As a human, you know that your diet needs to consist of fats, protein and carbohydrates, and your dog’s diet is no different.
There are multiple different types of fats, and they each play an individual role in maintaining the overall health of canines. Two of these are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy growth, strong immune system, healthy coat, and normal reproduction system in dogs.
In this blog, we will learn what omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are and why they are an essential part of your dog’s diet. We’ll also explore the sources of these fatty acids and the associated benefits.
What Exactly Is Omega-3?
Supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids is a good idea, as it is something that your dog cannot produce naturally.
Some fatty acids can be produced by the body via food consumed. However other fatty acids, known as essential fatty acids (EFAs) have to be consumed, therefore your dog's diet should consist of an appropriate amount of fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are comprised of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are the most important when it comes to the overall health of your dog.
What Are The Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids For My Dog?
So, why is omega-3 so essential for your dog? Besides providing energy, this fatty acid also increases the ability to fight diseases, reduce inflammation, promote a healthy heart and even fight diseases.
Some of the benefits that your dog will experience due to Omega-3 is:
- Improves immune system
- Helps fight cancer
- Promotes brain development in younger dogs
- Promotes a healthy dog
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Reduces joint pain
Let’s look at these in further detail:
1. Improving The Immune SystemOmega-3 fatty acids, especially those rich in DHA and EPA are good for the immunity of dogs. This will help your dog fight against diseases and react to any viral invasions in the body. They will also help in reducing allergies of any kind.
2. Helps Fight CancerSeveral studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help to fight different types of cancer. It has been shown that the presence of EPA and DHA can help improve the survival rate in dogs fighting against cancer.
3. Promotes Brain Development In Younger Dogs
Younger dogs or puppies are curious and ready to learn. In the early stages of development, a nutrition-dense diet is required for healthy growth and brain development.
Research has shown that puppies that were fed omega-3 fatty acids have improved learning skills, could differentiate between objects, balance, better memory, and ability to complete complex tasks.
4. Promotes A Healthy Heart
Some dogs are genetically more prone to heart disease; however, a healthy diet can help prevent this. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to help recovery in dogs that suffer from heart disease.
Irrespective of sex, age, weight, and breed, dogs with omega-3 fatty acids in their diet have shown positive results with improved appetite, reduced blood pressure, reduced inflammation, and overall better health.
5. Reduces Depression And Anxiety In Dogs
It’s not only humans that can suffer from depression and anxiety. Omega-3 can modulate neurotransmitters and affects neuroplasticity which can alleviate the mood.
If your dog has been diagnosed or is showing signs of depression and anxiety then omega-3 fatty acids have been found to alleviate the symptoms in a similar way to some anti-depression medications.
6. Reduces Joint Pain
Like humans, dogs can suffer from arthritis and joint pain. Several studies have shown that omega 3 has been proven beneficial in treating arthritis in dogs.
Some studies have also shown that dogs with omega-3 in their diet are more active, have a reduction in joint pain, and were found more comfortable in their day-to-day activities.
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What Exactly Is Omega-6?
Omega-6 is another essential fatty acid and vital for the healthy life of dogs. It is a type of polyunsaturated fat that is mostly found in vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts.
Omega-6 includes Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), Linoleic acid (LA), Arachidonic acid (AA), and Dihomo gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).
When taken in the right amount alongside a healthy diet, it can be beneficial to the proper functioning of your dog’s heart. Omega-6 is responsible for proper cell function in dogs, improved immune system, and healthy coat and skin.
Many dog foods are already packed with omega-6 in them, therefore it is not required to provide an additional supplementation of omega-6 to our dogs.
How Can Omega-6 Benefit My Dog?
Just like omega-3, omega-6 also is beneficial to dogs in similar aspects. Some of the benefits of omega-6 include:
Improves cell membrane structure
- Improves reproduction process and immune system
- Improves energy
1. Cell Membrane StructureOmega-6 fatty acids are essential for healthy cell membrane structure, proper cell function and skeletal repair of the dogs. So, a proper diet of omega-6 promotes healthy muscular tissues.
2. Normal Reproduction And Strong ImmunityOmega-6 fatty acids support the normal reproduction process for dogs. This is in part due to the fact that it improves the immune system of your dog. Plus it will keep their coat and skin shiny and healthy.
3. Good Source Of Energy
Omega-6 is a fat that is essential for a complete and balanced meal.
As it is fat, it provides ample calories to your dog which in turn converts into energy, keeping your furry friend active all day long.
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What Are The Sources Of Omega-3 And Omega-6?So, you know now that your dog needs omega-3 and omega-6 to stay healthy. But how can you ensure that your dog gets essential fatty acids in its diet?
Fish oil supplementsFish oil supplements from salmons are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty ocean fishSmall fish like sardines and anchovies are a good source of fatty acids. Since these fish live for a short span, there are few chances of them feeding on wastes and harmful pollutants and are safe for your dogs. You can feed these fish raw, canned, or frozen to your pup.
PhytoplanktonPhytoplankton is again a good source of omega-3 and only a plant-based source. It is highly recommended as it is rich in DHA and AHA. It is derived from a single cell aquatic plant and can be grown in aquaculture.
Will my dog need omega-3 and omega-6 supplements?
It’s likely that some dogs will not be getting enough EFAs through their current diet, especially if your dog has been on a diet of dry food. This is because the process of manufacturing destroys a lot of the natural nutrients.
Even some raw food diets that you might be serving your dog won’t provide them with the right levels of fatty acids.
This is why a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet is so important. And if you are not able to give your dog the right nutrition via food, then you should aim to supplement that diet. We recommend that you seek advice from one of our teams before doing so.
How To Maintain A Proper Ratio of Omega-3 And 6 In My Dog’s Diet? How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Getting The Right Amount Of EFA?
A healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 would be around 5:1, and no way should exceed beyond 10:1. Too much or too little consumption can lead to sickness for your dog.
If your dog has been feeding on processed or packaged food like kibble then you should make sure you add omega-3 rich food to their diet to complete their meal.
Fish like salmon is good for your furry pal and have the potential to complete their meal of omega-3 rich diet. Krill has more EPA as compared to the commercial fish oils and are rich in vitamin A and E that can shield your dog from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Before feeding your dog any packaged source or natural source of omega-3 and 6, ensure that you check it with one of our team and only then proceed. You should also read the labels of the packs well before purchasing. Consult us about the health of your dog and when you’re satisfied, get your pup his or her dose of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids today.
So, Does Your Dog Need Omega-3 And Omega-6?
Yes, fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy balanced diet for your dog. It will help improve a number of essential bodily functions as well as improving immunity and decreasing the risk for certain diseases.
Many dogs will not be eating the correct amount of fatty acids, especially if they are on a dry food diet. So you should ensure that they are eating a nutritious diet, as well as receiving supplementation if necessary. Before supplement, we always recommend that you consult us.
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