Has your precious pooch lost his spunk? Is his fur coat starting to look a little shabby? If your four-legged friend is battling chronic issues like arthritis, allergies or skin disorders, dietary supplements of omega-3 fatty acids could be just what the doctor ordered.
Health Benefits of Omega-3
Don’t let painful conditions like arthritis or itchy allergies and skin diseases get the best of your faithful friend! Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil (EPA and DHA) have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and irritation caused by various health conditions. If your dog suffers from kidney or heart disease, omega-3 can help him feel better for longer. Even a formidable opponent like cancer had better watch out for the power of omega-3, which has been shown to delay the growth and impede the spread of the disease. Omega-3 will not only help Fido feel better, but he will look better, too, as his coat regains its natural sheen.
Sources of Omega-3
Plant sources of omega-3 are useless to dogs because their bodies can’t convert it to DHA so there is no need to convince Fido to eat his veggies. Nuts and flaxseed contain omega-3, but studies show the omega-3 found in fish body oils offers the greatest health benefits. The most efficient source of omega-3 for your dog comes in fish oil capsules that can be easily snuck into Fido’s favorite food. If your dog likes the fishy taste and you can tolerate the funky smell, you can opt for sardines instead of supplements. There is approximately 100 mg of EPA/DHA in one small sardine. You can even share the benefits of omega-3 with your canine companion by buying fish oil supplement capsules that both you and Fido can take.
The recommended dosage of omega-3 for dogs varies by weight. For every 30 pounds of body weight, give Fido 1,000 mg fish oil containing 300 mg of EPA/DHA combined. If your pooch needs more than an average dose to help combat more serious health problems, up the dosage to a maximum of 1,000 mg fish oil per 10 pounds of body weight. If you are unsure about how much your dog weighs, ask your vet for help.
Adding fish oils to Fido’s diet will improve his health but may also cause a deficiency in Vitamin E, which is another essential nutrient. Along with fish oil supplements, give Fido 1 to 2 IUs of Vitamin E per pound of body weight.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.