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Can Dogs Eat Cod Liver Oil

Can Dogs Eat Cod Liver Oil

3 min read

What is cod liver oil? 

Cod liver oil is pretty much what you already suspect: a fish oil that is made from the liver of cod fish. The process usually involves dicing the liver into small pieces, simmering it and capturing the oil that raises to the surface.

The cod fish lives in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and it’s one of a handful of fish that are important sources of two particular types of omega-3 fatty acids known best by their acronyms: EPA and DHA.

Can dogs have cod liver oil?

Usually, dogs can eat cod liver oil without any side effects. As long as it comes from a reliable source, this addition to their diet typically has no toxic substances that are known to be harmful to dogs. However, it’s important to discuss with your vet before offering your dog cod liver oil. Oftentimes, they already have all the nutrients they need from their specially-formulated dog food and there is no need for supplementing their diet.

Is cod liver oil good for dogs?

Cod liver oil possesses important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D. Omega 3 is important in supporting healthy fur and skin, and has anti-inflammatory qualities among other benefits. Vitamin A has a role in immune function and eye health, whereas Vitamin D supports bone health. 

Don’t forget that for most dogs a balanced diet of dog food contains all the nutrients they need. However, some dogs may benefit from cod liver oil supplements – those with certain types of skin or joint disease for example. So, if you’re wondering whether cod liver oil is good for your dog, it is best to talk with your vet. If supplements are needed due to your dog’s age, size, or health conditions such as arthritis, ask your vet if cod liver oil for dogs is a good option. Your vet will consider your pet’s particular needs and advise accordingly.

How to offer cod liver oil to your dog

Cod liver oil for dogs is usually available as a liquid, or as a tablet or capsule. All versions can be mixed with their regular food and dog treats, so feeding them the oil should go smoothly.

There are no set-in-stone rules for the dosage. This depends on many factors, including what their diet consists of, how old your dog is, if they are a small or a big breed and if they have any particular health conditions. All this information will be needed by the vet to recommend the appropriate dosage when it comes to cod liver oil for dogs.

The risks of giving cod liver oil to dogs

If your vet has given you the go-ahead for supplementing your dog’s diet with cod liver oil, here are a few risks to be aware of:

Unreliable sources

Not all cod liver oil comes from safe sources. So, make sure you’re getting it from reputable brands.


whether you dog already takes similar supplements or their usual food already offers them the right balance of nutrients, adding extra nutrients to their diet may result in the diet becoming unbalanced and at worst can even end up being harmful. Having too much cod liver oil can lead to health issues. These would usually be mild – digestive upsets for example. However, large amounts could result in vision problems caused by an excess of vitamin A or even kidney disease caused by too much vitamin D. That is why it is always best to follow your vet’s advice when giving your dog supplements.

Supplements not designed for pets

It is often best to offer cod liver oil supplements that are specifically for dogs but your vet will advise you on what is best for your pet.

Unusual signs to look out for when offering dogs cod liver oil

As long as you follow your vet’s instruction, cod liver oil should be a safe way to supplement a dog’s diet. However, you should keep an eye out for unusual symptoms, especially if this is the first time they’ve been offered this type of fish oil. The most immediate troublesome sign is an upset stomach. This happens more often with pets with a history of gastrointestinal issues.

Now that you know more about cod liver oil for dogs, check out our guide on balanced dog diets.