Camelina Oil or Fish Oil…What is the difference?

Written by: Christine Walsh

Published on: Nov 24 2021

We get asked a lot about the difference between Camelina Oil and Fish Oil for adding omega fatty acids into your dog’s diet, so we thought it would be useful if we provided you with a short overview to help support you in your search for the perfect supplement for your furry friends.

What are the three main omega 3 fatty acids?

A quick review of some basics first. The three main omega 3 fatty acids are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are each considered ‘essential’ for good health, meaning they must be provided in the diet. ALA is typically found in nuts, seeds, camelina plant and leafy veggies while EPA and DHA is found in various types of fish and seafood. If you eat meat, eggs or dairy from grass fed/pasture raised animals this is a good source also. Although dogs do not convert at high levels, ALA in camelina oil does get converted into EPA and DHA. Fish and fish oil do not provide any ALA to the diet. So, you see, these two oils provide different benefits. My recommendation is to alternate between the two types of oils. This ensures that you are getting adequate amounts of all 3 types of omega 3. Many dog guardians feed fish oil and leave it at that, but that’s only a partial solution to providing each of the essential omega 3 fats. What about the ALA?

Why ALA anyway?

Here is a piece pulled from a previous blog which summarizes some of the benefits of ALA “…Camelina oil is high in ALA, which is referred to as ‘The Universal Antioxidant’ for a very good reason! There has been a lot of research on ALA and its health benefits. These superpowers include how efficiently it removes heavy metals from the bloodstream (heavy metal chelator) and its usage for cardiovascular, cognitive, and neuromuscular deficits. ALA has demonstrated anti-aging, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties. It’s vital for brain, eye and immune system development in puppies, helps reduce anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and improves skin and coat health. Additionally, it’s a powerful antioxidant/free radical scavenger (free radicals cause damage and dysfunction in the body). ALA offers multiple health benefits and preventative support, over a broad scope.”

A few pros and cons of Camelina & Fish Oil

Camelina oil is 100% pure and is a single ingredient. The vitamin E that is onboard is supplied by nature…it’s built into the plant. Many fish oil companies are now adding preservatives into their oils to stabilize the oil. Naturally, it’s very fragile and will oxidize quickly (unhealthy to ingest). Some of the preservatives used are natural forms like rosemary or vitamin E while others are still using synthetic preservatives.  

Camelina oil is cold pressed and that’s it! No additional processing. The cold pressing preserves the integrity of the oil and processing only once avoids degrading the nutritional value of the oil. When it comes to processing though, fish oil is a bit trickier to navigate.

There are several ways that fish oil is processed but the common approaches are rendering the oil out of the fish (cooking with heat) or by solvent extracting the oil out of the fish (using chemicals). Rendering, which is most common for pet products, involves cooking, straining, adding steam and polishing the oil (with a centrifuge).   There can be another process applied to separate contaminants from the oil (heavy metals, pcb’s, dioxins…). This is a variable, and the level of contamination in the final product will vary with the manufacturer. Another thing to note when evaluating your fish oil, is that fresh fish oil will not have a strong ‘fishy’ smell or taste (same as with fresh fish). The strong odor and taste happen when the oil is becoming or is rancid. Some companies add another process called ‘deodorizing’ to remove ‘off tastes’ or ‘off smells’ that exist. If that seems like a lot of processing, that’s because it is.

Additionally, it’s worth considering if your fish oil is wild or farmed. Farmed fish products can also have contamination issues as mentioned above. They are not cleaner because they are farmed. In fact, it’s not uncommon for fish farms to release antibiotics into the water to treat the fish…another addition to the fish meat.

Camelina Oil for Equine

✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

Camelina Oil for Canine


✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

What to do?

The easiest way to ensure that you are choosing a fish oil that is as clean and safe as possible is to pick one that is certified by an oversight body like IFOS or USP. These products will typically cost more but they have been pre-evaluated for you. Be sure to do your own oversight but IFOS and USP help narrow the field.


For optimal health and to balance the typical imbalance that exists, every dog should be given omega 3 oil daily. There are rare exceptions who don’t need it, but most dogs do. This applies to kibble and whole food diets (raw included). Dog guardians that do supplement, typically use a fish oil. If they are choosing their fish oil carefully, this is a great option for adding EPA and DHA into the diet. But, what about ALA? Don’t forget that it’s an ‘essential omega 3’ so it is required from the diet.

I recommend to all my fish oil friends to switch it up. A rotation of oils is the ideal approach as this will provide your dog with ALA, EPA and DHA. When it’s time to buy your next bottle of omega oil, don’t buy that same fish oil that you’ve been feeding forever…get some ALA into your dog’s diet!

Smart Earth Camelina comes in a 16oz canine size…so you can surprise your fur buddy with something new (and he’ll never know it’s good for him).

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About the Author

Christine has a deep interest in pet nutrition. She has been studying and working in Pet Nutrition for 15 years including: raw dog food nutrition, advanced canine nutrition, commercial diets, veterinarian prescription diets, clinical nutrition, performance dog nutrition, vitamins and supplements used for dog and cat conditions, herbs for pets, homeopathy for pets, breed specific disorders, drug and vitamin interactions and home made diets for pets. In her spare time for the past couple of years, she has been enrolled in an accredited program with a goal to graduate as a Certified Pet Nutritionist (CPN). Her
motto is ‘when in doubt, look to mother nature for the answer’.