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Natural Canine Health Symposium

Coconut Oil vs. Fish Oil For Dogs

Have you ever wondered whether you should feed your dog fish oil or coconut oil? The truth is that both oils have wonderful nutritional assets to offer your dog. Below are some facts about both oils that you need to know:


Fish Oil

fish oil dogs


  • Fish oil is a long chain fatty acid, comprised of a chain of 18 carbon atoms
  • Fish oil is an Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat.  Fish oils are comprised of essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  These essential fatty acids are found in cold water fish.
  • EPA and DHA are highly unsaturated fats because they contain 6 and 5 double carbon bonds on their long structured chain.  Because of the double carbon bonds, fish oil is more unstable and prone to oxidation when subjected to light or high heat during storage.



  • Fish oils primarily have an anti-inflammatory effect and may help against heart disease and cancer.  EPA and DHA are converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which regulate cell activity and healthy cardiovascular function.
  • EPA and DHA in fish oils primarily improve brain function and normal eye health.  DHA is a building block of tissue in the brain and retina of the eye.  It helps with forming neural transmitters, such as phosphatidylserine, which is important for brain function.  DHA is found in the retina of the eye.
  • Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may help dogs with osteoarthritis, improving mobility and inflammation.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Dogs

  • Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, comprised of a chain of 12 carbon atoms
  • Coconut oil is a saturated fat.  Unlike the saturated fats in animal fats, which are long chain fatty acids (LCFA), coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), mainly lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid.
  • Saturated fats are made of single carbon bonds, which mean that the oil is stable and not prone to oxidation or free-radical formation.  Coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated and has shown no signs of rancidity, even after three years of storage.


  • The lauric acid in coconut oil is converted into monoglyceride monolaurin by the body, which keeps animals from getting viral, bacterial or protozoal infections.  Lauric acid is also found in abundance in breast milk so it has similar nutriceutical effects.
  • The MCFAs are broken down and used for energy production and seldom end up as body fat or as deposits in arteries.  Coconut oil gently elevates the metabolism, provides a higher level of energy and vitaility, protects from illness and speeds healing.  In dogs, the MDFAs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic.
  • Coconut oil has an anti-inflammatory effect and may help protect against cancer.  As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion and reduces allergic reactions.  MCFAs do not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol and help protect against heart disease.

Courtesy of CocoTherapy®

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  • 66 Responses to Coconut Oil vs. Fish Oil For Dogs

    1. Dobbs_rmom

      My dog has a tendency to develop bladder stones. Therefore, he’s on a restricted diet. Would coconut oil cause problems for him?

    2. Jo welch

      My pomerain has enlarged heart.. Can coconut oil and fish oil help him. If it will how much per day. Weight 9 lbs. Age 3 yes. Thanks

    3. Melinda

      My Golden Retriever has allergies, yeast issues in his ears…tested positive for coconut. Would the coconut oil be purified enough to be beneficial or should I still stay away from it? He was tested two years ago and I’m getting him tested again next week to see what has changed since we’ve moved.

    4. Tameca

      I want to start giving my dogs coconut oil and need advice on what to get and how much to use?? Heard it helps with itching too!!?? Advice please ASAP! My Chiwawa is itching bad and don’t want to use the steroids or too much Benadryl! Ty for any advice!! He’s a 11 yr old . Also have a 13 yr old Chiwawa who is having joint issues can this help? The meds vet prescribed is expensive and gave daily and gone in a month!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        This is food, so you don’t dose like you would drugs. Try a half teaspoon to a tablespoon, depending on the size of your dog to start and see where that takes you.

    5. Heather

      I have 2 Std Wire Hair Dachshunds and we attend and participate in Conformation Dog Shows on a regular basis. I have read many articles on the benefits of supplementing my dogs diet with Coconut Oil. Th only concern I have is, the coats on a Wire Hair Dachie is supposed to be course and wirey. I am concerned that supplementing my dogs may soften their coats. Has anyone ever tried given Coconut Oil to any wire coated breeds, and if so what were the results? Anxiously awaiting for any responses. Thanks Heather, Fish and the Sneakman !

      • Kathy

        Can I substitute these 2 oils for cod liver oil? I make my own dog food and the recipes call for cod liver oil.

