Omega-3 Supplements for Dogs and Cats
What Are Omega 3s?
Omega 3s are the fatty acids that are available in your dog and cat's food, as well as in the form of nutritional supplements. Many vets and pet owners recommend the usage of omega 3 supplements for dogs and cats as a preventative health measure.
Omega 3 is a fatty acid that is considered “polyunsaturated.” Polyunsaturated just means that the omega 3s have double bonds within their carbon chain. In simple terms, double bonds make omega 3s more prone to rancidity, and because of those double bonds, it is physiologically impossible for dogs to make their own omega 3s. They must get it from diet and nutrition.
Omega 3 is a collective term used to describe a certain set of fatty acids, most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), substances which are abundant in fish and seaweed. The other Omega 3 fatty acid known as ALA (alpha Linolenic acid) can be found in dark leafed plants.
Composition and Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The main source of EPA and DHA can be found in cold water fish and their oil. EPA has anti inflammatory properties and can help to keep the heart healthy.
DHA has an important role in the development of the nervous system and eyesight. It’s also believed that puppies receiving high amounts of DHA are easier to train, easier to socialize and display less destructive behavior.
9 Benefits of Omega-3 for Dogs and Cats
1. Healthy Skin
Many pets today suffer from dry skin, particularly in semi arid and arid climates or those with cold, dry winters. Omega 3 fatty acids primarily nourish your pet’s skin and coat, restoring moisture to parched skin.
2. Shedding and Dandruff Relief
Omega 3 fatty acids keep your pet’s skin moisturized and hydrated skin reduces pet shedding. That’s good news for everyone, but particularly pet allergy sufferers who respond to allergens in their environment.
3. Shiny Coat
Moisturized, healthy skin in your dog or cat improves the structure of the coat. A shiny coat full of lustre is a good predictor of overall pet health.
4. Fewer Ear Infections
Essential omega 3 fatty acids are helpful in preventing infection because they improve the skin barrier and pet's immune system should be able to defend itself regularly against the threat of infection.
5. Reduced Scratching
Dry, scaly skin is a symptom of essential fatty acid deficiency, and it does more than just make your pet shed and their coat appear dull. Overly dry skin is also itchy, and that can cause some troubles for your dog or cat.
6. Improved Health When Dealing With Chronic Disease
No pet owner wants to see their friend suffer through chronic disease, but it’s a reality many have to live with. With their immune boosting effects, omega 3 fatty acids may reduce painful symptoms caused by chronic inflammation.
7. Stronger Immune System
The immune boosting properties of omega 3 fatty acids have the added benefit of protecting your dog or cat from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, lupus, mange, and more. The benefits come mainly from the anti inflammatory effects of omega 3.
8. Improved Mental Health
DHA is believed to help puppies learn better, but the mental benefits don’t end at that young age. In a specific canine study, omega 3 fatty acids have been suspected to limit aggression in dogs, particularly in response to stressful situations. Cool, huh?
9. Weight Loss
Helpful for reducing levels of bad cholesterol while raising heart healthy cholesterol, omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to increase weight loss in overweight dogs.
Finding The Right Omega 3 Supplements For Dogs and Cats
Even though essential fatty acids are rarely harmful you should always talk to the vet before beginning treatment. When choosing a brand of omega 3 supplements, be sure to consider the source of the ingredients, the concentration, and the processing/quality control.
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