Are Vegetable Oil & Tuna Good for Dogs?

Vegetable oil and tuna can improve your dog's skin and coat.
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You probably keep vegetable oil and tuna in your pantry, but you might not know they're beneficial to your dog. Both improve your dog's skin and coat, making him healthier and more comfortable. Feeding your dog these together or separately comes with risks that could precipitate a messy cleanup.

How Vegetable Oil Helps Dogs

Vegetable oil can help sooth and soften dry, itchy skin, and it adds omega-6 fatty acids to the diet. You can use it topically, by rubbing vegetable oil into the skin to alleviate itching and dryness, and you can feed it directly to your dog. Dawn Logas, DMV, recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil into each meal for small dogs. Larger dogs will need 1 tablespoon.

How Tuna Helps Dogs

Tuna is beneficial for the skin and coat of a dog due to the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids also aid joint health and mobility. It is low in saturated fats and high in protein, making it a suitable treat for dogs. While there are benefits to tuna, you should never feed it to your dog as the sole source of his nutrition. Instead, add a little bit of tuna to your dog's food or give it as a treat. You should opt for light tuna that is packed in water because it is lower in mercury than albacore tuna. Being packed in water, it will also reduce the amount of fat and calories.

Tuna Packed in Water vs. Oil

While it may not seem like a big difference to you, tuna packed in oil can cause your dog to experience digestive upset, even if you drain the oil away. Too much oil is not good for a dog, no matter what type of oil it is. Not only is oil loaded with fat and calories, but if can cause loose stools and diarrhea.

Risks of Vegetable Oil and Tuna

Since too much vegetable oil can cause your dog to experience diarrhea, you better be extra-careful not to put too much in his food. With tuna, there are additional risks. You must watch for signs of an allergic reaction to tuna. While rare, some dogs can be allergic to tuna and other products that contain fish oil. If your dog experiences digestive upset, discontinue feeding him tuna as a treat. While tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, so are other types of fish, such as salmon. It's important to limit tuna intake because of the mercury. If you want to feed you dog tuna, do so sparingly.