    6. Roy

      There is no such product as extra virgin coconut oil.its marketing hype.

      • Lucy

        Virgin and Extra Virgin coconut oil is Not marketing hype. It has to do with the way it’s made. “The term for Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in the Coconut oil industry today means that this form of coconut oil processing is the most unrefined and most natural form and no artificial filtering or expeller pressing (centrifuge spinning -also known as oil polishing) is used. The oil remains in its most natural form and retains a rich smell and sweet taste of coconut.” naturepacific.com.

        My dog gets extra virgin coconut oil in his food three times a week.

        • Leslie

          so dose coconut oil work better than omega 3. Dose it really help a over weight dog lose weight I have done everything vet tells me. we have tried different things But nothing works and is a lab/mix and am concerned if don’t get weight down he will have hip and joint problems he is getting up in age

          • DogMom

            Changing to a raw meat and bones diet melted the fat off our rescued small dog who was 4 lbs overweight. That was 1/3 of her weight which means she was very obese. It’s been said here before and is so true – dogs (cats, too) aren’t meant to eat carbohydrates and that’s what makes up the majority of kibble. They can’t digest it, it spikes their blood sugar and converts to fat. It’s also a huge cause in diabetes for them. The right diet of raw meat and bones gives them amazing health and keeps them at the right weight.

    7. Nelly

      My dogs get both.

      Living on an island, we have to order these online, and it’s much easier to find quality organic coconut oil, than fish oil. We also have a supply of fresh sardines pretty much round the year here, we add some to their raw meat portion a couple of times a week, so we rarely have to buy fish oil.

      i think both are necessary, since it’s hard to find meat from grass fed animals.

    8. Loved this article- thank you for outlining the health benefits of each so clearly!

      We rotate between coconut and fish oils for the dogs in our house because of the different health benefits-it’s very clear both the dogs love both oils :)

      We only use tropical traditions coconut oil (https://secure.ttpurchase.com/71411252-E046-9151-C959E7BDBB48FFF3) because it’s the purest and certfied organic through USDA. I buy it in bulk- we use it for the dogs, for our own cooking (baking, stir fry, smoothies) and in beauty care. Great stuff!

      Not as picky (yet) on the fish oils- is there a ‘better source’ than others?

      • Levi Jacob

        Kaitlin, we use vital choice for the same reason you use tropical tradition.

    9. Lisa

      Hi I have coconut oil from the jar…Do I just give my dog the oil from the jar? It seems so thick

      • anyspecies

        Yes, go ahead and give it to your doggy. A dollop on his food. Coconut oil will solidify at a lower temperature, that is probably what you are seeing. It also melts easily, try a little on your palm and you’ll see. The best sort of course is the organic virgin coconut oil. Trader Joe’s offers it a great price–that’s where we get it.

        • Lynn

          Hi, anyspecies,

          I share my life with two wonderful cats. Would you give them a bit of coconut oil too? I give my boys a bit every once in a while and they love it, but not certain it has any benefits for cats.


          • Lori

            My cats LOVE coconut oil!

    10. Carol Ely

      Could you use coconut flakes instead?

    11. Carol Ely

      Can coconut flakes be used instead?

    12. Sandy

      What about Krill oil is it the same value of omega 3′s? Is it equally good for dogs?

    13. Sandy

      Does Krill Oil have the same benefits as fish oil for dogs?

    14. Lynn

      I switch my goldens 1-2 days on fish, then coconut, been doing this for about 15 years, no problems and great coat, teeth, no vacs and no problems.

    15. Coconut oil is especially useful to treat yeast infections and fungal infections in the dogs. Many of the immune dysregulation issues leading to yeast overgrowth are because of vaccines. Interestingly enough the yeast is a “heavy metal indicator species” and so treating with coconut oil is useful but don’t kill the messenger without getting the message, that the vaccines deliver heavy and light metal poisoning.
      Fish oils are getting more and more sparse as to the save products to use. I always get the COA on all the lots from the products I purchase to make sure of proper testing for the heavy metals. I just read where the fish from our oceans are being labeled dangerous in an article with Hippocrates Institute. My product of choice to recommend for human and animals is the Nutrilys Del Mar Wild Red Sockeye Salmon. This is a vegetarian fish that gets the omega 3 from the polar algae. Including the radiation our daily poison….instead of “our daily bread” we all have to be concerned about the source of our foods and supplements.
      Dr. Jordan

      • Brigitte Tartot

        I can not agree more! I myself have introduced coconut oil to fight my Candida Albicans infection (yeast and sugar) so why not introduce it to my dog?

