Have you seen dog food ads talking about their healthy ingredients, including fatty acids? Do you know what fatty acids are and why they’re important? Maybe you’ve heard about the health benefits of fatty acid supplements for we humans, but did you know dogs also need fatty acid supplements.
Essential Fatty Acids
What are essential fatty acids? According to American Family Physician, fatty acids are “long-chain hydrocarbons…found in fruits, vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, animal fats and fish oils. Essential fatty acids serve important cellular functions.” These fatty acids are not made by us or our canine companions, so our diet must include healthy sources of essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids work to manage inflammation in the body. Omega 6 and Omega 3 are examples of essential fatty acids and they were together to control inflammation. Omega 6 (such as linoleic acid) increase inflammation, while Omega 3 (such as alpha-linolenic acid) decreases inflammation. What does this mean when it comes to our pup’s health? These two fatty acids work together to manage the immune response and keep your dog’s immune system strong and healthy. Omega 6 and Omega 3 can help improve such conditions as:
- Promotes joint health
- Skin conditions
- Eye problems
- Kidney function
- Autoimmune diseases
- Decrease shedding
- Help improve cancer survival when combined with chemotherapy
- Can help with weight loss in overweight or obese pets
- And more
Now, it’s important to realize that dogs cannot make their own essential fatty acids. In wild, canines get these important nutrients from their diet. Animals high in these healthy fats include elk, deer, pheasants and other animals. If your dog’s not on a wild diet, then he’ll need to obtain fatty acids from his commercially prepared, homemade dog food or from supplements.
Dog Food & Essential Fatty Acids
It’s important that your dog’s food has the right amounts of essential fatty acids. Remember, Omegas 6 & 3 work together to balance and manage inflammation in the body. Too much of either one can lead to health issues and disease, such as arthritis. These fats are not always balanced in your dog’s food; in fact, most commercially prepared dog food contains a lot more Omega 6 than Omega 3. So, it may be necessary to give your fur baby an Omega 3 supplement to balance out the Omega 6 in his food.
If you feed your dog a commercially prepared dog food, or prepare homemade meals for your pup, then you’ll want to make sure to include foods that are naturally good sources of Omega fatty acids.
- These foods include:
- Fish: high in Omega 3, and is also a good source of minerals. A good choice would be mackerel, anchovies or sardines from an Atlantic source, as these fish eat only plankton. They’re a “cleaner” alternative to other fish from the Pacific or other sources.
- Plankton: these small plants are high in Omega 3, along with minerals. These can be sourced from the ocean or even grown commercially. They’re also considered a “clean” source of fatty acids.
What about flaxseed oil for dogs? Flaxseed oil does contain Omega 3s, but it comes from alpha-linolenic acid, which dogs are not able to convert into EPA and DHA. Your dog will only receive a minimal amount of Omega 3. Flaxseed oil also contains Omega 6, which your dog’s probably already getting too much of in his dog food. Most pet nutritionists therefore recommend the Omega 3 source come from fish or plankton.
Look for dog food labels that include fish or plankton as sources of Omega 3s for your pup. Another option is to give your dog supplements that contain Omega 3 fatty acids.
Dog Omega Supplements
Dogs and their humans both benefit from omega supplements. Right here, you may ask, “Can I give my dog Omega 3 for humans?” While most human fish oil supplements are safe for dogs, the problem comes with the dosage your dog receives.
The recommended dosage of Omega 3 for your dog depends on his weight. Figure it like this: for each 30 pounds of your dog’s weight, give him about 1,000 mg of fish oil (that contains about 300 mg of EPA & DHA together). If you have any question about exactly how much fish oil your dog needs, be sure to consult with your veterinarian. They’ll have the best advice when it comes to your pup’s health and proper dosage of a dog fatty acid supplement.
Best Omega 3 Supplements for Dogs
If you’re considering giving your dog an Omega 3 supplement, then be sure to check out our list of some of the best fatty acid supplements for your dog.
1. Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats for Dogs
These supplements are chewy bites your dog is sure to love. Made with all-natural cod liver oil, fish oil and flaxseed meal, this supplement is packed with vitamins and minerals to ensure your pup’s coat and skin are healthy. These chicken-flavored bites will taste more like a treat, rather than a plain old supplement to your dog. They contain a healthy balance of Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 to help your dog’s skin. Not only that, but they help protect your dog’s hips and joints, along with strengthening his immune system. You can’t go wrong with this balanced fatty acid dog supplement.
2. Strawfield Omega-3 Soft Gels
These soft gels for dogs is made from fish oil that works to support his joints, allergy relief, protects his skin, decreases shedding and more. The sources of Omega 3 in this supplement are from anchovies and sardines. This product is completely made in the USA; in addition, the company is veteran and family-owned, and they’re passionate about providing excellent quality products for your fur baby.
3. Amazing Nutritionals Omega-3 Fish Oil Chew-able Tablet for Dogs
This supplement provides a balance of Omega 3, 6 & 9 to ensure your pup has enough of all three for excellent health benefits. These bacon-flavored tablets work to improve and support your dog’s immune system, hips & joints, skin and coat and more. The product uses naturally derived fatty acids from fish oil, sunflower oil and primrose oil. This product contains no shrimp, crab shar or avocado. It’s completely made in the USA at a GMP organic certified facility and is tested by a 3rd party for purity. Not only that, these tablets come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you and your pup are not satisfied with the product for any reason.
What About Dog Supplements Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has become popular for humans in supplements, cooking, personal care and more. What about dog supplements that contain coconut oil? While coconut oil does not contain Omega 3s, it does contain other health benefits.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats; you may believe these are completely unhealthy for your pup. However, many vets advocate adding coconut oil or coconut oil supplements to your dog’s daily diet.
The reason is that some dogs may develop a sensitivity to fish oil or fish oil supplements. In this case, a vet may recommend alternating coconut oil with fish oil every other day
The health benefits of high fat dog supplement include:
- Healthier skin: helps with skin allergies and other conditions (including flea allergies, contact dermatitis, etc.).
- Allergies: helps reduce allergies
- Healthy coat: makes your pup’s coat silky and shiny
- Yeast infections: works to prevent and/or treat yeast and other fungal infections
- Protects against pests: helps protect your fur baby against fleas, ticks and mites
- Digestive issues: helps to calm digestive issues and improve the absorption of nutrients
- Bad breath: can reduce or completely rid your pup of bad breath
- Immune system: strengthens the immune system against viral, bacterial and fungal infections
These are only a few of the health benefits of coconut oil for dogs. If you’re not sure about adding coconut oil to your dog’s food or giving him supplements containing coconut oil, then be sure to check with your vet for advice. Your vet will tell you if this is a good option for your dog and advise you on the proper dose for your pup’s health and weight.
Now, let’s take a look at three of the best coconut oil supplements for dogs!
Zesty Paws Coconut Oil for Dogs: this 100% organic product contains coconut oil that’s 100% certified from organic coconuts. This supplement helps to soothe itchy skin, promotes healthy skin and shiny coats, works to decrease shedding and supports brain and digestive health, along with strengthening your dog’s immune system. Also works to heal hot spots and other skin problems. And it’s even safe for puppies.
Pet Post Coconut Oil for Dogs: these supplements are great if your dog has sensitive skin or an itchy skin condition. Made from organically grown coconuts that are hand-selected, this supplement also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, and more. This company is environmentally conscious and uses only organic ingredients and recyclable packaging. You’ll also find a 100% money-back guarantee if you and your fur baby aren’t satisfied with this product in any way. No questions asked.
Natural Doggie Pure Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Dogs: this coconut dog supplement is made from organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil, and is made in the USA. These supplements are great for skin and coats, reduces allergy flair-ups. In addition, it helps treat hot spots, wounds, dry skin, bug bites or stings when applied topically. It also prevents and treats fungal infections. You can use it either topically (as noted above) or sprinkle on your dog’s food!
Dogs do sometimes need supplements—Omega 3s and coconut supplements can help your dog in a variety of ways. Not only will he enjoy healthier skin and a shiny coat, but his joints and immune system will also be stronger overall. Be sure to check with your vet for proper dosage of these supplements for your fur baby’s health!
Related Sources: Wiley Online Library Clinical Nutrition Service NCBI