Pet parents often wonder if commercial pet food is enough to satisfy their four-legged friend’s nutritional needs. Some pet diets need to be supplemented with other healthy sources of nutrients. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to your pet’s meals. Commonly found in fish oil, omega 3s offer a variety of health benefits, from shiny coats to a healthier heart.
Pets need to get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their diets because they can’t produce it. What’s more, the healthy fat is a crucial component for many bodily systems and could even save your pet from chronic disease.
Discover the many ways omega-3 fatty acids can bolster your pet’s health.
- Improve the skin and coat: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for pets with dull coats or skin irritation. Sources of omega 3s, such as cold-water fish and fish oil, are highly effective at healing dry, itchy and inflamed skin. By reducing the urge to itch, omega 3s can indirectly prevent secondary infections from fleas and skin allergies. This healthy fat also puts moisture back in your pet’s hair, giving it a luscious sheen and soft texture. Vets often prescribe it for pets that experience severe hair loss.
- Relieve chronic joint pain: Omega 3s are helpful for treating chronic joint pain due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Pets with osteoarthritis and other joint diseases suffer from inflammation around the hips, shoulders and knees. Omega-3 fatty acids sooth redness and swelling in these joints for greater comfort, flexibility and mobility. For this reason, supplementing with omega 3s can help senior pets stay active well into their later years.
- Protect their heart health: The healthy fat’s anti-inflammatory properties serve many other benefits, including supporting your pet’s cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by calming inflammation around the heart. This compound further supports your pet’s heart by preventing abnormal heart rhythms. It can also lower blood pressure and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass.
- Promote kidney function: The kidneys are two more vital organs that can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. Unsurprisingly, this type of fat could potentially reduce inflammation around the kidneys. Omega 3s can also limit the amount of protein lost through the pet’s urine, a condition known as proteinuria. Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for pets with chronic kidney disease, although any pet can use them to maintain their kidney health.
- Support brain development: Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial at every stage of your pet’s life. They stimulate nerve growth in the eyes and brain, which improves memory, vision, balance and coordination in young pets. Omega 3s also support cognitive function in senior pets, slowing the progression of degenerative cognitive disorders. They accomplish this by reducing inflammation in the brain cells.
- Reduce anxiety and unwanted behaviors: Due to their effects on the brain, omega 3s could potentially calm pets with separation anxiety. This essential fat increases neuroplasticity, a process that helps develop and organize synaptic connections in the brain. By using omega 3s to reduce anxiety, pet parents should notice fewer instances of destructive behaviors from their pets. Consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to your pet’s diet if they vocalize excessively or tear up the house while you’re gone.
- Fight off cancer cells: Omega-3 fatty acids may prove effective in treating certain types of cancer in pets. One study found that omega 3s can slow the growth of cancer cells. They can also slow down metastasis, which is when the original tumor spreads to other parts of the body. In the study, dogs who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements on a regular basis enjoyed longer remission intervals and better survival rates.
- Bolster the immune system: Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can boost your pet’s immune health. Inflammation is a huge factor that can dampen their immune system. Since omega 3s have anti-inflammatory properties, the healthy fat may lower the volume of histamines circulating in your pet’s body. Reduced histamine levels are especially beneficial for pets with environmental allergies. This is because histamines are a type of immune cell that triggers allergic reactions. Besides improving allergy symptoms, a strong immune system is less susceptible to sickness and infection.
Every pet has something to gain from taking omega-3 fatty acids. They support a range of vital systems for full-body wellness. As always, speak with your vet before increasing the amount of omega 3s in your pet’s diet. They can help you figure out the correct dosage to ensure your pet is getting the maximum benefits out of this healthy fat.