    16. Debbie

      I have understood that plant based oils like hemp seed and flax seed oils cannot be broken down quickly enough in the dogs short gut to be useful. Is coconut oil different somehow? Do we know it gets broken down? Thanks…

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Animal based oils are always based because of the digestibility. However, coconut oil has some real benefits, both topically and internally, that it might very be worth trying on your dog.

      • Nancy

        I worry about giving my dogs and cats fish oil because of the Fukushima disaster as well as the pollution of the ocean.

    17. Ali

      I have tried giving both my dogs (one now deceased) both coconut oil and fish oil. The brand of fish oil I use is in capsule form and was the one given to me by my vet. The brand is Vet Solutions AllerG 3 for dogs. The dosages were: the smaller dog got one 1.000mg capsule daily, the larger got one 2.000mg capsule. I was also giving them each approximately 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of coconut oil per day, which was less than the dosage recommended based on their weight (one is approx 43#, the other was 70#).
      However, I ran into a problem doing this: BOTH the dogs began experiencing what I can only describe as ‘greasy gas.’ In other words, when they passed gas, they sometimes also excreted a little poop stained oil, which stained their bedding. Both dogs were very disconcerted when this happened, and frankly it was messy, a bit smelly and I was having to wash their dog beds almost every week. I found that I had to cut back on both the oils significantly in order to avoid this problem. I wondered if anyone else has encountered this issue? I’m also wondering if it had more to do with the high dose of fish oil than the coconut oil? Anyone have any recommendations, other than the solution I resorted to? Thanks!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        High doses of fish oil will cause loose stools …

        • Ali

          What would be considered a normal dosage of fish oil for dogs? In other words, how many mg per pound would be considered a reasonable dosage?
          It was my vet who recommended this fish oil product, and she wanted me to give it to the dogs TWICE per day! Imagine the mess I would’ve had in the house had I followed her dosage instructions. It was double what the bottle recommends. And even at the recommended dosage on the bottle, it appears to be too much.
          I have reduced the dosage to 1- 1.000mg capsule 2 x week, along with 1/2 tsp coconut oil 2 x week. I usually give them together, because she likes the taste of the coconut oil so will swallow the fish oil capsule if it’s coated with the coconut oil, no problem. However, I could prick the capsule and put in her food 2 x week and give her 1/2 t. coconut oil on alternate days 2 x week. Any recommendations appreciated!

          • Dogs Naturally Magazine

            Vets will often recommend double or triple the dose as a therapeutic dose. It might be best to follow your vet’s instructions for this reason.

      • Debbie

        Hi Ali,

        I’m just now discovering that our dogs can benefit form coconut oil too. From what I’ve read about both oils, is that, if you take too much it will cause digestive issues. Which I experienced first hand myself, after putting too much coconut oil in my smoothies. Lol. Also, with coconut oil you should introduce it slowly into your diet, to avoid this issue. I’m assuming it may be similar for dogs also. Our dogs take fish oil now and I want to add the coconut oil, so, I think I may alternate the two oils, instead of giving both at the same time. Maybe you could try the same with your dogs.

    18. Carole Mason

      For the past few months I’ve been giving my Border Collie mix approx. 1 rounded teasp. of Coconut oil at
      each of her feedings. She’s about 52 lbs. and I give it to her twice a day.

      I was thinking of giving her fish oil until I read about the inconsistency and break-down with storage, also, it’s unstable possibilities.

      So far, she and I are getting just the coconut oil. I guess I’m wondering if we’re on a good plan – or if I need to re-think this and give her both.

    19. Jen

      I give my dogs herring oil, which is produced locally from North Atlantic herrings… I also have coconut oil here, I’d like to feed a bit of each…. Is this okay to do? If so, how much per pound of body weight should I give on a daily basis? Some of my dogs are now elderly, and I do feel the herring oil has helped with their coats.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Follow the label instructions. You can double the dose for a month or so for therapeutic uses.

