Fish oil for behavior

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Fish oil for behavior

Postby doglove » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:37 am

I've been reading about fish oils helping children with ADHD with their behavior issues, and I recall reading somewhere that this can affect dogs, too. What kind of fish oil, how much, and when for a 6 year old dog (about 60 pounds) with anxiety/fear aggression issues? We will be working with a vet behaviorist but in the meantime, I'd like to do what I can for him.

I'm also going to try the DAP collar and spray on his blanket.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby BabyReba » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:05 am

the veterinary behaviorist we go to told us that we should find a fish oil that had the DHA and EPA content listed on the bottle so we could make sure we were giving enough to make a difference. i don't have my paperwork in front of me, but as I recall she recommended 800 mg per capsule of EPA and maybe minimum of 500 mg of DHA ... she said that not all fish oils are created equal and some have very low levels of EPA and DHA so to get a therapeutic dose, you'd have to give, like, 7 or 8 capsules. so you get the most bang for your buck just finding a higher quality oil that has higher levels of DHA and EPA in it ... we use a liquid fish oil that we get at Whole Foods and I think it's $29.99 a bottle, which lasts a few weeks. I can't say I see a measurable difference when I use it, but Button's sort of an extreme case, so ...

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby MkatUmich » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:54 am

I have no idea how fish oil affects behavior, I use it, for myself and my dogs, for purely health reasons. As already mentioned, not all fish oils are created equal. Supplements are always a tricky subject because they are not subject to the same restrictions as food or drugs(may be different outside the US, if so probably worse). The number one thing to look for is under the ingredients does it list what type of fish. If not that's a huge red flag. And make sure it isn't trying to advertise Omega-6s and Omega-9s too. I've seen brands that do this as a marketing ploy. Another huge red flag as you don't want Omega-6s and 9s, they are actually bad for you and the whole reason you are taking Omega-3s in the first place and any company that does this is just trying to steal your money. Also preferable if it has a GMP stamp on it. This is the closest you will likely come to a seal of approval with a supplement.

From a purely health standpoint I recommend fish oil to anyone, both humans and canine, unless they have a fish allergy of course.

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lilangel
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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby lilangel » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:03 am

Erin, have you tried 5-HTP yet? You had another thread about pharmaceuticals if I remember correctly. Whatever happened with that?

Results with 5-HTP would be rapid and noticeable, as opposed to something like SJW or fish oil which can take from hours to weeks to see changes. Also very few side effects.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby MarMar » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:07 pm

lilangel, do you know what the dose for 5-HTP is for dogs?

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby Red » Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:43 pm

lilangel wrote:Erin, have you tried 5-HTP yet? You had another thread about pharmaceuticals if I remember correctly. Whatever happened with that?

Results with 5-HTP would be rapid and noticeable, as opposed to something like SJW or fish oil which can take from hours to weeks to see changes. Also very few side effects.


Just wanted to add that if Erin's button is still on Reconcile then to add 5-HTP would be a problem. No medications that affects serotonin activity should be used with the 5-HTP.

MarMar, dosage of this metabolite should be experimental to a point.To give too much at the beginning can end up with nausea in the dog and low dosage would have no effect. Trials need to be made, since some dogs can be affected differently than others.Also, it is important to understand that if 5-HTP is used, there has to be monitoring of serotonin syndrome symptoms (same when using other SSRI). I have been suggesting ProQuiet (L-Tryptophan) for my clients with dogs with specific behavioral problems, because it is regulated when it comes to ingredients.

Anyway, the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine suggest this dosage, specifically for aggression:
2Mg/Kg (1 Mg/lb), PO q 12 h.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby lilangel » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:53 pm

Red wrote:
lilangel wrote:Erin, have you tried 5-HTP yet? You had another thread about pharmaceuticals if I remember correctly. Whatever happened with that?

Results with 5-HTP would be rapid and noticeable, as opposed to something like SJW or fish oil which can take from hours to weeks to see changes. Also very few side effects.


Just wanted to add that if Erin's button is still on Reconcile then to add 5-HTP would be a problem. No medications that affects serotonin activity should be used with the 5-HTP.

