Omega-3s for dogs

What are omega-3s? What are they used for in dogs and in what foods can they be found? How much are they useful?

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What are omega-3s?

Omega-3s are constituents of lipids (or fats) and more specifically essential fatty acids.

This is a family of essential fatty acids, the leader of which is alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. It is from this fatty acid that all the other fatty acids of the omega-3 family are synthesized, with the exception of the very long chain omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (doco acid). -hexa-enoic).

ALA, EPA and DHA are therefore, for dogs, elements that must be provided by their diet. EPA and DHA are particularly useful in puppies, pregnant females and senior dogs.

What are omega-3s used for in dogs?

Like all nutrients, omega-3s have their role to play in the dog's metabolism.

Omega-3s and in particular DHA are constituents of nerve cells that play an important role in the structure of membranes. They contribute to good synaptic transmission and are also involved in brain development and functioning.

Omega-3s are also the precursors of anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet aggregation and vasodilator substances.

They thus regulate the action of omega-6 fatty acids by competing with the latter for the same metabolic pathway.

Ideally, the ratio between these two families of fatty acids should be 4/1. In other words, there should be in the dog's diet 4 times more omega-6 than omega-3 to ensure the optimal functioning of the dog's body.But, in fact, this ratio is rather unbalanced in favor of omega-6s, which are too rich in the diet of dogs - like that of humans.

In dogs, it is therefore important to ensure a supply of food vectors of fatty acids from the omega-3 series to rebalance this ratio and make it tend towards the ideal ratio of 4/1.

In the case of certain dog diseases or disorders such as osteoarthritis, allergies, dermatological disorders or obesity, supplementation with EPA and DHA can be even more interesting to limit the inflammatory processes inherent in these pathologies.

What are the sources of omega-3 for dogs?

ALA is found in terrestrial plants, especially in rapeseed or soybean oil, which both have a good balance between omega-6 and omega-3.

As for EPA and DHA, they are found in fish oils from cold seas and in the flesh of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring or even sardines .

In a dog fed with kibble, it is important to check that it provides at least 0.02 to 0.08% ALA on dry matter and 0.1 to 0.05 % EPA and DHA on dry matter.

As for a he althy adult dog fed with a household ration, at least 5% of its total energy must be provided to it in the form of rapeseed or soybean oil to ensure that its needs in essential fatty acid. In addition to rapeseed or soybean oil, we must also provide him with fish oil to cover his EPA and DHA needs, at the rate of one 500mg capsule of fish oil rich in omega- 3 per 5-10kg body weight.

This supplementation can be doubled or even quadrupled in certain pathologies, on the advice of your veterinarian.

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