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Fish oil is gaining popularity as an important supplement to add to your dog’s diet, no matter what type of diet you feed. It is a rich source of the two essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), found in the fatty tissues of cold water, oily fish.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are a fundamental dietary requirement as they control important hormones in the body. But the body can’t make them; instead they have to come from diet, hence the term essential. If your dog eats too much or too little of one or the other, the hormones and immune system may be out of balance. The ratio is very important.
Dogs with allergies, auto-immune or inflammatory conditions need more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation, which is not desirable for dogs with allergies or joint pain but is beneficial if your dog has an infection.
That’s still being researched, but current recommendations are between 10:1 to 5:1 of omega-6’s to omega-3’s.
Unfortunately, because of what they are fed, most dogs consume far too many omega-6’s and too few omega-3’s. Most pet foods contain much more omega-6’s simply because they are more prevalent in the foods dogs typically eat (and humans as well). Some pet food manufacturers add omega-3’s to their foods to attempt to reduce the ratios. But fatty acids are also very vulnerable to heat and oxygen and can be damaged or lose their bio-availability during the cooking or canning process. That’s why omega-3 supplementation is even more important.
From the research I’ve done, healthy dogs can be given 100 to 150 mg of each per 10 pounds of body weight per day.
Do your homework. We’ve done our research, and the product we like best, and give to our own dogs are the oils from Iceland Pure. They make several different types of oils, and recommend rotating them.
Most reports say within 3 to 4 weeks, you should begin to see signs of improvement such as reduced itchy skin, better digestion, and reduced anxiety.
In our opinion, giving your dog a fish oil supplement is worth it. But if there’s any question, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. And if you have any questions about fish oil, or other supplements, please contact us.