-3 rich Fish and Algal oils. These oils support joint health, cognitive function, and overall vitality. As older dogs have different metabolic rates and health needs, the dosage and type of oil should be carefully adjusted and introduced under veterinary guidance.
Incorporating the right oil into your dog’s dietary regime can significantly enhance their health and quality of life. While these oils offer numerous benefits, it’s important to consider potential side effects and to consult with a veterinarian, particularly for dogs with specific health conditions. These natural remedies, when used appropriately, can be a powerful part of a holistic approach to your dog’s wellbeing.
In collaboration with veterinary herbalists and canine nutritionists, Bonza was formulated to provide support for the myriad of health issues and conditions your dog may face during their life.
As inflammation is at the root of most conditions, Bonza’s Superfoods and Ancient Grains vegan dog food formula incorporates the most clinically researched anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients to best support your dogs against these most common health issues in a natural, and holistic fashion.
Bonza was developed to provide natural health support using the powerful, and highly beneficial, medicinal properties plant-based oils offer our dogs (and us!)