Can I Give My Dog Cod Liver Oil

Can I Give My Dog Cod Liver Oil?

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Yes, you can give your dog cod liver oil. Cod liver oil, which has long been valued for its health benefits in humans, may also benefit our canine companions. This oil contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A & D, all important for dogs’ health. 

Cod liver oil can benefit your dog’s health in various ways, including joint flexibility, immune system enhancement, and improved coat quality. However, incorporating this supplement into your pet’s diet is not without complications. The goal is to administer the optimum dosage to reduce the risk of vitamin poisoning while ensuring the product’s quality and compatibility for dogs. So, let’s explore the benefits and risk factors of using cod liver oil on our pets. 

Nutritional advantages of cod liver oil for dogs

Cod liver oil is an effective supplement for dogs, providing numerous health benefits for its high levels of omega-3, vitamins A & D. Let’s get into the specifics of these characteristics: 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are necessary lipids that dogs cannot make for themselves. They have been shown to reduce inflammation, which helps with illnesses such as arthritis and makes it simpler for dogs to move around. They also improve heart health and cognitive function, especially for elderly dogs.

Vitamin A: is important for maintaining clear vision, immunological function, and skin health. It also benefits dogs in various ways, including maintaining a lustrous coat and promoting normal muscle and nerve function.

Vitamin D: Unlike humans, dogs cannot generate vitamin D from sunshine; thus, they must consume it. Vitamin D is needed for health of bones and calcium management. It helps maintain your dog’s bones healthy and regulates calcium, which helps keep them strong and prevents disorders like rickets.

Health benefits of Cod liver oil

Is cod liver oil good for dogs? Well, yes. Incorporating cod liver oil into a dog’s diet not only supports joint health, immune function, and coat quality but also plays a pivotal role in enhancing the heart and circulatory system. Let’s take a look at all the health benefits: 

Supports Joint Health:

Cod liver oil’s omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body, alleviating arthritis symptoms and enhancing joint mobility. This is especially good for senior dogs and those with joint problems.

Promotes Heart and Circulatory Health:

 A study published by Whole Dog Journal states that Omega-3 has been shown to benefit heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering triglycerides, and increasing overall blood circulation. This can result to a healthier cardiovascular system.

Enhances Skin and Coat Quality:

Cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, nourishing the skin and producing a shinier, healthier coat. It can also help minimize the prevalence of dry skin and treat disorders like eczema.

Boosts the Immune System:

Cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D important for immune system support. Vitamin A is necessary for sustaining physiological defenses against illness, whereas vitamin D modulates immunological responses..

Supports Eye Health:

Vitamin A is essential for eye health, and regular supplementation with cod liver oil can help avoid vitamin A deficiency, potentially lowering the risk of eye problems and enhancing night vision.

Aids in Brain Development:

For pups, the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil are vital for brain development, contributing to cognitive function and potentially leading to a more intelligent, trainable dog.

How much cod liver oil is recommended for dogs?

The dosage of cod liver oil for your dog is determined by their size, weight, and overall health. As a general guideline:

  • Small dogs require a few drops to a quarter teaspoon every day.
  • Medium dogs can consume up to half a teaspoon per day.
  • Large dogs can consume up to one teaspoon daily.

To ensure your dog’s tolerance, start with a tiny dose and gradually increase to the prescribed amount. Add cod liver oil to improve the taste of your dog’s food.

Risks of Cod liver oil

While cod liver oil is useful, it can pose hazards if not provided correctly:

Vitamin A Toxicity: Excess vitamin A can cause toxicity, manifesting as fatigue, weight loss, digestive problems, and, in extreme cases, liver damage.

Vitamin D Toxicity: Excess vitamin D can cause bone abnormalities, muscle weakness, and potentially major health complications such as renal failure.

Fishy Breath or Odor: A mild side effect, but one to consider if your dog spends a lot of time near your face.

Diarrhea or Stomach trouble: As with any dietary change, adding cod liver oil may produce digestive disturbance in certain dogs.

Also, read the uses of fish oil pills for your dog at Vetgen Pharmaceuticals

COD liver oil for dogs

How do I choose Cod liver oil for my dog?

When considering adding cod liver oil to your dog’s diet for its numerous health advantages, it is critical to understand the regulatory and safety requirements. 

Human-grade standards:

 Look for cod liver oil that fulfills human-grade requirements. These products have undergone more stringent testing and are of higher quality. This guarantees that the oil is devoid of potentially dangerous impurities such as heavy metals (e.g., mercury) and other pollutants found in fish products.

The source and method of extraction of cod liver oil can considerably impact its quality. Cold-pressed or molecularly distilled cod liver oil is better since it preserves essential ingredients while eliminating contaminants.

Pet Food Supplement Regulations:

 In many areas, pet’ supplements, such as cod liver oil, are regulated to ensure their safety during animal ingestion. These regulations may prescribe labeling requirements, including nutritional information, dose guidelines, and health claims.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) gives guidelines for regulating pet foods and supplements in the United States. 

Local and International criteria:

 Depending on where you reside, cod liver oil products may be required to meet additional local or international criteria. It’s worth looking into these to guarantee that the product you purchase is compatible.

There are a few brands that are well-regarded for their human-grade fish oil and cod liver oil products, which might also be suitable for pets if they meet the guidelines previously discussed: 

  1. Nordic Naturals: Nordic Naturals is known for its excellent purity and sustainability standards, and veterinarians frequently recommend its fish oil products. It specializes in human supplements but also offers pet-specific goods.
  2. Carlson Labs: has a long history of providing high-quality fish oils, including cod liver oil. They are known for their attention to freshness, potency, and purity.
  3. Green Pasture: is well-known for its fermented cod liver oil, a unique product high in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Its traditional processing processes preserve the oil’s inherent nutrients.
  4. Dr. Mercola: Offering a range of supplements, Dr. Mercola produces high-quality cod liver oil, focusing on purity and health benefits. They often emphasize products free from synthetic additives.
  5. Life Extension: Life Extension offers a variety of supplements, which includes fish oil and cod liver oil products. It is known for its rigorous testing protocols and research-backed formulations.


Cod liver oil can be a useful addition to your dog’s diet, providing various health benefits. Supplementation should be cautiously approached to obtain the best results for your pet, focusing on quality, dosage, and safety.  

Remember, the goal is to improve your pet’s health and quality of life, and making informed decisions based on reliable information and veterinary guidance is critical to accomplishing this goal.