Unless your dog is eating fish on a regular basis, chances are he’s not getting enough omega 3s.
These essential fatty acids are needed to keep your dog healthy and feeling and acting young, so a lack of them can cause havoc in your pet’s quality of life.
To learn more about Omega 3s and your dog, we talked to Dr. Bo Martinsen, MD, a leading omega-3 specialist and an avid proponent of eating natural foods. Martinsen is also the creator of several medical food products that combine dose-effective ingredients of omega-3 fish oil and soluble fibers.
Main Benefits of Using Omega-3 Supplements
Animals benefit from omega-3 supplements in the same ways that humans do, according to Martinsen. “The omega-3 molecules are an important part of the cell membrane and are also important for balancing the body’s immune response,” Martinsen explains.
According to Mortinsen, most pets, just like people, don’t get enough omega-3 because of the abundant use of refined feeds that are rich in the inflammation-promoting omega-6 molecules. “When you add omega-3 back into the diet, you help restore the necessary balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 families,” Martinsen says.
While omega-3 supplements are great for any dog, Martinsen says the beneficial changes will be most evident in older dogs that have arthritis and in dogs with coat and skin issues.
Signs and Symptoms of an Omega-3 Deficiency
Symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency are very much the same in humans and pets, according to Martinsen. “Low energy, chronic inflammation symptoms, poor coat and skin quality, aggressive or agitated behavior are all common,” Martinsen says.
In addition, dogs that don’t get enough omega 3s are more likely to develop heart problems, including increased cholesterol levels, pain and inflammation related to arthritis, and immune system issues. On the other hand, pets who consume omega 3 supplements are less likely to suffer from bowel conditions—including inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis—and dermatitis.
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