Omega 3 fatty acids…Omega 6 fatty acids…Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid…now hold on a second, I can’t even pronounce those words, let alone understand what they are! Let’s all take a big breath and a short look at the benefits of fatty acids for our pets. We will not dive into complex terms or science but simply give you an overview of why these fats are important, at a practical level.
When we speak of fatty acids, we generally refer to Omega 3, 6 and 9. Suffice it to say that most pet food does not provide a balanced amount of fatty acids, has an excess of Omega 6 (which feeds inflammation) and on top of that, the quality of the fatty acids in commercial pet food is low due to the degradation caused by poor manufacturing and storage.
Areas of Pet Health Addressed by Fatty Acids
Reduction of Joint Inflammation and Arthritis
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce joint inflammation, including inflammation caused by arthritis. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which has been incorporated in an animal’s cells, is released to combat the effects of Arachidonic acid (AA), the Omega 6 fatty acid which causes inflammation.
It’s about balance and proportions and having the correct amounts of Omega 3’s in your pet’s diet, from sources such as pure salmon oil, organic flaxseed and virgin olive oil is essential for healthy joints.
An allergic reaction happens when your dog or cat’s immune system overreacts to a stimulus. This is commonly seen with reactions to flea bites but there are many other forms of stimuli. Along with proper hygiene, Omega 3 fatty acid supplements will support healthy skin in your pet.
Omega 3’s support good heart function, including the prevention of high blood pressure and ventricular arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).
A shiny coat is often an indicator of good internal health whereas a dull coat can be a symptom of nutritional deficiencies. An animal with a dull or otherwise unhealthy looking coat may benefit from extra Omega 6 – Linoleic acid (LA).
What About the Food I Feed my Pet?
- Doesn’t pet food provide the essential fatty acids that my dog or cat requires? Not really…
- Fatty acids in foods are subject to degradation
- Overcooking during manufacturing can destroy fatty acids
- Improper storage may result in rancidity
- Most pet foods contain far more Omega 6 (which promotes inflammation) than Omega 3 (which decreases inflammation)
Providing a pet supplement with the proper balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will support your pet’s health in ways which can be felt by your pet and noticed by you. The actions of these two parent fatty acids mirror each other in making non-essential fatty acids (termed “derivatives”). This activity is required by your pet’s body for healthy inflammatory and histamine response, metabolism and overall health and wellness.
Our modern environment, along with poor nutrition in pet food, create an imbalance and deficiency in these fatty acids. Ensuring that your pet receives them in proper balance will go a long way in supporting their health and vitality.