Fats can be a little bit of a minefield, so we thought we’d explore sources of both omega-3 and omega 6 in a little more detail, and how to feed them to your dog.
In dogs, the body has a requirement for two distinct EFA families. The Omega-6 and Omega-3 series.
Omega-3 fatty acids, ALA (alpha linolenic acid) is often found in certain plants such as flax seed, sacha inchi seed, hemp seeds, chia seeds, avocado flesh only and oysters. Although ALA foods and supplements are not a substitute for fish or algae oil, due to the high Omega-6 content also, they can be an excellent additional supplement to include in the diet and added to certain meat sources.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are often found in high levels and good ratios in fish (these have the most anti-inflammatory effect). Found in salmon, tuna, trout,cod, krill, oysters, seabass, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
Non animal sources containing DHA and EPA are phytoplankton and marine algae oil. Although these are great additions to your dog’s diet, they do not contain as much DHA and EPA as fish.They therefore don’t exert as much of an anti-inflammatory effect.
Let's explore fat sources in a little more detail.
Whole fish is a great addition to your dog’s diet but ensuring you don’t feed fish from the Pacific due to radiation, heavy metals and toxins, is essential.
Feeding small fish such as krill, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are better options. Oils in this form can be found too. Oils must not be kept for longer than 3 months and also should be stored in a safe, cool, refrigerated place. Glass tinted bottles or air tight pumps and capsules are best.
Always look for antioxidant technology or the addition of tocopherol (vitamin E 4-10 iu for 1 gram is good). Quality is key as is storage to prevent rancidity.
Algae are aquatic, plant-like organisms. Algae is always a great option for dogs allergic to or who don’t like fish.
Algae sources are also DHA dominant as opposed to fish that are EPA dominant.
Phytoplankton are microorganisms that drift about in water.
Phytoplankton are photosynthetic (have the ability to use sunlight to produce energy) and whilst they are plant-like with this ability, phytoplankton are not plants. They do however contain DHA and EPA and hold similar values to algae.
Phytoplankton is a good option for those who want a sustainable product, as it can be grown in filtered water, free from heavy metals and toxicity found in the ocean.
The reason hemp seed oil and hemp seeds milled are so popular is because of the perfect ratio it offers of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids; 3:1.
Hempseed contains the Omega 6 fatty acid called GLA (gamma linolenic acid). Research shows that GLA can support production of various prostaglandins and leukotrienes (the compounds that influence inflammation and pain). Some of the prostaglandins and leukotrienes can increase symptoms, while others decrease them. Taking GLA helps support the favoured prostaglandins and leukotrienes, helping to reduce inflammation and disease associated with inflammation such as skin disorders, reproductive issues, arthritis and cancer.
Feed 28-30 grams of fish per 450 grams of ruminant fed. Feed 112-120 grams for every 450 grams of poultry fed.
Must be made from sardines, mackerel or anchovies. There will be less toxins and only mostly fed from phytoplankton.
Follow instructions on the phytoplankton you purchase as they frequently differ in volume.
Feed 4-6 tsp per 1kg of food.
Feed up to 1 tsp per 5kg of weight
If you are unsure on which fats or how to feed them to your pet, then check out our services to see how we can help.
Thanks for reading,