Fats are the main source of energy for dogs. The energy they provide is a more concentrated source (2.5x) than protein or carbohydrates. They not only provide energy, but also help to keep skin and coat healthy and to make the foot pads supple. From a nutritional point of view, fatty acids support the absorption of vitamins, as they transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) from the intestine into the body. They also play a role in cell structure and function, including visual and learning skills. Also, they make food, both manufactured and homemade, tastier and tastier.
Fatty acids for dogs
Fatty acids are a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and are divided into omega-3 fatty acids or omega-6 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those that the body cannot produce and that have to be taken in daily through food. Therefore, they are considered essential (this essential status is species-specific). In other words, if a body (animal or human) does not receive enough essential fatty acids, critical body functions can be severely disrupted. For dogs, essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 acids that are necessary for them to thrive.
While both are important to nutrition, it is believed by many nutritionists that commercial pet foods (similar to commercial human foods) contain too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. Omega-6s are found in meat products, egg yolks, whole grains, and vegetable oils, while the best source of omega-3s for dogs is cold-water fish.
Fish oil provides the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that are used for metabolism. Another complication is that fatty acids are very unstable and fragile and tend to oxidize very quickly. They are easily destroyed by heat, light and oxygen and therefore decompose during processing and storage. It is important to note that the only way to ensure that your dog is getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids is to either include fish caps like mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon, etc. in their diet, or to add an essential fatty acid supplement to each other . If you are using a commercially available preparation, it should ideally be a fresh source packaged in an oxygen-free container, e.g. B. Soft gel capsules that prevent air from coming into contact with the oil.
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Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
– – EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) cold water fish and their oil.
– – gave (Docosahexaenoic acid) Cold water fish and their oil, eggs from hens that have been fed omega-3.
– – ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) in flaxseed oil, rapeseed, soybeans, marine or kidney beans and walnut oils and green leafy vegetables.
It is important to note that, unlike humans, dogs cannot convert ALA into the all-important EPA and DHA, so vegetable oils are not an ideal source of omega-3 fatty acids for them. ALA from plant foods are often the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids in dog foods. While they’re still important, it means your dog’s diet may not be in EPA and DHA, causing them to miss out on certain health benefits.
Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
– – THE (Linoleic acid) found in corn, canola, safflower, sunflower oil, whole grains, and poultry body fat.
– – GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) in black stream seed oil, borage oil and evening primrose oil.
– – AA (Arachidonice Acid) in the body fat of poultry, lean meat, egg yolks and some fish oils.
– – DGLA (Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid) found in organ meat.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs
As many veterinarians including Karen Becker, DVM have noted, “omega-3s have tremendous potential to make a positive difference to your pet’s health.” Here is a list of the benefits of omega-3s for dogs and what to do with them A dog’s health and vitality contributes to:
– Support of normal neural development, the cardiovascular and immune systems as well as healthy reproduction.
– Therapeutic benefits and help in treating chronic inflammatory conditions such as colitis, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, joint pain due to arthritis, and allergic skin problems.
– DHA is important for the development of a healthy nervous system and the proper development of the retina and visual cortex in fetuses and newborn puppies.
– Managing stress and improving brain health and cognitive functioning, especially in older dogs.
– Support skin and coat health and relieve dry and itchy skin.
– Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow down the development and metastasis of certain types of cancer, while omega-6 fatty acids stimulate tumor development.
– Fish oils have been shown to lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood.
Not all fish oil is made equal
With the increasing popularity of fish oil for dogs and human health, there are many different manufacturers making a variety of claims. There are a few factors to consider when choosing which omega-3 oil to buy, including purity, freshness, potency, bioavailability, and sustainability.
Purity: The fish oil must meet international standards for heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants. You will need to check with the manufacturer’s Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for third-party confirmation. Many fish oils come from areas of the ocean that are heavily traded and / or polluted by deep-sea oil rigs. Make sure you know what part of the world the fish was caught in.
Freshness: EFAs are prone to oxidation, which makes them rancid. Look for a freshness review by the CoA and companies using smaller vessels. Ask how the fish is kept fresh after it is caught and how long it takes from “catch” to the processing facility. The product should be available in an oxygen-free container, e.g. B. in soft gel capsules, which prevent air from coming into contact with the fish oil. Freshness is measured by oxidation as shown in the anisidine and peroxide values of the CoA, which should be less than 5 meq / kg.
Power: The fish oil must contain DHA and EPA. DHA provides the most benefits to dogs, so it should exceed EPA levels.
Bioavailability: The oil must be in a natural form, not a synthetic triglyceride like many fish oils are.
Sustainability: Many fish oils are made from endangered fish. Choose from fish products that are certified by organizations like the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).
It is important that you find or obtain a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from the manufacturer before purchasing a fish oil product for your dog. If you have any questions, the company should be available to answer them in a timely manner.
The benefits of fish oil for dogs are obvious. Omega-3s and omega-6s are in fact essential fatty acids, not only because they need to be added to a dog’s diet, but also because they are essential for the overall health of dogs. However, since they also add calories, there is a need to consider the total number of calories provided to a dog in both its diet and its supplement. Consultation with your veterinarian is also recommended.