What are fatty acids and how do they affect my dogs health? What do a dog diet and fatty acids have to do with one another?
Fatty acids are vital to the body for cell structure and chemical reactions inside your dogs body They also influence and affect your dogs hormones and energy. The fatty acids play a very important role making a healthy lipid barrier in their skin blocking irritants and infections.
The dogs liver and other tissues make these that are needed, but there is one that a dogs body cannot make. This is the Linoleic Acid (also known as Omega 6 Fatty Acid). It is also called and Essential Fatty Acid because it is needed from other sources.
Another very important fatty acid is the Omega 3, known as Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA). This fatty acid is important for the cardiovascular and joint health of your dog, and is thought to provide stronger defense fighting against cancer.
So how do I provide for my dog a diet dog food that is rich in fatty acids? Omega 6 fatty acids (LA) can be found in soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. It is also found in whole grains, body fat of poultry , AA is found in the body fat of poultry, lean meat, egg yolks and some fish oils. GLA is rich in black current seed oil and evening primrose oil.
DGLA is found in organ meats and metabolized from GLA. Omega 3 fatty acids ALA is found in flaxseed oil, EPA and DHA are found in cold water fish.
There is something else that you should know about a dog diet and fatty acids. There are fatty acids that are either active or inactive. Active EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) can work immediately with your dogs body, whereas the inactive EFAs have to be converted first by your dogs body to the active form. This is done by enzymes, but if your dog does not have these enzymes for any reason, the fatty acids will not help him, and this will greatly affect his health.
There are supplements that contain activated Omega 6 EFAs for your dog and they are Evening Primrose oil, Boirage oil and Black Currant Oil. And the supplements that contain the activated Omega 3 EFAs are Cod Liver oil and Salmon oil.
I won't take up the space to list the inactive EFAs as they really aren't important if you can give the activated to your dog. But please be careful in the amount you give. Please check with your vet before, as too much is not a good thing.
Now that you know what fatty acids are and where they can be found, how is this going to help your dog? Your dogs skin and coat can tell a lot about his health. Have you ever noticed your dogs coat to shinier and healthier looking than at other times?
There is a reason for your dogs coat looking shiny or dull. This is an indication of your dog diet-fatty acids are a key nutrient that affects the look and health of the skin and coat.
If a dog diet contains a proper amount of fatty acids, then it will reflect in his coat. Fatty acids also affect the skin. If there are not enough fatty acids in the dog diet, then there may be dandruff and itching. If there is not enough in his food for your dogs needs, then you may need to supplement.
There may be enough EFAs in your dogs food, if you have a high quality dog food. Check the nutrition label, see how much is there and what kind. You also may supplement with adding a little to their dog food yourself or dipping a carrot or maybe a slice of whole grain bread in a little bit of oil. You can get supplements at pet centers or from your local vet.
Continue to feed your dog healthy foods and watch for any changes in his coat and skin. If there is, then this is a sure sign that there is a lack of these EFAs in his diet. But now you know what to look for and what to do. Now go and enjoy your healthy dog!
More dog food ideas: