Benefits of Omega 3, 6, Fish and Emu Oils in a Dog’s Diet
Written by Dr Claire Stevens
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids (EFA’s) as they are important for your pets overall health and wellbeing, however as they cannot be made by the dogs’ body, they must therefore come from the dogs’ diet. Veterinarians often recommend that pet owners include omega fatty acids in their pet’s diet to improve skin condition, fight allergies, help promote healthy cognitive functioning, offer protection against arthritis, heart and kidney disease, and more.
Health Benefits of Omega Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for ensuring healthy brains and eyes, as well as providing a response to inflammation in the body. Omega 6 fatty acids are important for reproduction, growth, and for fighting inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega fatty acids make them useful for treating dogs that suffer from skin disease and arthritis. If your pet’s diet is deficient in fatty acids, he may be prone to skin disease, have an unhealthy coat, and wounds may take longer to heal.
Sources of Omega Fatty Acids
Vegetable or Plant-based oils such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, and soya bean oil are sources of EFA’s, It must be noted that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) an omega 3, which serves as a building block for other EFA’s; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ALA is not readily transformed in the dogs body into either DHA or EPA, therefore it is far more beneficial for your dog to receive these EFA’s from sources like fish oil (from cold water fish such as salmon), emu oil, and oils extracted from some types of algae.
Some brands of quality dog foods contain omega fatty acids for added health. The hypro premium grain-free dry dog food range that is manufactured by an Australian family owned and operated business; made from at least 98% Australian ingredients contains sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil and emu oil to ensure your pet receives both omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids required for maintaining a healthy skin and shiny coat, while also helping to reduce inflammation associated with skin and joint disease.
Depending on your pet’s condition, additional omega 3 & 6 fatty acid supplements may be needed. While the inclusion of these oils in pet foods is beneficial, the concentrations typically added to pet food is relatively low and some dogs may benefit from a higher dose. Commercial supplements are available, but be sure to read the label to check the concentrations of DHA and EPA, as these vary.
A good quality omega fatty acid supplement will offer several health benefits. Yet, while omega fatty acids are considered safe, if given in significantly large doses, your pet may suffer from stomach upsets, blood clotting issues, and/or immune dysfunction. Consult with your veterinarian to check whether your dog is getting sufficient omega oils in his diet or whether additional supplements are needed, and if so, which one and how much should be given.