Can I Give My Dog Fish Oil Capsules for Humans?


can i give my dog a fish oil capsule

Are you giving your dog, human, over the counter fish oil capsules? Depending on the your capsule ingredients, you might want to reconsider.

Can I give my dog over the counter fish oil?  Yes.  But you might be better off with the poke and squeeze method.  Two very good reasons not to give your dog a fish oil capsule to swallow:

  • Prolonged Discomfort
  • Capsule/Gel cap Chemical Ingredients

Some Capsules are made with Chemicals that test ‘unsafe for animals.’

Let’s review both in detail and then you can make an informed decision.

Fish Oil Capsule Ingredients

It’s Gelatin Right?

According to Capsugel, a major manufacturer of capsules, and Wikipedia, an online cooperative encyclopedia, most soft gel capsules are made from gelatin. We all know gelatin; it’s how we get jiggly desserts, puddings and marshmallows. 

In fact, gelatin is made from collagen that has been extracted from animal skin and bones. Seems harmless enough to accept that capsules are made from animal collagen and our dogs eat animal fat and gelatin anyway.  

Clearly, unless your dog is allergic to gelatin, it’s safe, but here is where things get complicated:

I’ve been researching fish oil for years. My dog gets fish oil capsules and when I look at the back of the bottle, the capsule ingredients are: gelatin (bovine), glycerin and purified water.  

However, when I look at a cheaper, but extremely popular brand of fish oil capsules, (be it for dog or human) the capsule ingredients are as follows: 

Gelatin, Glycerine, Water, Methacrylic, Acid Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Monostearate, Triethyl Citrate, Tocopherols, and last but not least: Propylene Glyclol  

Is that what you want to be giving your dog along with her fish oil capsules?  Probably not.

Here is just a tiny snippet of a publicly available material safety data sheet from Science Lab.com out of Houston, Texas – regarding Polysorbate 80:

  • Section 11: Toxicological Information Routes of Entry: Polysorbate 80
  • Toxicity to Animals: Acute oral toxicity (LD50): 25000 mg/kg [Mouse].
  • Chronic Effects on Humans: Not available.
  • Other Toxic Effects on Humans: Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.
  • Special Remarks on Toxicity to Animals:Lethal Dose/Conc 50% Kill:LD50 [Rat] – Route: Oral; Dose: 34500 ul/kg
  • Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans:May cause adverse reproductive effects based on animal test data. No human data found.May cause cancer based on animal test data. No human data found.May affect genetic material (mutagenic)
  • Animal studies have shown it to cause cardiac changes, changes in behavior …

We are looking to supplement omega-3 likely because our dog is suffering from a skin condition or inflammation and we don’t need any more complications.   Unfortunately, with such great demand for “low cost fish oil” manufacturers pump out products that contain ingredients we didn’t ask for.

Unwelcome chemicals are one great reason to NOT be giving your dog the exterior portion of fish oil capsules.

Let’s move on to reason #2.

Can a Dog Easily Swallow a Fish Oil Capsule

Just because a dog is big in size doesn’t mean she’ll have an easy time swallowing a fish oil capsule.  If you’ve ever taken fish oil capsules yourself, you know the larger style is not so easy to swallow.

Even after you do swallow the mammoth pill, it sure seems to take its time reaching its final destination, and sometimes feels – just plain stuck.

If you haven’t ever tried to swallow a fish capsule; please try it.  Attempt it a couple of times so you know the feeling before giving your dog the fish oil capsules.

The last thing you want to do when trying to help your dog is create pain or discomfort and giving a big fish oil capsule could absolutely cause pain or discomfort.

Safest Way to Give Your Senior Dog Fish Oil Capsule

Even if you’ve got capsules that are made of just gelatin and water, this method ensures your senior dog doesn’t experience any pain or discomfort, which might come from swallowing a large capsule. 

The Poke and Squeeze Method – this is the more popular way to give a fish oil capsule to your dog.  Have your dog’s food ready and, use a clean tack or other short, sharp object (espresso machine pinhole cleaner works well).  Do not use a knife.

Hold the capsule gently and vertically (oblong) directly over your dog’s dish.   Find the very tip of the capsule and poke a hole in the tippy top portion of the capsule.  If you are squeezing too hard, the oil will squirt out, so hold the fish oil capsule gently. 

After you’ve poked the capsule at its most northern tip, invert and squeeze the fish oil onto your dog’s food, discard the capsule – especially if it’s just loaded with chemicals.

When is Giving a Dog the Fish Oil Capsules Okay?

If you’ve invested in top quality krill oil, the kind made by small batch artisans like Captain’s Krill, you should be able to give your dog the whole fish oil capsule.  To learn more about Krill and Omega-3 supplements for dogs, I wrote an in-depth article based on months of research. You can Read it HERE Fish Oil for Dogs.

These high quality softgels offer the same amount of omega-3 in a smaller amount because the quality is infinitely better.  Therefore, these capsules are a lot smaller and very easy to swallow.  Plus, their krill fish oil capsule is made out of gelatin, glycerin and purified water, which is safe for humans and your dog. If you want to know what Krill Oil I give My dog and where to Buy it You can Read: Krill Oil – The Brand for Me and My dog.

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