So this is the reason why you should keep reading and take action today!
If you have heard about the benefits of Omega 3 for humans, this is nothing compared to the health benefits of Omega 3 for dogs. All you need to do is work out the dose amount and frequency. From preventing cancer, to helping eyes, and preventing skin allergies, Omega 3 does the lot!
If you already use Omega 3 for yourself, you are probably aware of its benefits. It is an essential fatty acid made by plants and some fish, but not by dogs and humans. We all need it for our bodies to function properly, but in the case of dogs, a lack of Omega 3 has profound obvious negative results.
There are a lot of scientific research papers out there, and quite frankly, providing you with all of the medical and technical chemical terms will be of little use to most people. Instead what i will do is give you a summary of most of this information in layman’s terms.
What type of omega 3 for dogs, plant or fish?
Firstly you need to know that you have to use omega 3 from fish sources for dogs. While it exists in plants, it exists in another chemical form that dogs can use directly, and the conversion process takes effort by the body which diminishes the value of taking it in the first place.
Omega 3 comes in two chemicals EPA and DHA (from fish oil). A deficiency of these chemicals causes a deficiency in the dog’s immune function leading to “altered immune function increasing the chance of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease.” Omega 3 from plant sources is in the form of ALA which needs to be converted to EPA and DHA before your dog can use it.
But in fact these are only some of the things your dog is likely to get over its life.
Prevention of cancer in dogs
EPA and DHA are essential for proper nerve signaling in your dog (and you). As well as this it regulates hormonal production, immune function, and the regulation of inflammation.
EPA and DHA sufficiency are also known to be important in cancer prevention. This is because they are involved in membrane fluidity (in all cells of the body), insulin resistance, and sex hormone binding globulins which are required to reduce the amount of free circulating hormones.
And why is this important to your dogs health and happiness? Well mainly because an increase in ‘free unbound circulating hormones’ is correlated to an increase risk of cancer.
Lack of EPA and DHA (ie not enough Omega 3 fed regularly to your dog) is linked with cell membrane rigidity which can cause insulin resistance which causes a decrease in sex hormone binding globulin and an increase in circulating insulin both of which have been linked to significant increased cancer risk.
My dog already gets Omega 3 in his dog food
This is a regular story that people tell me. However if your dog food is mostly grain and veggies, instead of raw meat, then it is likely that the Omega 3 source is also vegetable such as flax seed, which as we know is the ‘wrong’ type of Omega.
More than that, if Omega 3 is exposed to oxygen and light for more than a couple of hours, it will degrade and be of little value. So the whole concept of putting it in pellet at least, is of little value. This is why you need to secure your own safe, fish source of Omega 3.
What about Omega 6 and Omega 9
Glad you asked. Did you even know that these existed and that they can be important, but only in the right ratio. Surely more Omega’s is a good thing? NO. It turns out that the human diet, and dog’s diet (if he eats tinned or pellet foods with Omega added), is likely to have way too much Omega 6 and possibly omega 9 already. Excessive Omega 6 and Omega 9 cause a pro inflammatory state in the body.
And if you didn’t think a ‘bit of inflammation’ could be an issue, you should consider this.
Inflammation has been found to be a common cause in common chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, depression diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel, eczema, psoriasis, lupus, allergies, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis.
Sure you or your dog won’t get all of these illnesses, just because you don’t keep up a ritual of taking Omega 3, by itself, but a percentage of the population will be more susceptible to gaining these diseases and allergies. It is always safest to provide your dog with Omega 3, by itself, and let the excess ratio of Omega 6 and or Omega 9, in its pellets or dog treats, make up the balance.
But aren’t all Omega’s inflammatory?
Many people use Omega 3 to assist with a dog’s arthritis plan, but as arthritis is to do with inflammation and Omega 3 is inflammatory how does that work? Omega-3 is used to control inflammation and maintain joint health, i.e. is used to reduce inflammation.
The explanation of how a pro-inflammatory agent helps reduce inflammation is difficult but here goes. Omega-3 is able to reduce inflammation because it competes with other enzymes that are pro-inflammatory. So when omega-3 is used instead of the other pro-inflammatory agents by the body during injury or infection, the resulting inflammation is much less. But more than that, Omega-3 ALSO slows down cartilage damage. Omega-3 is able to reduce the amount of enzymes produced that can damage the cartilage in humans (and dog) patients. As well as this it causes a decrease in the enzymes that cause joint pain.
So this is why a pro inflammatory can assist inflammation issues. Note that Omega 6 and Omega 9 cause much higher levels of inflammation, so this is another reason not to use them in conjunction with Omega 3.
That said, if your dog is on a raw diet, and gets very little Omega 6 (like my dog) then you need to use Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the right ratio (confusing, but well worth the research if you don’t believe it fully here). And of course always consult a vet if you are unsure …
Read the final part of this ‘expose’ in my next blog …