Omega Fatty Acids for Dogs and Cats
Fatty acids are the smaller subunits of fat; the most well-known are omega-3 and omega-6. A pet’s body cannot produce most omega fatty acids on its own, but supplementing them can help harness their health benefits.
Linoleic is an omega-6 fatty acid found in plant oils, whereas arachidonic acid is common in animal fats. The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish oil supplements. These omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play a role in almost every aspect of pet health.
How Fatty Acids Could Benefit Your Pet
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have specific functions in your pet’s body:
- The omega-6 fatty acids support normal reproduction and growth, as well as healthy skin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids support development of healthy nervous tissue and help maintain a normal immune response.
- The omega-3 fatty acid DHA has been shown to support puppy trainability.
- EPA, another important omega-3 fatty acid, has been shown to help promote joint health, flexibility and mobility, and reduce inflammation due to normal activity.
The Role of Fatty Acids in Normal Inflammation
Despite having similar names, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have very different jobs when it comes to a normal inflammatory response. Omega-6 fatty acids begin the inflammatory cascade to combat infection or tissue injury, while the omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are needed to help decrease normal inflammatory pathways. The balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is what helps maintain the body’s proper inflammatory response.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs and Cats
Veterinarians may recommend omega-3 supplements with high levels of EPA and DHA to maintain normal inflammatory response and help support normal body functions in dogs and cats. For example:
- Omega-3 fatty acids help support a normal inflammatory response in the skin and may be used to support pets with seasonal allergies.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may be used to maintain an aging pet’s normal kidney and cardiovascular functions.
- Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are important for supporting everyday activity and healthy joints.
What You Need to Know about Fish Oil Supplements
Your veterinarian will be able to recommend:
- A quality product with a high amount of EPA and DHA
- A safe and effective dose to give your individual pet