Recently we were asked, “Why does my dog need fish oil?” After a flood of reasons hit us we realized that most pet parents don’t know or understand the importance of fish oil and omega fatty acids – specifically wild caught fish oil and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
It’s important that the fish oil is wild-caught rather than farm-raised. When the fish oil is wild caught, it contains higher amounts of trace minerals and vitamins. This is due to the fish being able to eat foods found in its natural ecosystem and being of higher quality. Along with the health benefits, there are guidelines the supplement companies follow, the wild-caught fish oil is ethically and sustainably harvested and sourced, making it a double win!
Some bags of dry foods (kibble) or freeze dried raw dog foods have omega-3 and omega-6 on their ingredient label. One must be aware of the effect heat and oxidation has on those essential fatty acids. If the food has been cooked, baked, or dried, most of the fatty acids have been killed off. As for freeze dried dog and cat foods, the freeze-drying process causes the oxidation process to have some of the same negative effect as heat and baking and baking process.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Fish oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS), both of which are not produced by the body and can only be sourced through a balanced diet.
There are two main long-chained fatty acids found in omega-3. They are EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids are most commonly know for their benefit to brain development and eye health. Due to their health benefits they’re considered essentials for pregnant or nursing dogs, along with their growing puppies.
However, it’s a mistake to think that we should limit fish oil to pregnant or nursing dogs. Most dogs can benefit from fish oil. It can help older dogs with joint problems, and younger active dogs who need long sustainable energy. Where does that sustainable energy come from? You guessed it, the omega fatty acids.
Brain, Eye and Mental Health
It’s commonly unknown, but DHA is a major building block of mammalian retinas. A healthy retina means healthier photoreceptors, and as a result can help to benefit a dog or cat’s eye sight. Fish oil can also help to manage tears or discharge around a dog’s tear ducts.
An animal’s brain is made of 60% fat, and a quarter of that is made out of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). It’s no wonder that fish oil can benefit brain health. The long-chain fatty acids may also help our pets brain cells to communicate, thus benefiting their memory, brain development, and anxiety levels.
Fish oil has been proven to show improvements in the function of endothelial cells. These cells help to control blood clotting and the proper expansion of blood vessels. The omegas positively affect the myocardium, a muscle layer in the heart that directly affects the pumping of blood, on a cellular and ionic level.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) may help to raise your dogs HDL (High-density lipoproteins), commonly known as good cholesterol. They don’t seem to have an effect on the LDL (Low-density lipoprotein), commonly known as bad cholesterol. Fish oil for cats and dogs can help to lower triglycerides. High triglycerides can lead to arteriosclerosis, the hardening and thickening of the artery walls.
The fatty acids help to form a protective layer of moisture around the skin and coat follicles. Thus meaning your pet’s dry and irritated skin can be caused by low levels of omega-3. So boosting their omega-3 intake can make a big difference in the condition of their skin and coat. Two of the main building blocks of fur and hair are proteins and essential fatty acids. Introducing a fish oil supplement into your animal’s life will help nourish their hair follicles.
Making a Change
There are a few ways to improve your animals life with the introduction of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If you can financially afford to, it’s ideal to switch to a frozen raw diet. However, for most people that’s not an option and that’s O.K. Keep in mind, even if you feed a frozen raw diet to your dog or cat, we still recommend adding a wild-caught fish oil supplement. Which as you now know, is extremely helpful if your pet is active, pregnant, a puppy, or a senior.
Most of us choose to add a fish oil supplement to our pets food. For the most part, it’s the most convenient and financially friendly option. When adding a fish oil supplement, we recommend looking for one that is wild caught and has few to no additive ingredients. Stop by our store to see the products we recommend.
If you’re in a crunch, you can try to introduce canned sardines or other fish into your pet’s diet. We found this to be extremely difficult, as most animals don’t like the taste or texture of canned fish. If you do decide to take this route, you want to look for fish that has no added seasoning, and is packaged in water. It can be intimidating trying to create a wholesome diet for your fur-baby. Different pets have different diet requirements or are flat-out picky, and those picky eaters want a 5-star entree every night. That’s why we recommend you stop by the store so we can recommend some products to try out and see what works best for you and your dog. Can’t stop by the store? We have the Slammin’ Salmon and Swingin’ Smelt, both of which are loaded with omegas!
If you have any questions stop by the store at 4947 Tamiami Trail N. Naples, FL 34103 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.