Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for cats. Typically found in coldwater fish like tuna, trout, and salmon, fish oil contains two types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA).
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of cell membranes and they help provide energy for the body. Fish oil supplements support these essential functions but may also boost your cat’s immune system and promote healthy skin and coat.
Read on to see our top picks for the best omega-3 fish oil supplements for cats.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Omega-3 Fish Oil for Cats
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Made from wild-caught Alaskan salmon oil
- Packed with EPA and DHA
- Easy to administer liquid form
- Available in 16- and 32-ounce bottles
- Rich in omega-3s from low-mercury fish
- Purified to remove fishy taste and smell
- Rich in DHA and EPA
- Fish oil from anchovies, sardines, herring, and mackerel
- Available in three sizes with pump applicator
- Made from Norwegian salmon oil
- Ultra-filtered to reduce fishy odor
- Sold in an eco-friendly aluminum bottle
- Available in both 16- and 32-ounce bottles
- Pump makes it easy to dispense
- Made with 100% sustainably-caught Alaskan salmon
- Wild Alaskan salmon oil is the main ingredient
- Contains 20mg EPA and 25mg DHA per bite
- Soft, bite-sized chews are easy to administer
- Guaranteed levels of DHA and EPA
- Snip the tip off the administer as a liquid
- Support skin, eye, joint, brain, heart, and kidney health
Our Top Picks for the Best Omega 3 Fish Oil for Cats
Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, you’re probably eager to see them!
Here are our top 10 picks for best fish oil supplements for cats:
Why Should You Give Your Cat Fish Oil Supplements?
Just like humans, cats require a balanced diet for optimal health, and that includes adequate intake of essential fatty acids.
An essential fatty acid is simply one your cat’s body can’t synthesize on its own. The essential fatty acids cats need are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which can come from dietary sources or nutritional supplements. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 fatty acids while linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are omega-6s.
Omega 3 fatty acids support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response while also supporting skin and coat health. With their anti-inflammatory benefits, omega-3s can be helpful for cats with joint disease, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, and more.
The main source for these fatty acids is cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, bakala and anchovies, but an omega-3 supplement is a great way to increase your cat’s dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
What Are the Benefits?
If you’re looking for a simple way to address an omega-3 deficiency – or you simply want to support your cat’s health in other areas – a fish oil supplement could be a good choice. Here are some of the benefits:
- Vets recommend it – Recent studies indicate that fish oil is effective in treating allergic skin disease in pets as well as certain types of cancer. The VCA also recommends it for inflammatory diseases like arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties – Omega-3 fatty acids support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response and can be beneficial for a variety of inflammatory diseases. Supports brain health – DHA plays a key role in eye and brain development in kittens, so supplementing fish oil in pregnant or nursing cats may support healthy development in kittens. It also supports continued cognitive function in adult cats.
- Helps reduce shedding – Adequate intake of essential fatty acids promotes a shiny, healthy coat, and reduces shedding. Controlling your cat’s shedding may have the added benefit of reducing issues with hairballs.
- Relieves itching – Omega 3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat and have been known to reduce the symptoms of skin allergies in cats. They can also help with dry skin and other causes for itching and scratching.
The benefits of fish oil supplements are tied to their quality. When shopping for omega-3 supplements for cats, look for pure, high-quality fish oil from a reputable company.
Avoid fish oil that comes from cod liver because it often contains vitamin A which, in high levels, can be toxic for cats. Be sure to check the best by date as well because fish oil is highly sensitive to oxidation and you don’t want to give your cat a product that has gone bad.
How Much Fish Oil To Give a Cat Daily?
There is no exact recommended dosage for fish oil because your cat’s needs may vary depending on his diet and concurrent medical conditions. Dosing fish oil can be tricky as well because different formulas contain different concentrations of EPA and DHA.
There are several ways to determine dosage for fish oil:
- Milligrams EPA + DHA per kilogram of body weight
- Grams per 100g of pet food (as fed or dry matter basis)
- Grams per 100 or 1,000 kcal of pet food
- Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3
Catherine E. Lenox, DVM, and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) offer general dosing recommendations of 30 to 50 mg of fish oil per kilogram of body weight.
PetCareRX offers the following dosage recommendations:
|Daily Dosage For Cats Over 2 Pounds|
|EPA||DHA||Total Long Chain Omega-3|
|35 mg||21 mg||71mg|
|69 mg||41 mg||143 mg|
|104 mg||62 mg||214 mg|
|138 mg||83 mg||285 mg|
|173 mg||104 mg||356 mg|
While fish oil is generally safe for cats, you should be aware of the potential for side effects. In large doses, fish oil can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats so be sure to start with a low dose and work your way up. It can also slow blood clotting, so talk to your vet if your cat is taking blood-thinning medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I give my cat human fish oil supplements?
No, it is generally not recommended that you give your cat fish oil supplements intended for humans. These often contain flavorings and other additives like xylitol (a type of sweetener) which could be harmful or toxic to cats.
What type of omega-3 fish oil is best?
Fish oil supplements typically come in capsule or liquid form, though you may find them in soft chews as well. Look for a natural omega-3 supplement made with fish oil in its triglyceride form - the form your cat would naturally consume in pet food. Fish oil supplements made with synthetic oil (known as ethyl ester) contain high concentrations of EPA and DHA but they are more difficult for your cat’s body to absorb.
How much fish oil can I give my cat?
There is no known optimal dose of fish oil for cats and your cat’s required dose varies depending on what you’re trying to treat. The recommended intake is 2.5 mg per kg of body weight or about ½ teaspoon of pure omega fish oil per day.