        • Tameca

          Where do I get this coconut oil and is it a capsule or just oil??? Dosing instructions so I don’t get upset tummy in my dogs Ty!

    20. Gabi

      Do you have titles of the studies that were done with both fish oils and coconut oils? Thanks!

    21. Christina

      Currently I alternate using both both Fish Oil and Coconut Oil. But I was curious if it was okay to feed both (e.g. fish oil in the morning, coconut oil in the evening) or if it was best only to provide one of these fats per day?

    22. We switch between both of these for our dogs (and ourselves) to reap the varied benefits of both. I think I notice a more dramatic improvement with the coconut oil, and tend to like that better b/c it’s less messy, easier to store and transport.

    23. We believe in coconut oil for sure! Not that there is anything wrong with fish oil.

    24. Irene, TARA, BANJO & CHARLIE

      your newsletter about vaccinations dosen’t download. I would love to see this article, as i only give puppy shots and eliminate some of the ones they recommend Lepto is one. can u send me a copy of the report. thanks

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Please send an email to info@dogsnaturallymagazine.com and we will send a PDF. That ebook has been successfully downloaded several thousand times so I would also check your browser settings and make sure Adobe is up to date.

        • Kathy Carden

          I would love a copy of this article please and thanks in advance.

    25. Lauren

      How do you know how much to feed your dog depending on weight for fish oil and coconut oil? I have a maltese (11 lbs no he’s not fat just abnormally large) and a golden (65lbs? possibly)

      • Lauren:

        For the fish oil…..if you are doing a liquid form the bottle will tell you how much. Usually 1 pump for small dogs and 2 for larger dogs.
        If you are doing capsules it is about the same ratio. 1 for small dogs and two for large dogs (once a day). My big dog will eat the capsules whole if I drop them in with his kibble, our little guy prefers we puncture the capsule and drizzle the oil on for him.

        If you were going to do the coconut oil it is usually recommended to do 1/4 tsp for every 10lbs of dog.

        Hope that helps!

        *Always consult your veterinarian before making dietary changes as they know your dog personally!*

        • For healthy dogs give 100 to 150 mg per 10 lbs body weight. Dogs with health problems 300 mg per body weight. Make sure to add a Vitamin E supplement because fish oil uses up the E.

    26. Ok I read the article but Im french and dont see the VS wich one is better coconut of fish
      thanks for helping me :)

      • Hi Lyne: pretty neat you’re finding this article…if I’m understanding correctly I think they meant Coconut oil VS fish oil in the sense that they were comparing the varied components and benefits of the two (compare and contrast) rather than they were trying to state that one was actually BETTER than the other.

        We switch between both of these for our dogs (and ourselves) to reap the varied benefits of both. I think as long as you are providing one or the other you’ll be doing your pups a great service.

    27. what do you think of green lipped mussel?
      hope I write it ok
      I use it for my dogs and my self
      and I use coconut oil every day for my dogs.
      someone gave me this for infos
      what do you think?

    28. I have a jar of this in my pantry. I love it for so many things. And now I see the benefits of it for my pups. They will be getting it in their food from now on.

    29. I use both for myself and my dog. I tend to lean toward coconut oil but like having the Omega to give us a “break.” The other reason I lean toward Coconut oil is many fish oils have contamination problems. I am a distributor for a natural nutrition company who does over 80K tests on their products so I’m comfortable with what I use but still like to switch it up on occasion.

      • Doreen

        I would like to start my Golden on Coconut oil………..what is the brand you distribute for?

        • I use Nutiva, found at GNC. Its Organic Extra Virgin and make sure its cold pressed.

          • Becky

            I have some used for cooking, it’s expeller pressed and certified organic,could I use that?


    1. Article in Dogs Naturally about fish oil vs coconut oil - July 8, 2013

      [...] Coconut Oil vs. Fish Oil For Dogs | Dogs Naturally Magazine Tux (black lab): DOB 8.16.08 Gotcha Day: 11.22.08 Cabo (yellow lab): DOB 1.10.09 Gotcha Day: 2.14.10 Reply With Quote [...]

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