Understanding the Importance of Fatty Acids for Dogs
You’re playing with your furry friend in the dog park when you realize their coat looks duller than usual. Or maybe you’re waiting for your four-legged companion to jump up on the couch with you but notice they’re in too much pain to do so.
While you can consult a vet about these issues, consider the importance of fatty acids for dogs.
Not everyone knows about the nutritional value of fatty acids, especially when it comes to pets. Dogs benefit greatly from essential fatty acids. Incorporating supplements or fatty acids into your dog’s diet can boost their health.
For younger dogs, you want to introduce supplements early on. To start, try XDOG’s Muscle Bully Puppy Naturals Stack, the best supplements for bully puppies.
We get it — you have questions before adding something to your dog’s diet. XDOG is here to explain what essential fatty acids are and why they’ll benefit your dog.
Defining Essential Fatty Acids
What exactly are essential fatty acids?
While your dog doesn’t naturally produce fatty acids, they play a vital role in their health. This means you have to make a conscious effort to incorporate fatty acids into your dog’s diet through specific foods or supplements.
When your dog eats anything with fat content, their body will break it down into fatty acids during digestion. Your dog’s body then absorbs the fatty acids into the blood. Fatty acids are an essential component of lipids, which produce energy.
Knowing the definition of fatty acids may leave you with more questions than answers. What fatty acids should you feed your dog? How much do they need? What are the best sources of fatty acids? Keep reading to find out.
Types of Essential Fatty Acids
Experts group dietary fatty acids depending on the location of the first double bond in their structure. This puts them into three main groups: omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-9 fatty acids.
Since dogs can produce omega-9 fatty acids naturally, we don’t categorize them as essential. On the other hand, dogs’ bodies can’t create omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids themselves. Instead, as their owner, you must ensure they consume these fatty acids through foods or supplements.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, so their structures have multiple double bonds.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Focus on including DHA and EPA in your dog’s diet, as their bodies must do a lot more work to use ALA, as they must first convert it into EPA or DHA.
- Linoleic acid (LA)
- Arachidonic acid (AA)
Only linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid for dogs. Dogs convert LA into AA, so you should prioritize LA for your dog’s dietary health.
Signs Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Fatty Acids
You know which fatty acids are essential, but how do you know when to introduce more into your dog’s diet? Fatty acids have numerous health benefits, and without a sufficient amount in their diet, your dog will begin to show signs of this deficiency.
Look out for dry or flaky skin. You might notice your dog itching more than usual or flakes of dead skin in their coat. They may experience dermatitis, which causes additional inflammation. Over time, dermatitis can affect your dog’s energy level and appetite.
Similarly, if your dog’s coat appears duller than usual, it could indicate a lack of essential fatty acids in their diet and lead to hair loss. Since fatty acids are essential to your dog’s immune system, a deficiency may also cause them to become sick more frequently.
Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids for Dogs
What makes essential fatty acids so essential?
Including essential fatty acids in your dog’s diet yields various health benefits. The benefits your dog gains from fatty acids will depend on the amount in their bodies as well as the ratio. You must balance omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet to get the maximum nutritional value.
One mistake some owners make is giving their furry friends too much omega-6 fatty acids without balancing them with omega-3s. On their own, omega-6s cause inflammation.
With the wrong balance, your dog could experience:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Bowel problems
- Skin conditions
However, since omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, they balance out the negative effects of omega-6s. Together, they work to enhance your pet’s quality of life.
Skin and Coat Health
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids maintain moisture in your dog’s skin and coat, preventing dry and itchy skin. They can even combat skin conditions your dog struggles with, such as eczema.
Essential fatty acids also help with cognitive function, especially in younger dogs. They’re vital for brain development and can make training go much smoother. On the other end of the spectrum, fatty acids help senior dogs retain their memory by reducing cognitive decline.
Dogs’ joints won’t get the support they need without essential fatty acids. This leads to arthritis and joint deterioration, which limits their movement. The right amount and ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should improve your dog’s joint health, boosting flexibility and movement.
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
How do you incorporate essential fatty acids into your dog’s diet? There are a few different approaches you can take.
Sources of omega-3s include:
- Fish oils
Sources of omega-6s include:
- Grain-fed meats
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
Boost Your Dog’s Health With XDOG
Here at XDOG, we care as much about your dog’s health as you do. Essential fatty acids for dogs give them a boost, but you don’t have to stop there. We have many supplements and treats that will help make your dog’s coat shiny, keep them in tip-top shape, and improve their immune system.
But don’t just take our word for it. Check out our product reviews for yourself, then sign up for our newsletter today to get a 10% coupon off your first order.