Fatty acids for dogs can do a lot more than just help add gloss to their hair coat; they can also help with their skin and their joints.
But this is just the beginning of the list as they can also help with their immune system, arthritic conditions, as well as eye and heart conditions.
They also have very few documented side effects, unless you abuse them and use extremely high dosages.
In this case, they could cause pancreatitis, but this is considered extremely rare and the high dosages would have to be for several months.
Before any owner should actually use fatty acids for dogs as a supplement, it is very helpful to fully understand exactly what they are.
Fatty acids for dogs come in two major classes: Omega-3 and Omega-6.
However, there is one other class, Omega-9.
However they are not recommend for the simple fact that they actually decreases the concentrations of the major two classes in your dog’s blood as well as their skin.
Your dog can produce some of their fatty acid needs, but not all of their needs.
The ones that they cannot produce can only be obtained in two ways; through their diet or with supplements.
These are referred to as essential fatty acids, but it is also important to note that not all of these are essential for all pets.
For example, there is one of the fatty acids referred to as arachidonic acid that is critical for cats, but not for your dog.
It is also very important to understand that there are some diseases that will cause the enzymes to convert one fatty acid to other form, and as a result, it can very easily cause a deficiency of that fatty acid in your dog.
If you have your dog on a fat-restricted diet because they are overweight, this can also result in a fatty acid deficiency.
Fatty acids also present one other major challenge to dog owners; they can very easily be diluted by a process known as degradation.
If you feed you dog a natural or a raw diet and overcook the ingredients, it can destroy all of the fatty acids.
Commercial dog food at one time was also subject to this, but this process has greatly improved over the years.
However, fatty acids are also subject to rancidity in dry dog food, especially form inadequate storage as well as an inadequate amount of antioxidants that are added.
The two major classes of fatty acid for dogs starts with Omega-3, and this is made up of Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, Eicosapentaenoic acid, also known as EPA.
Docosahexaenoic acid, referred to as DHA. It is helpful to understand this make up for a couple of reason.
EPA is considered to be the power or workhorse of the Omega-3 group, and ALA can be converted to EPA, but this conversion does not happen in your dog’s skin.
Omega-6 fatty acids are made up of Linoleic acid, also known as LA, Gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid, or DGLA.
And Arachidonic acid, also known as AA. In this grouping, LA can be converted to GLA, but again not in your dog’s skin.
LA is extremely important to your dog as it helps to optimize the amount of water, referred to as permeability, in their skin.
The exact ratio of these classes of fatty acids for dogs is extremely important, but it is also helpful to understand that this is still not an exact science.
In fact, the desired ratio has changed in the last few
It was originally held by the medical community that the ratio should be 15:1 Omega-6 to 5:1, Omega-3.
However, that has recently been adjusted to 10:1 Omega-6 to 5:1 Omega-3.
If you do use commercial food and look at the label, you will see that most every manufacturer uses much more Omega-6 than Omega-3.
However, this has changed as research has shown that the concentration of EPA that is found in Omega-3 is critical for your dog, as this is the major reason for the adjustment in the ratio.
There are several sources of fatty acids for dogs and it also very helpful to understand these sources.
Fat itself does contain fatty acids, but this can be very deceiving, as not all fat is created equal, and there are a lot of misconceptions.
One of the misconceptions is that beef fat is high in fatty acid which is incorrect; it is actually very low.
On the other hand, sunflower oil and fish oil are extremely high in fatty acids. Fatty acids for dogs are also found abundantly in several plants as well as cold water fish and some grains.
Fatty acids for dogs are perhaps best known for what they do to improve your dog’s dull or dry hair coat. LA is considered critical in fighting dull, brittle, or dry hair coats in your dogs and it can also help with seborrhea.
However, it is also believed that EPA as well as GLA is also critical as they help to reduce the negative effects that are caused by AA and the damages it does to the cells in your dog’s skin.
Fatty acids in dogs next benefit is with inflammation. Both AA as well as EPA can be easily incorporated into your dog’s cells.
If one of these cells is damaged, AA is instantly released by your dog immune system form the membrane, where it is immediately metabolized by enzymes.
These enzymes than change it into a substance which causes both inflammation as well as itching sensations, but your dog’s system is not done.
Your dog’s immune system is extremely well designed and it also releases EPA as soon as any damage occurs.
This is critical as EPA, once released, challenges AA for the same metabolic enzymes, which automatically results in lowering the amount of inflammation substances.
This is why the concentration of EPA is critical for dogs in their diet.
Fatty acid for dogs also helps with two other very important conditions in your dog; allergies and autoimmune conditions.
Allergies occur in your dog for one very simple reason; their autoimmune system over reacts which in turns trigger the allergies.
It is believed that fatty acids have a dramatic impact on this over-reaction if the amounts in your dog’s diet are adequate.
Arthritis and Inflammatory Disease
Fatty acids for dogs can also help one of the most dangerous of all conditions; arthritis.
EPA is gaining attention in the medical community as especially helpful with inflammation that triggers arthritis.
However, it is also believed to help with ulcerative colitis, IBD or inflammatory bowel disease, as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
It is also held that fatty acids for dogs can prevent certain cardiac problems that affect your dog’s heart.
Fatty acids do two major things in this area; they help to reduce high blood pressure as well as help with clotting.
Ventricular arrhythmia's are almost always the result of high blood pressure, and there is a lot of research now that is showing that fatty acids help to reduce high blood pressure in your dog.
However, it also helps with its anti-clotting ability as a lubricant and can help prevent conditions such as thromboembolism.
There is also a lot of research that has shown that fatty acids for dogs help with yeast infections, preventing atopy, as well as helping your dog’s overall vision.
There is also ongoing research that they may also be very helpful in both preventing cancer as it helps to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels in your dog’s blood.
Fatty acids are something that every owner should consider supplementing in your dog’s diet as the upside is huge and the downside is almost non-existent.