Omega 3 is what is called an essential fatty acid meaning the body needs it but can’t make it naturally, so must to take it in through food.
Why is Omega 3 so important?
Its main effect is as an anti-inflammatory, helping with coat condition, skin condition, mobility and cardiac health.
Benefits for skin & coat
Most coat and skin conditions, whatever their cause, involve inflammation of the skin, so reducing that inflammation helps alleviate the symptoms for your dog.
Improve joint mobility
By reducing inflammation Omega 3 can help with mobility making tired, stiff and aching joints more supple.
Omega 3 is also highly concentrated in the brain and appears to be important for brain function, memory and behaviour in dogs.
Getting the right balance
Not all Omega 3 is the same. It is the DHA and EPA forms – found mainly from marine sources, which are beneficial.
The ALA form of Omega 3 found in vegetable sources such as Flaxseed oil or Linseed oil must first be converted to EPA & DHA for it to benefit, and dogs lack the enzymes to do that efficiently; so marine sourced Omega 3 is what they need.
You also need to consider the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3. We need both Omega 6 and Omega 3 but in the correct proportions. To put it, in not particularly scientific terms, the Omega 6 excites the system and Omega 3 calms it back down – so we need the right balance.
Omega 6 is easily found in seeds, nuts and vegetables, so ensuring your dog has a good supply of marine sourced Omega 3 in their diet to help provide that balance in key.
For more information about Omega 3 and canine nutrition, take a look at our nutritional blog which goes into more scientific detail about different sources of Omega 3 and the many benefits of an balanced Omega-rich diet.
The benefits of feeding fish: