• Nichole Burik
  • Dog Nutrition and Member Service Specialist

  • 3 mins read time
  • Ditch your fish oil and feed Phytoplankton!

    One of the most common supplements used in a dog’s diet is fish oil - but did you know that fish oil is a processed food and treated with heat? Because of this, most fish oils go rancid before they even get to the bottle! Fish oil starts to oxidize as soon as it is exposed to oxygen, so as soon as you open the bottle and feed some to your pup, you are increasing the risk of inflammation. Some fish also contain mercury and other heavy metals while Pacific fish are suffering from radiation. Phytoplankton however contains the omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA and contains close to double the amount of omega-3 fats as fish oil and is not treated with heat or processed like fish oil is. In addition, phytoplankton are much more sustainable than fish oil. Nearly all fish oils are made from fish that are vacuumed up from the oceans. It’s estimated that fishery nets kills 300,000 whales, porpoises and dolphins each year – and from 1970 to 2012, their numbers have been split in half and our oceans are now developing dead zones.

    So, what is Phytoplankton?

    Phytoplankton are single-celled organisms that contain nearly every nutrient your dog needs. Phytoplankton have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, and use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy. They consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. It fuels the entire ocean with nutrients and can fuel your dog with essential fatty acids, trace minerals, chlorophyll, antioxidants, essential amino acids, protein, carotenoids and vitamins. Phytoplankton also require inorganic nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, and sulfur to live and grow, which they convert into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. In addition, phytoplankton is not actually a synthetic supplement, it is a whole food source!

    Why do we use it

    Digestive support: Unlike plant sources of omega-3 fats, which your dog can’t really convert all that well, phytoplankton molecules are so small that they don’t even need to be digested, making it much easier on your pup’s GI tract. Generally your dog’s digestive system has to break down food before the body can use it for energy - but the body’s mucous membranes can absorb phytoplankton, which means it delivers energy directly to the body’s cells.

    Mineral deficiency: Most dogs and people are deficient in trace minerals so it’s important to feed foods that contain the trace minerals your pup needs to thrive. Phytoplankton contains:

    Selenium - an antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative damage and prevent cancer tumors.

    Magnesium - supports heart, joint and neurological health.

    Iodine - supports the heart and lungs as well as regulates thyroid function.

    Liver function and detoxification: The liver is responsible for detoxification in the body and the absorption of nutrients. When dogs age or experience health issues, the liver can start to lose its ability to manage these jobs making it harder for the liver to absorb these nutrients. That’s where phytoplankton comes in - phytoplankton can help restore liver health without making it work twice as hard for the nutrients.

    Rich in antioxidants: The majority of dogs are exposed to extremely harmful environment pollutants like pesticides, insecticides and even chemicals that are found in cleaning products such as detergent and dryer sheets. All of these cause free radicals to release and cause oxidation in the dogs’ bodies. Since phytoplankton are a powerful antioxidant, your pup has a higher chance of avoiding joint issues, skin problems, allergies, autoimmune disorders, heart disease and even cancer. Although berries and some vegetables are antioxidants, they need to be digested first before the body can use them, unlike phytoplankton.

    Dosing phytoplankton

    Due to phytoplankton having such a high bioavailability, feeding 1/16 teaspoon to any sized dog is plenty, although some brands may have a specific feeding amount which you can go off as well. As with any addition into the diet, the devil is in the dose, so don’t over do it!

    Whilst there are some decent quality fish oils out there that are cold pressed and bottled in a glass, phytoplankton offers just as many benefits as fish oil, plus more! However, not every brand of phytoplankton is a quality source since environments aren’t always controlled when growing it. Do your research on the brand before buying and be sure its single ingredient 100% phytoplankton!