Fatty Acids for Dogs

Fatty Acids for Dogs
Fatty Acids for Dogs

Fatty acids for dogs are beneficial for energy and growth. The body can synthesize some of the fatty acids though it is in very small quantities. However, most important fatty acids are available from diet and are considered essential.

Dog, a “man’s best friend “is a mammal that has many benefits as a pet. However, their domestication often exposes them to diets that are not rich in all the essential nutrients for growth.

Essential Fatty Acids for Dogs

They are part of polyunsaturated fats that include Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. However, omega 9 is not essential to the dog system and its presence can destabilize the presence of Omega 3 and 6. The absorption and subsequent use of the fatty acids can, however, be inhibited due to:

Over-preparation. Dogs often consume dry foods and the integration of some of the aids may require some warming. However, when it is overcooked the acids can be destroyed by losing their nutritive value. This is because they are highly unstable so tend to oxidize quickly upon exposure.

Health issues such as immunosuppression. In dogs, this condition can inhibit the production of fatty acids making them prone to skin and mite infections

Body weight. Obese dogs can lack the essential fatty acids due to their fat restricted diet.

Poor storage. Dry and canned foods may contain some antioxidants which combine with the unstable bonds of omega 3 acids leading to rancidity.

The two main essential fatty acids include:

Omega-6 Fatty Acids highly present in vegetable oils and which comprises of:

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This acid is present in evening primrose, borage, and black currant seed oil. It can be mixed into the dog’s diet to provide the essential nutrients.
  • Linoleic acid (LA). This is present in whole grains, sunflower and safflower oil, corn, soy, canola and in the body fat of duck, chicken, and turkeys.
  • Arachidonic acid (AA). Should be availed in very small doses and can be sourced from egg yolks, lean meat, fish oils, and poultry body fat. Though dogs can produce this  from the consumption of linoleic acid
  • Dihomogamma linolenic acid (DGLA) derived from the metabolism of Gamma-linolenic acid, it is also present in the body organs such as kidneys, spleen, and adrenals.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Benefits of Omega 3 for Dogs
Benefits of Omega 3 for Dogs
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It is present in cold water fish including salmon and trout and its oil.
  • It acts more like a hormone that is responsible for metabolism.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), present in flaxseed, soybean, canola, walnuts and hemp seed oil.. It is quite unstable and needs to be converted by the body to EPA and DHA for use in the body.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is present in cold water fish and their oil. It Containsmolecules that are rich in proteins that break down the inflammatory cytokines that are associated with inflammation.

Omega 6 is very vital to dog’s development and should be administered in a ratio. Where 5 parts of omega 6 to 1 part of omega 3 should be used especially when treating skin problems.

Benefits of Fatty Acid for Dogs

Reproduction preventing sterility and miscarriages

Sterility is caused by the lack of membrane fluidity which causes sperm immobility. The use of omega 3 fatty acids strengthens the cell membranes and increases the fluidity whilst protecting from cell damage. It also helps to fight against cytokines associated with inflammation related to testosterone production.

In female dogs, the fatty acids provide a non-inflammatory environment that promotes uterus health. Omega 3 promotes the production of prostaglandins which help to prevent membrane rupture. This will allow for more full-term gestation period.

Prevent yeast infection

Dogs are prone to yeast infections due to allergic reactions, poor diet, and immunosuppression. If left untreated can lead to reproductive problems. Fatty acids rich in proteins help to prevent these infections as they don’t contain sugar when broken down thus do not encourage yeast development. Some fatty acids are long chained and double bonded but can break down into short chains which stop the growth of pathogens linked to yeast growth.

Intelligence and brain development

The presence of Arachidonic acid an omega 6  fat present in meat, eggs, and poultry this acid is responsible for brain development and increases dogs ability to learn. The presence of Docosahexaenoic acid an omega 3 fat also helps in brain development and vision fighting retinal problems

Wound healing and immune boosting

Yeast and ear infections are prevented due to the presence of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid – The presence of omega 3 also helps to slow down kidney disease due to the immune boost. The fatty acids especially omega 3 also inhibit the rapid growth of cancer cells thus slow down cancer. This is due to its ability to maintain normal levels of lactic acid that help to maintain body PH.

Treatment of arthritis and joint pains.

Mostly experienced in older dogs who may be immunosuppressed.  In the case of an injury, the body releases excess cells which may cause inflammation and wear out the muscles. Omega -3 which contains Eicosapentaenoic acid which regulates the production of inflammatory substances due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Its inhibition of prostaglandins helps to fight off any chronic inflammation of joints, skin, bowel, and kidneys.

Weight management

In overweight dogs, Eicosapentaenoic acid and omega 3 promote the absorption of healthy cholesterol thus eliminating all bad cholesterol associated with weight gain

Mental health and sense development

The presence of Eicosapentaenoic acid found in sardine, herring, and salmon helps to reduce depression in dogs. More so the presence of DHA also helps in promoting sight senses.

Healthy skin and coat

Dry skin is caused by the lack of moisture. Linoleic acid moisturizes the skin getting rid of dandruff, flaky skin. It also helps to prevent shedding of excessive hair that has been associated with baldness in dogs.

Skin also becomes dry and fur sheds due to weak cells. The presence of EPA, DHA, and Gamma linoleic acid also helps to strengthen cell membranes associated with promoting skin elasticity and brightness. This also helps to get rid of the Arachidonic acid in the cell membranes that often leads to itching and subsequent loss of hair.

Prevent scratching and itchiness

When the skin becomes too dry, a dog may be forced to scratch the affected area. The fatty acids contain a high level of DHA which helps to fight allergies, fleas thus eliminating scratching.

Fight diseases

The presence of EPA helps to regulate platelets adhesiveness thus stabilizing the clotting process that allows for faster wound healing. It also assists in the controlling of gene and cell mutation allowing for the controlling of diseases.

Body development

Contains Alpha Linolenic acid as part of the omega 3 helps in the creation of EPA and DHA which are useful for brain, eye and body activity.

The fatty acids also help to transport vitamins K, E, A and D form the intestines to the body. These vitamins are vital to the overall development of the body.

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation occurs when the body releases plasma and white blood cells to fight off infections, allergies or infections.   This results in swelling and pain especially due to the release of cytokines such as histamine and bradykinin enzymes on joints, bowel, kidneys, spine, muscles, and skin

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in cold water fish and their oil. Contain molecules that are rich in protein that break down the inflammatory cytokines that are associated with inflammation.

The presence of omega 6 fatty acids helps to promote cell function and strengthen the cell membranes thus fighting inflammation

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 347 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

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