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Omega-3 for Dogs: What is it? Benefits, Sources and Dosage

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Omega-3

Omega-3’s are a great supplement to add to your dog’s diet. They have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of many conditions, and their use has been linked to longer life spans for dogs. In this article, the dog care experts from the Kinpur Pet Care team will guide you through the benefits of adding Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to your dog’s diet, as well as the best sources of Omega-3 supplements for dogs.

What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats commonly found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, tuna and sardines. In addition, they also come from walnuts, flaxseed oil and krill. The two most important omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These omega 3s play an important role in brain function including learning and memory.

EPA and DHA are responsible for fighting inflammation in the body, so they are often used to treat arthritis or other types of inflammatory diseases related to pain or swelling. Some people believe that Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit tumour growth, but this is unproven.

Omega-3s can provide your dog with improved skin and coat health, fertility benefits, help with weight control by stabilizing blood sugar levels, improved heart function and brain development.

Recommended Dosage: According to the Whole Dog Journal, most dogs will receive therapeutic results with an Omega-3 fatty acid dosage of 0.5% of the animal’s ideal body weight daily (0.05% if it is a giant breed). An example would be a 20-pound dog that would receive 2.0 grams of Omega-3 per day or roughly 7 to 10 capsules.

For maintenance purposes, supplementing with 0.2% is needed (that’s 0.02% of the ideal body weight). A 20-pound dog would need about 1/4 of a capsule daily for maintenance purposes. For more information on dosages according to the Whole Dog Journal, click here.

Omega 3 Benefits for Dogs

Below you can read the main benefits of adding omega-3s to your dog’s diet using omega 3 dog treats from Kinpur or other sources:

  • Allergies: Omega 3 fatty acids can help keep the immune system strong to fight off allergies.
  • Autoimmune Diseases: A strong immune system, which is maintained by Omega 3 supplementation, can help to lessen the severity of autoimmune diseases.
  • Cancer Prevention: Omega 3’s are one of several nutrients that have been found to reduce tumour growth in dogs with naturally occurring cancers. It has also been shown to improve survival time for dogs undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
  • Dry Skin/Dandruff: The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can control flaking skin problems due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They also promote a coat that is soft and shiny – not dry or dull.
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions: The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids may help dogs with inflammatory digestive conditions such as pancreatitis and colitis.
  • Heart Disease: Dogs that have heart disease or are at risk for developing it may benefit from Omega 3 supplementation, particularly if they also have high triglyceride levels.
  • Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease): Research has shown that feeding a high fat, low carbohydrate diet to dogs can lead to an accumulation of excess fat in the liver, resulting in a condition called hepatic lipidosis. This is believed to be alleviated by the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is a digestive disorder that results in inflammation of the intestines. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
    There is some evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce or eliminate symptoms of IBD. It has also been noted that there are fewer relapses in dogs with IBD who are on a diet supplemented with fish oil.
  • Skin Allergies: The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 may be beneficial for dogs suffering from skin allergies. Omega 3’s have been shown to suppress inflammatory mechanisms within cells, which results in the reduced discharge of histamines. One study showed feeding arachidonic acid (ARA), an omega 6 fatty acid found in dog food, increased the number of allergic skin reactions in test subjects due to its ability to stimulate the inflammatory response. This has been shown to be beneficial for those suffering from allergic skin conditions such as atopy.

What are the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids?

The answer may surprise you… many common sources of Omega-3s aren’t that healthy for your animal friend and can even be dangerous when ingested in large amounts! You see, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in plant sources — flax seed oil, for example—aren’t easily metabolized by dogs. In fact, giving your dog fish oil containing Omega-3s from plants might actually do more harm than good, as the Omega-6 fatty acids contained in these supplements can cause an imbalance that leads to a variety of issues.

The best source of Omega 3s for your dog comes from the ocean – not a lake or river – but from fish! This is because many species of fish have evolved to accumulate significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. And despite what pet food companies would have you believe, a diet rich in fish is very much appropriate and safe for canine consumption.

In comparison to other pets, dogs have a somewhat unique capability to convert Omega-6 fatty acids into the more desirable Omega-3 fatty acids. However, this process is nowhere near complete and of course, there are significant health benefits associated with Omega-3s that cannot be had from merely converting larger quantities of Omega-6s.

As such, giving your dog fish oil on a regular basis will help ensure that he or she is getting enough of these important nutrients in his diet. In fact, it’s been found that dogs deprived of fresh fish may develop signs of deficiency over time. This isn’t to say that every dog absolutely requires a source of supplemental fish oil in order to meet all their nutritional needs – but it certainly wouldn’t hurt either!

On the surface, giving your dog fish oil (which is really just another word for Omega-3s) may seem like a good idea – and it’s certainly cheaper than buying him that gourmet pet food everyone is talking about. Unfortunately, though, press coverage of this issue has been somewhat misleading:

While there are some benefits associated with feeding your dog human-grade fish oil (ie: those intended for use in cooking), many veterinarians warn against giving your dog supplements derived from the liver, kidneys or heart – which – as we covered – can actually be very toxic to canines.

The best thing you can do as a responsible owner is asked your vet if he recommends such an omega 3 supplement. If so, discuss the dosage and consider this an open-ended invitation to ask more questions about specific brands. After all, your pet’s health is at stake!

We also recommend paying attention to other products from Kinpur. For example, you can try probiotics for dogs, which can help support your dog’s stomach health.

We hope this article was helpful for you and your pet!

 

Related:

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