MarMar, dosage of this metabolite should be experimental to a point.To give too much at the beginning can end up with nausea in the dog and low dosage would have no effect. Trials need to be made, since some dogs can be affected differently than others.Also, it is important to understand that if 5-HTP is used, there has to be monitoring of serotonin syndrome symptoms (same when using other SSRI). I have been suggesting ProQuiet (L-Tryptophan) for my clients with dogs with specific behavioral problems, because it is regulated when it comes to ingredients.

Anyway, the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine suggest this dosage, specifically for aggression:
2Mg/Kg (1 Mg/lb), PO q 12 h.


All true. Although chance of serotonin syndrome is incredibly rare so as to be virtually nonexistent with 5-HTP. I've not heard of a legitimate case of this on anything approaching a proper dosage.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby lilangel » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:18 pm

ps. The above inquiry of the use of 5-HTP and the subsequent dosage advise should not be taken as a recommendation to use 5-HTP. You should seek professional assistance from a veterinary behaviorist before using such a supplement.

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Fish oil for behavior

Postby BabyReba » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:15 pm

Was offline for another (blissful) 24 hours, so sorry for the late reply. Been busy on and off lately.

Our vet behaviorist has Button on 50 mg of Prozac, which is already a high dose for his size (45 pounds) and didn't think we should monkey too much with 5-HTP. She has him on vitamin c, fish oil, and another herb called cats claw. Her philosophy was to use any supplements that might be helpful as long as they are unlikely to be harmful. And she had a limited list of herbs and supplements she supported.

So far, she has been on target, so Ive been staying with her plan. About this time last year, I was thinking that we might have to put him down. The meds and supplements and training regimen he is on now have helped him significantly. He will never be perfect, and that's ok. I just want him to be reasonably safe and happy. And he is for now. If that changes, I know we can re-evaluate the treatment plan. She has several scenarios, some of which include other pharma options, others of which would involve trying more experimental stuff.

Could go into more detail but don't want to derail thread. Shortish story is that I have no need to upset Button's apple cart right now, so no 5 HTP for the moment. That could change down the road. We'll see.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby MarMar » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:17 pm

Thanks guys for the advice. I am saving up for a trip to the vet behaviourist for my guy so we'll see what she recommends in terms of meds.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby MkatUmich » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:03 pm

lilangel wrote:ps. The above inquiry of the use of 5-HTP and the subsequent dosage advise should not be taken as a recommendation to use 5-HTP. You should seek professional assistance from a veterinary behaviorist before using such a supplement.


yeah... was reading the thread and kinda thinking the same thing. My work sells it for human consumption but I know I wouldn't recommend it without at least a nutritionist recommendation. A little more involved then just giving your dog fishoil.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby lilangel » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:49 am

BabyReba wrote:Was offline for another (blissful) 24 hours, so sorry for the late reply. Been busy on and off lately.

Our vet behaviorist has Button on 50 mg of Prozac, which is already a high dose for his size (45 pounds) and didn't think we should monkey too much with 5-HTP. She has him on vitamin c, fish oil, and another herb called cats claw. Her philosophy was to use any supplements that might be helpful as long as they are unlikely to be harmful. And she had a limited list of herbs and supplements she supported.

So far, she has been on target, so Ive been staying with her plan. About this time last year, I was thinking that we might have to put him down. The meds and supplements and training regimen he is on now have helped him significantly. He will never be perfect, and that's ok. I just want him to be reasonably safe and happy. And he is for now. If that changes, I know we can re-evaluate the treatment plan. She has several scenarios, some of which include other pharma options, others of which would involve trying more experimental stuff.

Could go into more detail but don't want to derail thread. Shortish story is that I have no need to upset Button's apple cart right now, so no 5 HTP for the moment. That could change down the road. We'll see.


Glad you are seeing positive results with your vet behaviorist. This stuff can be tricky. I'm curious, was Button on fish oil first or did you add it after the Prozac? How long was he on one before the addition of the other? What changes have you observed since the addition of the other? Are you tracking behavior or just making general observations?

