Does Your Dog Really Need Omega 3 or Fish Oil?
I've learned a tremendous amount trying to find out if Keria's vomiting
was due to too much Omega 3 in her diet. During this exploration, I now understand that both omega 3 and omega 6 fats control important hormones in a pet's system and without both- the system would be totally out of whack. But, this still begs the question, "How to tell if your pet needs Omega 3 or fish oil? Honestly, the science is a bit fishy. Studies on humans have demonstrated that supplements may not provide the same results as whole food sources. If you do choose to use a supplement, you'll want to do some research into the company because not all fish oil is created equally. In my opinion, you
as the caretaker of your pet and their health will need to decide whether to give your dog fish oil or a healthy serving or fish which will do the same thing.
But, be aware that Omega 3 / Fish Oil many cause some problems for your pet down the road.
Oxidative Damage : Fish oil fatty acids are terribly vulnerable to oxidative damage. What is that you ask? In a nutshell, the omega fatty acids break down into smaller compounds that damage DNA, protein and other cellular structures.
I know the Omega 3/fish oil I was using to supplement was to be stored in the refrigerator because of spoilage so be sure and read the packaging.
Vitamin E Deficiency: More is not better when it comes to fish oil. Too much of a good thing can lead to a vitamin E deficiency. Some fish oils will contain vitamin E to compensate for this problem, but synthetic vitamins don't always act predictably in the body.
This is the type of Omega 3 supplement I was giving Keria, one with additional vitamin E. I honestly don't know if the fish oil or the vitamin E made her sick, or a combination of the two.
TOXINS IN OMEGA 3
This is where you might be caught between a rock and a hard place. There are toxins in our fish supply, and the toxins are stored in the fats that are loaded with Omega-3s. Heavy metal such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are not broken down in fish, or fish oil. If you decide to feed fish instead of fish oil, it's imperative to know which fish contain the least amount of toxins. In general, fish on the lower end of the food chain have lower levels of contaminants. Look for a product made from sardines
. Bottom line? Fish oil manufacturers will tell you their product is free of toxins because of a process they use called molecular distillation
, but independent lab analyses may say otherwise. Look for a Certificate of Analysis from the manufacturer before you buy. The bottom line is that feeding fish or supplementing is a personal decision for the pet owner and it depends on several items.
- If your dog is eating a healthy raw diet that includes grass-fed animals, free of vegetable oils and grains, then an occasional meal of fish may be all he needs.
- If your dog eats a processed, grain-based diet, then consider a combination of fish and high-quality oil for the added benefits missing from their diet.
- If your dog has a chronic disease, injury, pregnant, or under undue stress, then short-term fish oil supplementation might be a good idea.
[Tweet "Fish Oil Supplements can cause a Vitamin E deficiency in your pet. #fishoil #diet #vitamine"] If you do decide to give your dog any fish oil, it's important to understand the following: (compliments of Dogs Naturally Magazine
- Ask for a Certificate of Analysis from the manufacturer before you buy the product
- Supplement with Vitamin E, preferably from a whole food source. Supplementing grain-based diets with fish oil isn't' a good long term solution as both will deplete vitamin E in your dog
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of healthy fats to increase the absorption of the fish oil
- Choose a high-quality fish oil in the natural triglyceride form. Not only is this better absorbed, but there will be less oxidative damage.
- Consider using both fresh whole fish and fish oil to give your dog a full array of healthy fats.