Evening primrose oil is an herbal supplement derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant. Known for its healing properties it is often referred to as Kings Cure All. Due to the high levels of essential fatty acids in the oil, regular doses can alleviate problems associated with dry skin and promote the growth and health of a dog's coat.
Evening primrose oil contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that converts to a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin. Essential fatty acids have structural and functional roles in the cell membranes, especially the brain according to scientific research conducted by Efamol. GLA is recognised for improving hair and skin in dogs and humans but must be supplied within the diet of a dog as the body cannot naturally produce it.
In addition to improving the condition of the skin and hair in dogs, it is particularly recommended to reduce scruffiness and is useful when dogs are suffering from moulting or hair loss according to Love Pets UK (see Resources). Evening primrose oil is also well known for its positive stabilising effects when there is an imbalance of hormones. It can be given to bitches if they become aggressive during oestrus.
Daily dosage - Capsules
According to Pet Meds, the recommended daily dose of evening primrose oil in capsule form for dogs should be 1 capsule per 10kg of body-weight (see Resources). Capsules should be dropped directly into the dog's mouth or may be burst and the liquid squeezed into food. There is no smell or taste, so dogs should not be offended by it, suggests Johnson's Veterinary Products (see Resources).
Daily dosage - Liquid
For dogs under 10kg (22 lbs) a dosage of 5 drops of liquid daily is recommended. Medium dogs 10 to 25kg (22 to 55 lbs) should have one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon and large dogs weighing 25 to 45kg (55 to 99) should have 1 teaspoon daily. To administer the liquid, mix with the dog's food.
Always consult your vet for advice on the suitability of any supplements for your dog. It is not recommended to give evening primrose oil to dogs under 8 weeks. Never give evening primrose oil to dogs with epilepsy without veterinary advice.