Is flax seed oil good for dog’s hair coats?

Our question this week was:

I've heard that serving a tablespoon of flax seed oil with the dog's food daily will make his coat softer. Is this true? Is it safe?

Stacy Moss

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Flax seed oil is an oil very high in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. It has been associated with anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been used in a variety of conditions including allergies, immune problem, and some forms of cancer.

As far as your question "does it work"? To be honest, it is hard to know if it works or not. I've never had a client tell me that they truly believed it worked. Most dogs get the vitamins and nutrients they need from good quality premium dog foods.

As far as if is safe – in small doses it is probably safe. However, I could not find a lot of information in the veterinary literature about its safety. I did find it in several sources as a reasonable replacement for the oil in homemade pet food recipes.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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