Understand the benefits of krill oil, when it’s most useful, and how to find the right brand for your pet.
Over the last decade, Krill Oil has become a popular supplement for human consumption—with roughly one fifth of all households having purchased it at some point—primarily for its Omega-3 properties, but also for its inherent antioxidants. Given that our pets can also benefit from both Omega-3s and antioxidants, should you be supplementing your pet’s diet with krill oil?
The short answer is yes. But perhaps not for the reason you might think…
Most manufacturers of krill oil for pets tout their oil’s Omega-3 properties. Some include fish oil blended with krill oil for “added Omegas,” while others mention astaxanthin and other antioxidants. Despite all the noise, your decision to use krill oil comes down to two simple questions:
1. Are you looking to supplement your pet’s diet with Omega-3s?
The best Omegas come from wild fish that have spent their entire lives foraging on a natural, nutrient-rich diet (farmed fish diets result in significantly lower levels of Omega-3s). While this includes wild-caught krill, oils made from wild-caught salmon, anchovies or sardines are still the most comprehensive, balanced, and concentrated Omega-3 options.
Wild salmon oil is also more bioavailable (i.e., able to be absorbed and utilized by your pet) than plant-based Omegas such as flax oil, and it addresses more than just skin and coat health—including support for the immune system, nervous system, heart, and joints—than coconut oil, which contains no Omega-3s.
If you’re considering krill oil for its Omega-3 properties, you’re better off choosing wild salmon oil… you’ll get far more Omega-3s for your money.
2. Could your pet benefit from an antioxidant supplement?
Antioxidants help proactively support your pet’s health at any age, but if your pet is elderly, battling illness, and/or has been exposed to toxins at some point in his or her life, the antioxidants in krill oil may be something to consider.
Known as “astaxanthin,” krill oil’s inherent antioxidants help counter the effects of damaging free radicals in your pet’s body. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of metabolism, but when pets are older, and/or struggling with health issues, their immune system seems not to fight the free radicals as effectively as when they were younger. Antioxidants may help neutralize the damage caused by excess free radicals.
If you’re considering supplementing your pet’s diet with antioxidants, you’re better off choosing wild krill oil.
How to choose the best krill oil
Because most krill oils are formulated primarily for Omega-3 benefits, finding one that focuses on antioxidants will require a bit of label comparison. One brand we found (see sidebar) uses a unique extraction method that yields up to eight times more antioxidants in the form of astaxanthin than the human version of krill oil.
If you’re worried about krill as a food source for whales (we certainly are), look for a brand whose source is endorsed by both the World Wildlife Fund, and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
If you get cross-eyed from all the marketing claims on the labels, choose a brand that bears the yellow NASC (National Animal Supplements Council) seal: this organization inspects and monitors pet supplement manufacturers to ensure optimum product quality and consistency, with no misleading claims or false advertising.