While the study is tiny, this is still interesting:
http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863(04)00230-X/abstract

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby BabyReba » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:59 am

that is an interesting study, thanks for the link.

I'm curious, was Button on fish oil first or did you add it after the Prozac?


he was, but like a lot of people, i didn't realize how much fish oil was really needed to have any kind of impact. so up until that time, we were buying a big old vat of human-grade fish oil caps at costco and supplementing him with 2 a day. nowhere near enough to have an impact on behavior, if what i've read since is correct. i think those fish oil caps tend to say something like "1,200 mg of Omega-3s" but they don't break down DHA and EPA so you really have no idea how much you're giving. i found one brand that did break it down on the bottle, and the recommended daily intake contained 180 mg of EPA ... so i would have had to give him about 6-7 a day to get to the recommended level.

so even though he did "get" fish oil at that stage, i probably wasn't giving him the right kind or in the right measure. so technically, it probably doesn't count.

How long was he on one before the addition of the other?


given my experience using it, as described above, i can really only start measuring his behavior **on** fish oil supplements after he was already on the Prozac. before we ever did Prozac, we used fish oil as described above, a specially mixed (for dogs) powdered herbal anxiety mixture from an herbalist (contained some valerian and cat's claw and alfalfa, if i remember correctly) and we would occasionally give him melatonin if we needed to. at about 18 months, we put him in a small dose of Prozac with his regular vet, which proved to be useless, so we increased the dosage to the highest level or vet at the time (not a vet behaviorist) was comfortable with for a dog ... that was 20 mg. one year ago, almost exactly, that dosage seemed to no longer have an impact, so we went to see Dr. JD down here in Florida, who does have a reputation as being very good with pharmaceuticals ... that seems to be her specialty. we slowly increased his dosage of Prozac, got him on a meaningful and therapeutic dosage of fish oil, added a dosage of vitamin C and cat's claw, and we hit a stable point. i've found that since he's been stable, it makes no difference whether we use fish oil or not ... the thing that makes a market difference is his Prozac dosage. since Prozac has a pretty short half-life, if his dosage is even off by 12 hours, we see his anxiety (barking, reactivity, fear) increase drastically. if we skip fish oil, we see no changes at all. if we add fish oil, if there is benefit, it has been subtle enough that i'm not aware of it and what benefit i maybe have seen could also be attributed to other things, such as a really challenging experience with a 'work to eat' toy that day, a solid romp with tucker that tired him out, or a day that was just really good for him in general ... but since he was on the Prozac already it could be that we really don't know for certain what impact a solid, therapeutic dose of fish oil would have done for him. i have a feeling it would be easier to determine without the Prozac already in the mix. but Button's temperament and sense of stability is pretty delicate, so while we have him on something that's giving him (and us!) a good quality of life, we're going to ride it as long as we can. i show videos and photos of him being normal, acting normal and so forth, and these days he is 95 percent of the time. but when things are not good for him, he reminds me of a trapped feral cat, if you've ever seen one during a TNR session. so i'm not even willing to experiment.

Are you tracking behavior or just making general observations?


i kept a diary for 4 months but i will admit: i got lazy and stopped. i was doing video for the vet behaviorist and paper for me, but i got out of the habit after he'd been doing well for a while ... so for the past 8 months, i have not been documenting his day-to-day. i know it's recommended to do these things so you can really keep track of what impacts the dog's mental state, but life got pretty busy and i did let that fall off. i should try to let this thread be a lesson to me and start back up again ...

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby lilangel » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:46 am

Ah. I see. Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know he was on Prozac all this time and I'm glad you've found something that works for the most part. This stuff sure can make you feel like you're grasping at straws at times but tracking behaviors definitely helps put it in perspective when you need reassurance the most.

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Re: Fish oil for behavior

Postby doglove » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:59 am

I haven't read all of the posts, but keep up the convo! I want to read as much as I can. Our appointment with the vet behaviorist is set for two weeks from now. The dog is still settling in, and his issues seem to be lessening with every day.


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