4 Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acid for Dogs

Salmon Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acid is a well-known dietary supplement for humans but what about for dogs and other household pets? Well, it turns out these fatty acids are just as beneficial for a dog’s diet and can improve their physical and mental health in a number of ways.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the nutritional balance of dogs. The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The source of these three fatty acid types are not necessarily the same. For example, ALA is commonly found in plant-based oils like flaxseed, while EPA and DHA is more common in fish and other types of seafood.

Omega-3 fatty acids is not typically found naturally in a dog’s body because the body is incapable of making ALA so it’s important for dogs to get these nutrients through the food they consume. For the purpose of maintaining a dog’s health, EPA and DHA are considered to be more beneficial than ALA.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs

Here are some benefits that a dog could gain from including omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.

1. Reduce Pain for Dogs with Arthritis

Omega-3 fatty acids may help dogs that suffer from joint issues like arthritis. Research have shown that fatty acids in EPA and DHA can help reduce the discomfort and pain caused by the inflammation of the joints. In the study, researchers were able to see that dogs that were supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids were able to show better ability to rise from a resting position.

2. Improve the Health of Dogs with Kidney Diseases

Other studies have shown that a diet including omega-3 fatty acids may help improve the health of dogs that suffer from chronic kidney diseases. EPA and DHA can help reduce inflammation and reduce hypertension in important components of the kidney.

3. Improve the Brain Development of Puppies

Omega-3 fatty acids may also serve as an important nutrient for puppies as it may support the development and functioning of the brain. The introduction of omega-3 fatty acids should start during pregnancy and not when the puppies are born. DHA, in particular, is believed to have an important role because about 50% of the brain is composed of fat (10-20% of which is DHA).

4. Improve a Dog’s Immune System

Last but not least, omega-3 fatty acids are known for supporting a dog’s immune system. This is especially important for puppies that have yet to have a proper immune system or for senior dogs that have a weakened immune system. A dog fed with a diet supplemented with omega-3 may be less prone to inflammation and other diseases.

Like with any health-related issues, we strongly suggest you talk with the vet first before you decide to supplement your dog’s diet with omega-3 fatty acid. Despite its health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids could also be dangerous to dogs if too much is given to your dog. The vet will be able to tell you the appropriate amount of fatty acids your dog will need in his diet.

Common Questions About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Here are some common questions that dog owners ask about the use of fish pills and fatty acids.

Can You Give Your Dog Human Fish Oil Capsules?

You should not give your dog human fish oil capsules. This also applies to any other products that is designed for human use. The reason for this is due to the dosage. The amount of fatty acids in a human fish oil capsule may be too much for certain dog breeds and cause more harm than good.

Does Fish Oil Help Dogs with Itchy Skin?

Fish oil may potentially help dogs with itchy skin as the nutrients promotes a silky coat and also reduces the risk of inflammation, which may have caused the itchiness to occur.

John at My Pet Child

is the Founder of My Pet Child, where he shares his tips on living with a dog in an apartment.

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