Omega 3 fatty acids for dogs can help prevent some diseases. But you have to be careful because supplementing the diet with Omega 3 also has risks.
Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs may help to prevent certain illnesses. However, care should be taken as supplementing a diet with Omega-3 is not without risk.
What are Omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are known as “essential fatty acids”. They are called “essential” because they are necessary fatty acids for dogs which their bodies are unable to produce: they have to get them through their diet.
Interestingly, what is ‘essential’ for one animal species isn’t necessarily ‘essential’ for another. In the case of dogs, Omega-3 is essential, just as it is for us as humans. However, Omega-6, which you may also have heard of and is an essential fatty acid for humans, is not essential for dogs.
Benefits of Omega-3 for dogs
- Improves the condition of the skin and fur
- May help prevent diseases affecting the immune system, especially those that affect the dog’s skin
- Contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which plays a part in brain development. It’s really important to supplement a puppy’s diet with DHA to encourage optimum neural development. Pregnant and lactating bitches also need additional DHA.
- Reduction in itchiness caused by allergies. Reducing itchiness means that dogs don’t scratch as much, which may avoid lesions caused by scratching.
- Fewer skin and ear infections.
- May help prevent cardiovascular problems.
- Acts as a natural antioxidant.
Symptoms of an Omega-3 deficiency in dogs
As we have seen, Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid for your dog. That's why a deficiency in this fatty acid in your dog’s diet can lead to visible symptoms which have a direct impact on your dog’s health. The main symptoms of an Omega-3 deficiency in dogs are:
- Poor condition of the dog’s coat and skin: the fur is rough and brittle, while the skin may be dry, scaly or show signs of seborrhoea.
- Frequent scratching: one of the symptoms associated with an Omega-3 deficiency is itchiness.
- Brittle claws
- Your dog is more tired than usual
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should make an appointment with your vet. They may be due to a lack of Omega-3, but they could also be linked to an illness. Never supplement your dog’s diet with Omega-3 for dogs without first checking with a vet.