Is your dog's fur coat starting to look a little shabby? If your furry friend is battling chronic issues like arthritis, itchy allergies or skin disorders, dietary supplements of omega-3 fatty acids could be just what the doctor ordered. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are an essential nutritional supplement for dogs since they help with skin conditions, allergies, kidney function, lymphoma, heart disease, cognitive function, arthritis, and more.
Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil (EPA and DHA) have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and irritation caused by various health conditions. If your dog suffers from kidney or heart disease, omega-3 can help him feel better for longer. Omega-3 have even shown to delay the growth and spread of cancer. Omega-3 will not only help your dog feel better but look better too by regaining a natural sheen and softness to the coat.
Vegetable oils (ie. flax, canola, walnut and soybean) can provide another omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). However, dogs are not very good at transforming ALA into the necessary omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Therefore, it is much more efficient to provide dogs with EPA and DHA directly. Good sources include cold water fish oils e.g., salmon oil, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines and certain types of algal oil.
The recommended dosage is for every 30 pounds of body weight, give 1,000 mg fish oil containing 300 mg of EPA/DHA combined. If your dog will eat a small sardine, each sardine has 100 mg EPA/DHA. Plant sources of omega-3 are useless to dogs because their bodies can’t convert it to DHA. So keep in mind fish oils (in the form of capsules) are far more effective than vegetable oils like flax, canola, walnut, soybean which also have Omega 3.
About 22-40 mg/kg/day of EPA are beneficial, but most fish oil supplements contain higher doses of DHA and EPA. Omega 3 fatty acids are quite safe, but when given in extremely large doses can lead to gastrointestinal upset, problems with the blood clotting system, and immune dysfunction.
Note that adding fish oils to your dog's diet may cause deficiency in Vitamin E which is another essential nutrient. Therefore, it is recommended to add 1 to 2 IUs of Vitamin E per pound of body weight.
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