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The Benefits of Cod Liver Oil for Cats and Dogs

The Benefits of Cod Liver Oil for Cats and Dogs

Hundreds of years ago, stray cats would gather by the docks in harbour towns and fishing villages, eating any fish that were thrown or fell overboard from the fishing boats unloading their catch. The fish not only satisfied the hungry felines’ appetites – they also contained valuable fish oil, which provided a wide variety of health benefits that ensured the cats were able to live long and healthy lives.

This brief article looks at the reasons for giving cod liver oil to your dog or cat. It will consider the health benefits associated with fish oils, and then look at how best to administer the treatment for maximum effect.

Healthy Skin and Fur

If you start giving your dog or cat fish oil on a regular basis, one of the first changes you are likely to see is an improvement in the condition of their skin and coat. Fish oil is often suggested as a treatment for cats and dogs suffering from dry, flaky skin, which can be caused by many things from allergies to bathing too frequently. The oil acts as a moisturiser, preventing the skin from getting too dry and adding a bit of gloss and shine to the fur.

The key ingredient is the omega 3 fatty acids contained in the oil. These are what make fish oil so healthy for both animals and humans alike.

Healthy Heart and Kidneys

As well as helping with the skin and fur, omega 3 is known to be good for the heart and kidneys too. Tests have shown that it can limit the chances of cats developing serious kidney disease as they get older. These tremendously useful fatty acids also work to thin the blood, meaning that they can help ensure a regular heartbeat.

Joint Care

Perhaps the most common reason for giving fish oils to cats and dogs is to maintain healthy and supple joints, particularly when they getting old and at risk of losing their mobility. Again it is the omega 3 that is the active ingredient, as it lubricates muscles to keep them flexible and prevent them from stiffening up.


Cod liver oil is now one of the most widely used veterinary medicines, and is seen as a safe, natural alternative to the drugs and steroids designed to treat similar conditions. Nevertheless, there is still a small danger of side effects if these oils are given too frequently, and consequently most dog or cat owners give no more than one tablet a day. Ten weeks is a good period to give fish oil supplements for, as this will give you enough time to monitor how your dog or cat responds to it, and whether it has any observable benefits.

The risks of giving too much fish oil are minimal, but signs to look out for include symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea. If these occur soon after starting a course of cod liver oil supplements, if may be worth consulting a vet to see if the two things are connected.