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Health & nutrition

Is Fish Oil Good for Dogs?

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil for dogs is important for several reasons which we’ll cover in this article. Fish oil is a nutrient-rich natural fat that is often described as a functional ingredient or a superfood because of the important omega-3 fatty acid health benefits that it offers. Extracted as an oil from the tissues of oily fish such as herring, tuna, anchovies, salmon and mackerel, this ingredient is also rich in two important omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Fish Oil for Dogs: The Role of Fats in Our Pet’s Nutrition

Fats in general are known as lipids and can be found in both animal and plant-based ingredients. Fats have multiple functions in the body that contribute to your dog’s overall health:

  • Storing energy
  • Providing structural support for membranes
  • Support function of skin and coat health
  • Support function of brain and nerve development
  • Help reduce susceptibility to inflammation

Why Fish Oil for Dogs is Important: Omega Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish oil is rich in Omega fatty acids. Ensuring your dog’s diet has nutrient-rich omega fatty acids ingredients like fish oil has been shown to balance the amount of omega-6 fatty acids and improve the appearance and feel of skin and coat in dogs. DHA and EPA present in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oils are also important for young puppies and kittens with studies showing dietary inclusion can support brain, nerve, and eye development to give them the best start in life.

Omega 6 fatty acids: Found in animal tissues such as chicken fat or vegetable oil and consist of two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid. These omega-6 fatty acids help maintain skin and coat condition in dogs. Without enough omega 6 fatty acids, pets may experience dull, dry coat, hair loss, greasy skin, and increased susceptibility to skin inflammation. Most commercial dog and cat diets contain more than adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids but because these fatty acids can be converted to compounds that increase susceptibility to skin inflammation, it is important to balance the amount of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet with omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oils or flaxseed, which can help reduce susceptibility to inflammation.

Does my pet’s food contain enough fish oil for dogs?

Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil among other ingredients) are not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profile which means not every dog food contains guaranteed amounts of these valuable nutrients. To determine if your recipe does, simply turn the bag over and check the guaranteed analysis. This simple chart is where each company must declare the nutrient levels present in their finished product. As you can see here in the image below, Wellness contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a balanced ratio in addition to DHA & EPA to support the cognitive development for puppies.

Woman holding Wellness Core Puppy dog food

Wellness Nutrition

Wellness’s team of pet health experts including animal nutritionists and veterinarians choose fat sources carefully to ensure balance and guaranteed levels of essential and beneficial dietary fatty acids for optimal health and a life of wellbeing. Healthy fats including flaxseed, fish oil (e.g. Menhaden, Herring), salmon oil, marine microalgae oil, and chicken fat are used to supply a healthy complement of fatty acids in the diet. The species-specific animal protein ingredients in each recipe such as chicken, turkey, lamb and fish will also supply the corresponding animal fat and protein to deliver not only the essential and beneficial fatty acids a pet needs for health but also the energy they need to fuel their busy and active lives for a lifetime of wellbeing.

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