Essential fatty acids are all the rage. When they exploded onto the health scene they certainly had the potential to become the latest health fad, but their list of benefits keep on coming. This is definitely one health trend that’s here to stay. In fact, it’s even sneaking its way into dog health.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids consist of alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid (or for us simple folk ALA, DHA and EPA). Scientists are seeing a huge impact from these fatty acids with human matters like heart health, cancer, and arthritis. And the studies just keep on coming! Given the enormous rewards that this powerful anti-inflammatory poses for human health, it’s no surprise that ALA, DHA, and EPA would do well by dogs too. The fatty 3’s may be just as soothing to dog’s skin and joints. They can also help canine’s with blood pressure, eye health, allergies, and even osteoarthritis. Dog or human, omega-3’s are an important part of every plate (or bowl).
Not all Omega’s are created equal, and supplements specially formulated for dogs may actually lack on omega-3’s and consist of ethyl ester or synthetic triglycerides rather than natural triglycerides. At the same time, some of the higher quality EFA’s marketed to humans may contain herbs and compounds that dogs should avoid. Take some time to do some research and make sure to get your vet to weigh in on the matter.
As great as Omega-3’s can be for dogs, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3’s may slow healing and impair blood clotting in dogs, so you don’t want to go too heavy on the fish oil. Longtime veterinarian Dr. Ken Tudor suggests giving the average dog 20-55mg of EPA and DHA for every pound of bodyweight. Obviously, some dogs will have conditions and body types that may warrant more or less, so pinpoint a more appropriate measurement by watching your dog’s everyday behavior and talking with your vet.
Have you tried incorporating omega-3’s into your dog’s diet? What product did you decide on and how did you give it? Did you see changes in your dog? Tell us all about it in the comments!