Refilling your dog’s food bowl is a ritual that happens, for many, up to four times a day. But as you hear that kibble clink or patty plop into your pet’s culinary space, do you ever wonder if your dog is getting all the nutrients he or she needs? There are hundreds of diets out there for humans: the protein-heavy keto diet, a vegetable and grain filled vegan diet, and so many more; are there diets that follow similar patterns for dogs? Absolutely.
No matter what type of food you are feeding your dog, one of the best ways to know that he or she is getting the fuel they need is to check the amount (and type) of Omega 3’s in a serving of their food.
Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential component of every dog’s diet as this form of fat is necessary for a healthy and happy digestive system, and yet it is not able to be naturally produced by the body.
There are countless benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids for a dog, including a healthy skin and coat, reduction of allergies, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, brain development in puppies, and a healthy digestive system.
1. Proper Neural Development and other parts of the body
For every stage of your dog’s life, Omega 3’s are essential. Early on, a puppy needs copious amounts of Omega 3’s to ensure proper neural development, as well as for their heart and blood flow, immune system establishment, and future reproductive abilities. Even while still in the womb, Omega 3’s help create the fetus’s nervous system and parts of the eye. Without an appropriate amount of Omega 3 fatty acid in a young dog’s diet, any one of these essential aspects of their body could fail to develop, leaving them essentially crippled in one or areas of their lives.
2. Reduce Inflammation, and health skin and coat
Once your puppy has outgrown their puppy stage, Omega 3’s do not become less important. Now that all their systems have developed, Omega 3’s will allow them to continue operating effectively. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation and contribute to the health and supplety of your dog’s coat, skin, and even the pads of their feet! Without sufficient fatty acids in their diet, canines can begin to experience skin scaling, increased allergic reactions, dander and itchiness. Furthermore, fats are one of the most efficient sources of energy for your canine, and a lack of this resource can contribute to lethargy and overall lack of quality of life for your pooch.
3. Prevents canine cancer and arthritis
When your faithful companion reaches an advanced age, your priorities for their nutrition may shift dramatically, depending on the health concerns that may arise. Canine cancer is a significant reason to make sure your dog is getting enough Omega 3s. Studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids are able to attack certain types of cancer, to the point that they are slowed down or effectively treated. Supplementing your dog’s diet is one of the best ways to ensure a successful fight with cancer. Another less dramatic concern that may arise in your dog’s health is arthritis, and Omega 3s have been shown to have a positive impact on this issue as well. Canine arthritis which is a significant source of pain, lameness, and sensitivity in dogs advanced in years will be reduced dramatically by Omega 3 fatty acids in your dog’s diet.
A good goal for how much Omega-3 fatty acids you should be giving to your dog daily, whether by supplementation or his diet alone should be determined through discussion with your dog’s doctor. Depending on your dog’s stage of life, heath conditions or concerns, and weight range, their doctor may recommend anywhere between 20 and 100 milligrams of Omega-3’s per pound of bodyweight.
If your dog’s food does not contain an appropriate level of Omega 3’s for your dog, a high quality fish oil is the best way to supplement their diet. Look for one that has both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two essential forms of Omega 3. It is crucial to note as well that many Omega 3 supplements also contain Omega 6, which most dogs generally already ingest too much of. Take care that your dog is receiving through their diet or supplements a ratio that is high in Omega 3s and low in Omega 6s.