Veterinarians have been advocating the incorporation of fish oil in dog diets for the longest time. Their passion to promote omega 3 comes from the incredible benefits it brings to pets. But what exactly is omega 3?
Omega 3, Essential Fatty Acids, and the Body
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to cell membrane composition, heart health, respiratory health, and immune health.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the three major omega 3 fatty acids that the body need. Unfortunately, dogs cannot produce these on their own. Although canine bodies can transform some ALA to minute amounts of EPA and DHA, it is not enough. Hence, consuming omega 3-rich foods and supplements are important in canine diets.
Benefits of Fish Oil in Canine Health
Aside from the overarching benefits of omega 3 fatty acids relating to cell health, cardiovascular health, immune system health, and lung health, these essential fatty acids have other empirically and scientifically proven benefits like:
- Improving coat quality and shine
- Promoting healthier skin
- Alleviating inflammation
- Boosting the immune system
- Soothing over-reactive immune systems
- Assisting in mental development during the early stages of growth
- Stimulating cognitive function in their advanced years
- Regulating blood pressure levels
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Aiding in weight loss
Omega 3 and the Fight against Dog Diseases
With evidence-based research highlighting the positive impact that omega 3 has on a dog’s overall health, treatments began incorporating omega 3 supplements, and veterinarians strongly encourage the inclusion of fish oils in their canine patients’ diets. Some of the illnesses that have omega 3 as part of the treatment plan include:
- Cognitive Dysfunction
- Excessive Shedding
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Skin Allergies
- Other Skin Conditions
Recommended Omega 3 Daily Allowance
The Canine Arthritis Resources and Education (CARE) recommend that dogs have around 100 mg of fish oil from food and supplements. However, they cautioned pet parents to cap the omega 3 intakes at 310 (kg)3/4. An overdose of omega 3 is also dangerous because it can result in diarrhea, vomiting, altered immune system, and more. To prevent miscalculations, CARE provided a chart that showed both the recommended dose and the maximum dose for dogs weighing from 5 to 150 pounds.
Natural Sources of Omega 3
According to research, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are excellent sources of ALA but fish oil from fishes is the superior choice, not just for ALA but for all Omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as anchovies, cods, hanks, sardines, salmons, and tunas are great fish choices. Although it’s a great source of essential fatty acids, there are mixed sentiments on incorporating cooked fish in your dog’s daily diet.
Those in favor of incorporating fish in a canine’s regular diet emphasize your pet’s need for essential fatty acids. Those against letting dogs have fish daily, assert that fish bones are choking hazards and may puncture your dog’s internal organs. Even though both sides are at odds regarding the inclusion of cooked fish in a dog’s meal, both parties agree that serving raw fish is a health risk for your canine companion.
Some pet food companies claim to add fish and krill to their kibble recipe to contribute to your dog’s recommended total daily omega 3 allowance. But given that the manufacturing process involves very high temperatures, it is unlikely that the essential fatty acids will survive.
Fish Oil as Omega 3 Supplements and Tricks in Feeding Them to Your Pet
Your furry friend may not be able to get their recommended omega 3 dose from their food, but there are fish oil and omega 3 supplements to fill in the gaps.
Omega 3 supplements come in different forms so that you can find the best type for your dog’s needs and preferences. If you can comfortably hold your pet while giving them their medicine, then liquid supplements may be ideal for you. Gently feeding your dog with a medicine dropper with a teaspoon (about 5 ml) of liquid fish oil is enough to give them 1426 mg of the essential fatty acid.
Fish Oil and Your Dog’s Health
Too much of a good thing can be bad and the same can be said about fish oil too and having too much of it can be detrimental to your pet’s health. The critical thing is incorporating the right nutrients into your canine companion’s diet in the appropriate amounts.