Adding healthy oil to your puppy's food contributes vitamins, essential fatty acids and other nutritional powerhouses that will help him grow up healthy and strong. Many dog parents are aware of the benefits of fish oil, and there are many other oils that can be added to a pup's food.
Why Add Oil?
Healthy oils offer a range of benefits. They offer beneficial essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3, omega-6 fatty acid and arachidonic acid, along with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They can improve skin condition, boost immunity, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, and can help balance insulin and thyroid levels. If your puppy doesn't consume enough fat now, he can experience dry and itchy skin, dull coat, fur loss and other health issues later in life.
A Range of Choices
Fish and olive oils are two that are commonly used. Many other options exist, too. Safflower oil contains all the EFAs dogs need. Flaxseed oil is another healthy option, but should be used sparingly, as it can cause diarrhea in some dogs. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties; it also has capric and caprylic acids, containing antifungal properties.
How Much to Offer
Fats should total somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of a dog's diet, and this should begin in puppyhood. Use this percentage to calculate how much oil to add to your puppy's food over the course of the day, keeping in mind that oils have about 120 calories per tablespoon, with all of the calories coming from fat. If you're feeding commercial puppy food, check the label as your brand may have oils already added into the recipe.
When adding oil to your puppy's food, start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Monitor him and make sure the oils agree with him. If your puppy experiences diarrhea or other tummy issues, he may be getting too much oil, or the wrong type. If that happens, reduce the amount or change oils. Mixing the oil into food helps your pup's digestion and vitamin absorption. Before changing diets, consult your vet to address any concerns.