There are many reasons to consider taking an Omega-3 supplement. Omega-3s support a healthy immune response and promotes comfort in bodily tissue. They may even support recovery after exercise. The signs of an omega-3 deficiency can be unpleasant. Symptoms may include everything from scaly, patchy, and flaky skin, to stiff joints, excessive thirst, allergies, constipation, and depression.
No one wants to experience these symptoms. And no one wants that for their beloved pets.
But if you’re researching omega-3s for yourself, you might find yourself coming upon a lot of listings of omega-3 for dogs.
Is omega-3 for dogs? What are its potential benefits? Does your dog need an omega-3 supplement? If so, what’s the best way to get it?
We’ll look at all of that below. First, the potential benefits, starting with the skin.
Omega-3 for Dogs’ Skin
Omega-3 may help support a dog’s healthy-looking skin. One study looked at the effect that a commercial lamb and rice dog food (containing omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids) had on skin itching in hypersensitive dogs. 18 dogs were involved in the trial and of those 18, eight of them had severe skin itching (prutitis) controlled within 7 to twenty-one days of the diet’s administration. For all dogs, “plasma and skin levels changed … when their diet was switched to the test diet.”
Omega-3 for Dogs’ Healthy Joints
Omega-3 from fish oil provides antioxidants that may provide support for healthy joints. To test this, researchers looked at what would happen if dogs with osteoarthritis were administered a supplement of concentrated omega-3 deep sea fish oil. One of the variables examined were markers of oxidative stress, which “plays an important role in the pathogenesis of disease.” The study, which compared the test group of dogs to a group given supplements of corn oil, found that the dogs who received the fish oil supplementation showed improvement across a variety of markers. In addition, there was no evidence of any adverse side effects in the dogs given omega-3 fish oil.
Omega-3 for Dogs’ Heart Health
There has been research that shows that intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFA, from fish fat can “exert protective effects against several pathologies.” While many of these studies examined how Omega-3 affect cardiovascular health in humans, some examined the effects on dog cardiovascular health as well. One study looked at the potential for preventing fatal cardiac arrhythmias in dogs and found that it was possible because of the way that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can “block proarrhythmogenic effects of adrenal agents, calcium, and other substances in isolated cardiomyocytes.”
Omega-3 fatty acids many benefit the cardiovascular health of your dog or cat in a variety of ways. Some commercial dog food brands provide the amount (40 mg/kg EPA and 25 mg/kg DHA a day) of omega-3 recommended by the veterinary school at Tufts University for dogs experiencing heart failure, but many do not. In most cases, supplements are required to meet this dose. Fish oil supplements are often recommended, but talk with your vet prior to changing your pet’s diet. Other options includes fish oil supplement, but these may not be appropriate for all pets, particularly if they have a medical condition that predisposes them to excessive bleeding.
NHC’s Pick For Omega-3 for Dogs
Omega-3 Pet for Dogs by Nordic Naturals supports the optimal health of man’s best friend with pure omega-3 fatty acids.
NOW Pets Omega-3 Support by NOW Foods is a dog/cat health supplement that helps support joint health, immune response and brain function.