You’ve probably heard how omega-3 fatty acids can make your dog’s hair shiny and lustrous. But what exactly are omega-3 fatty acids and how does these impact your buddy’s health? Moreover, you may be wondering about the sources of natural omega-3 fatty acids for dogs. Continue reading as this post will give you the lowdown on this type of fat and its impact on canine health.
What is omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a class of essential fats that dogs won’t be able to produce on their own. These include alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, and eicosapentaneoic acid or EPA. Because these fatty acids can’t be produced by dogs in their own bodies, they need to be fed with foods rich in omega-3.
Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
As mentioned earlier, a healthy coat and skin is often the most cited benefit of a dog getting enough omega-3 in his diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, after all, help in minimizing risks of yeast infections. It can also reduce hotspots and eliminate dandruff in dogs. This fatty acid can also decrease shedding and promote a healthy and shiny coat in canines.
But there are other health benefits of giving your dog a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One is that it promotes heart health. Regular supplementation of omega-3 may decrease the risks of atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat. It can also reduce risks of heart problems and prevent blood clot formation.
There is also evidence that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a dog’s body. The fatty acid may also help lower blood pressure as well as reduce risks of stroke and other heart-related ailments.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory benefits which mean it can help dogs suffering from osteoporosis. Many vets also recommend omega-3 supplementation for dogs who have joint inflammation.
Finally, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can improve cognitive function of canines. Dogs whose diet are rich in this type of fat have shown that they behave well and recognize better the members of their human parents’ families as well as other household pets.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs
Now you may wonder– what should you be giving more of to your dog so he can get more omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids occur naturally in fishes such as sardines, herring, trout, tuna, and salmon. Vegetable oil such as walnut oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and soybean oil can also provide our pets with this important fat.
You can give your dog this essential fat by providing him with fish and plant oil supplementation. For example, flaxseed and canola oil can give your pet ALA while salmon oil can give EPA. However, it should be noted omega-3 fatty acid supplementation could take a month or so before positive results are manifested.
There are a few side effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in dogs. One is that dogs may add some pounds if they are given large doses of fatty acids. Some pets may also develop diarrhea and others, a ‘fishy breath.’ One can argue, though, that these side effects are mild or minor especially when the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in dogs is taken into consideration.