Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Your Pet

April 25, 2013

by Andrea Berry – Chase Farm Veterinary Hospital

We’ve all read a lot in recent years about the benefits of Omega-3s in our diet.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids are an important component in keeping our bodies healthy, strong and active. They enable us to combat current health problems and help prevent medical issues later on in life.  Did you realize that the same benefits of omega-3s hold true for your pets?

Why Does My Pet Need Omega-3s?

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Deneki.com Photo: Cameron Miller

Just like us, our pets can suffer from a variety of health-related issues and continue to develop new problems as they age. Think along the continuum of anything from early brain development and vision to later-term issues such as skin problems, allergies and arthritis.

Just as we do, our pets can benefit from natural supplements to their diet which contribute to better health.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids are one such source of supplementation that is incredibly beneficial to our pets for both immediate and long-term health.

Funnily enough neither we nor our pets produce enough of the Omega-3s we need just naturally in our bodies,  and unless we’re all eating a ton of salmon or other immediate sources of this fatty acid then we’ve got to supplement our diets to make up for the deficiency.

How Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to positively affect both dogs and cats with inflammatory conditions associated with the joints and arthritis, skin and coat issues, kidneys, and the heart. The benefits of Omega-3s are almost too many to count and the negative – well, almost nill.  So why aren’t we and our pets all getting the full benefit of Omega-3s?

Studies have also shown benefits in terms of brain development early on as well as the maintenance of cognitive function later in life for our pet.  Some recent research has even shown a link between omega-3s and helping overweight pets to drop those extra pounds.  Here’s a run down of some of the systems which can benefit from this dietary supplement:

  • Joint Health
  • Heart Health
  • Cellular Health
  • Immune System Health
  • Skin and Coat Health
  • Brain Development and Maintenance
  • Eye Development and Maintenance
  • Possibly Weight Loss

 

One Fatty Acid is Not Like the Other!

What our pets need to provide optimum health benefits associated with Fatty Acids are what are called the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms of polyunsaturated fats (known as Essential Fatty Acids – EFAs).

These EFAs are found most abundantly in fish. Omeg-3s can also be found in plants and seeds (for example flax seed) but the omega-3 nutrients here are stored in a form called ALA (alphaolinolenic acid) which is difficult for dogs and humans (and really tough for cats) to break down for nutritional benefit.

So the easiest and most efficient format in which to access those omega-3s is via fish. Had enough of the ABCs of fatty acids?! Ok – don’t give up now because here’s the easy down-low..

Get Your Omega-3 EFAs Here!

7980283_sThe best source to provide your pet with the proper balance of omega-3 fatty acids is through fish oils. Non-liver oils sourced from the actual fish body (versus for instance liver oils – think of that yucky cod liver oil that Grandma tried to push) are ideal because they lack extra Vitamin D that can occur in liver oils (and which is great for us humans but not so much our pet friends), and they’re easily absorbed into your pet’s body.

So, what to do?  Well, unless you cook up (the aforementioned) salmon for the family as well as the pets every night- or you’ve trained Fido or Princess Fluffy Mittens how to fish in the icy waters of Norway or Alaska (please send in pictures if you have) – then the only way you’re going to get these goldmines of goodness into those bodies is via a supplement.

 

The Supplement We Lovecfvh-pictures-nordic-naturals-pet-omega-3-248x300

The source we’ve found to be the most pure, high grade and potent source of omega-3 fish oil is through a company called Nordic Naturals.  Chase Farm carries Nordic Naturals Fish Oils supplements in a both liquid and capsule form that are easily given to your dog or cat.

We really believe in the quality and effectiveness of this product and would recommend it to all of our clients.  For the environmentalist in you these products are also produced from responsibly sourced, wild caught and sustainable fish so you can feel good about supporting your pet’s health while supporting the planet.

At your next visit talk with your Veterinarian about how your pet can benefit from a healthy dose of omega-3s or come on in, call or email us and we’d be happy to talk with you about their benefits!

 

Want To Learn More?

Here are some study links and informative sites where you can research omega-3s and your pet:

 

  1. Are omega fatty acids important in dog food?  by Chris Warren
  2. Omega-3 Fats May Help with Weight Loss in Pets; Dr. Ken Tudor
  3. Fatty acid patterns of dog erythrocyte membranes after feeding of a fish-oil based DHA-rich supplement with a base diet low in n-3 fatty acids versus a diet containing added n-3 fatty acids Katja Stoeckel1*, Leif H Nielsen2, Herbert Fuhrmann1 and Lisa Bachmann1,3
  4. Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker
  5. Nordic Naturals Nordic Pet
  6. The Fuss About Fish Oil
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