What is Omega 3 and why is it so popular? Does your dog really need essential fatty acids in their diet? And how can you make sure they are getting enough?
The quick answer is that Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for your dog’s health. As a natural anti-inflammatory, Omega 3 is crucial for your dog’s general health and development. As well as skin & coat condition, Omega 3 is important for your dog’s moulting cycles, heart health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, vision and brain function to name just a few.
Types of Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are what are known as essential fats – this means that they cannot be produced by the body and must be taken from the diet.
The three types of Omega 3 are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Dogs especially need the DHA and EPA types of Omega 3 fatty acids. This means that they either need to come from your dog’s food or an omega 3 supplement.
Is Omega 3 Important for my Puppy?
Omega 3 fatty acids have lots of health benefits for your puppy, from boosting the body’s immune response to supporting development of the nervous system and brain function. According to the Kennel Club, research has shown that a diet rich in Omega 3 at the puppy stage can also improve brain function, memory and learning ability in growing dogs. Laying these foundations for good health early in your dog’s life can also help to prevent or minimise health problems later on, as well as costly vets bills.
What are the Most Common Food Sources of Omega 3?
The most popular sources of Omega 3 oils are usually fish oils, including salmon, cod liver oil or green lipped mussels. However, as fishing stocks are depleted this is becoming a less attractive, less climate friendly and more expensive option. Fish also has its drawbacks, including that pungent smell once biodegradation sets in!
What Can I Give my Dog Instead of Salmon Oil?
There are a number of plant-based alternatives to fish oil, including algae, linseed (or flax seed) and hemp. At GWF Nutrition we only use sustainable, cold pressed hemp and linseed oils in our Omega 3 Aid supplement. Linseed or flax oil is extremely rich in Omega 3 fatty acids compared to most other food sources, and hemp oil is probably the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids found in the plant world. The unique combination found in hemp also allows your dog to produce EPA and DHA, both of which are normally only found in fish oils and are crucial for maintaining the natural anti-inflammatory action of the body.
Why is Hemp Oil a Good Alternative to Fish Oil?
Hemp oil is naturally rich in Omega 3, including SDA which is a particularly potent form of Omega 3. It also contains the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, which is vitally important for optimum health and helps to prevent a wide range of health issues. And because hemp oil contains both ALA and SDA omega 3’s it offers greater bioavailability so the body can benefit.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Deficient in Omega 3?
The signs of an Omega 3 deficiency in your dog can be quite varied but they might include a dry or dull coat, dry or flaky skin, muscle weakness or lethargy, hair loss and even impaired vision. As an anti-inflammatory, Omega 3 can also help to relieve the itching caused by environment and/or food allergies.
What’s the Best Way to Get Omega 3 into My Dog’s Diet?
Your dog either needs to get their Omega 3 fatty acids from food, like oily fish, or from a nutritional supplement like Omega 3 Aid for Cats & Dogs. Supplements are an easy way to add additional nutrients to your dog’s normal diet and Omega 3 supplements are recommended by many vets these days.
Omega 3 Aid for Cats & Dogs is rich in both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and, crucially, contains the correct balance that is vital to your dog’s optimum health.