Do you use a quality omega-3 fish oil for dogs and cats?…could this be the missing ingredient to support your pet’s optimum health?
Omega-3’s cannot be produced by the body, so cats and dogs must obtain them through diet or supplementation. Fish and its oils can support the health of your pet’s skin & coat, immune system, kidneys, heart, eyes, joints and many more.
Omega-3 fatty acids can originate from both plant-based and marine sources as follows:
- ALA, a short-chain, plant based omega-3 is found in seeds such as flaxseeds and nuts
- EPA and DHA are long chain omega fatty acids found abundantly in fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids (EFAs) as they cannot be readily produced by the body. EPA and DHA from fish oil and other marine sources are a better source of omega-3’s for pets than plant based ALA because an enzyme is required to convert ALA to EPA and DHA in the body. Both humans and dogs have a limited ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, with cats having even less ability to make the conversion. Therefore for maximum benefit, in order to maintain optimal health, these fatty acids should be consumed directly from dietary sources or through supplementation.
EPA and DHA perform distinct yet mutually supportive roles in promoting overall pet health and are important structural components of cell membranes. These functional, health-promoting fatty acids maintain the cell membrane fluidity and permeability required for healthy functioning cells.
One of the main functions of omega-3 fatty acid EPA is supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, of which dogs and cats can experience many inflammatory conditions affecting their health and wellbeing.
Detailed below are some of the benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids in supporting your pet’s health:-
Benefits of fish oil for dogs and cats
- The healthy maintenance of skin and coat condition, including reducing itchy, dry skin and may reduce shedding, which for cats may mean fewer hairballs since there will be less loose hair while grooming
- joint health – joint mobility and movement
- Immune system health
- healthy eye and brain development in puppies and kittens
- kidney and heart health
- Promoting a healthy nervous system (the brain is made up of as much as 60% fat).
- Promoting weight loss in overweight pets
- New evidence also suggests that omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can help support, gastrointestinal health, behavioural health and healthy aging and cognition.
EPA and DHA can be incorporated in your pet’s diet through eating foods rich in EPA and DHA such as consuming fish such as sardines or wild caught salmon or through supplementation. When purchasing fish supplements look for ones which are pure, human grade and from a reputable supplier as unfortunately fish can be contaminated with industrial pollutants and heavy metals such as mercury.
At Healthful Pets we stock many reputable brands such as Nordic Naturals in both liquid and soft gel capsules as well as Cod Liver Oil and Grizzly Wild Salmon oil . Check out specific details and dosages on our website. Read product labels carefully as it may be necessary to consult your veterinarian.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article or have any questions, then please contact us on: 01565 740 777.
References and Resources
Dodds, W.J., (2015). Canine Nutrigenomics – the new science of feeding your dog for optimum nutrition.
Bauer, J.E (1997). Fatty acid metabolism in domestic cats and cheetahs
Nordic Naturals – Educational Literature available at: www.nordicnaturals.com/pet