What are omega-3 fatty acids and do dogs need them?

benefits of omega 3, foods rich in omega 3, what are omega 3 fatty acids


There are many important vitamins and minerals that dogs need in their diet in order to help them live long, healthy lives. But what about fatty acids? When you hear the word fat you may associate it with negative health effects for your dog but fats play an important role in your dog’s health. Fat is made up of fatty acids including omega-3.

What are omega-3 fatty acids? 

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of nutritional fat that humans and dogs are not able to produce on their own. Omega-3 fatty acids include: 

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - Found in cold water fish and shellfish

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - Found in fish, shellfish and algae

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) - Found in plant oils including flaxseed, soybean and canola


Each variety of omega-3 has different benefits with EPA and DHA being the most beneficial for dogs. Although humans are able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA internally, this process in dogs is insufficient. Omega 3s are considered essential fatty acids for dogs because it is essential to their diet to consume foods that contain omega-3.

What are the health benefits of omega-3 for dogs?

Proper growth and development

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to aid puppies during the crucial stage when they’re growing and supports their brain and eye development. 

Brain health

Omega-3s support brain health in dogs and may actually help improve the cognitive functioning of dogs that experience Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is basically a form of canine alzheimers.

Canine arthritis

Omega-3s have been found to help prevent arthritis. In dogs that experience arthritis, omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce pain and inflammation. 

Immune system boost

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s have been shown to help boost a dog’s immune system and may even help protect your dog from certain diseases. 

Improved kidney function

Omega-3s have been shown to improve the kidney function of dogs and help treat dogs that are experiencing compromised kidney function. 

Heart health

For dogs that experience heart disease, omega-3s have been shown to help boost heart function and support a strong heart. 

Skin and coat

Omega 3 fatty acids help regulate the skin’s oil production which helps support a healthy skin and coat. Supplementing with omega 3 can help treat skin allergies, reduce dry skin and prevent or treat mange.

Anxiety

For stressed, anxious dogs, omega 3s have been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote calmness.

How do I supplement my dog’s diet with omega-3?

While there are lots of expensive omega-3 supplements on the market that you could buy for your dog, the most easy way to supplement your dog’s diet is to feed them foods that already contain omega-3. So what kind of food should you be adding to your dog’s diet to help them consume fatty acids? Fish! Think…

  • Cod

  • Salmon

  • Minnows

  • Herring

  • Mackerel

  • Tuna

If you don’t feel like going down to the fish market and trying to get your dog to sample some salmon, Nature’s Advantage has a solution. Just give our Savor’n Salmon and Minnows a try! You can feed them to your dog as a treat, or mix them in with their regular food as a natural fatty acid supplement. The omega-3 found in fish oils will benefit your dog’s health, while the freeze-dried treats will have your dog flipping over the fishy taste! Your dog will be a happy hound when they get to devour treats that taste great and are also good for them. 

Learn more about freeze-dried dog food and treats 

If you’re wondering, ‘Why should I feed freeze-dried dog food and treats?’ Then you’ve come to the right place. The Nature’s Advantage blog is filled with information that will help you understand the importance of a good diet for your dog. Find out why dogs don’t need grain and gluten and how to read a pet food bag. Then visit our online shop and try some out for yourself! Your dog will thank you later.

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