I am not a fibber… I like to tell the truth, even when it means I could be in a bit of gripe over it! When I started looking into omega 3 supplements for pets I wasn’t excited. I figured that it is good to give a supplement if it was necessary, but otherwise just feed your dog or kitty cat some store bought tin food and they will be fine. After all, that is how I looked after all my cats and dogs, with the good old Coles brand bulk tins or some Fancy Feast if I was feeling generous.
In spite of being incredibly pedantic about what I eat, where my food was sourced from and what the nutritional values of it are, I completely disregarded what I was feeding my animals… Bad naturopath! I hang my head in shame at the fact that I was so blasé about my poor four legged family members! Some information was new to me while other information was a nice reminder about how important it is to recognise the impact of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of all animals great and small.
Some Pawesome Statistics
- 63% of the 7.5 million households in Australia own pets.
- Australia has one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world.
- 91% of pet owners report feeling ‘very close’ to their pet, reinforcing that pets are an integral member of the family unit, however constituted.
- Of the Australians who do not currently own a pet, 53% would like to do so in the future.
I could not imagine my childhood without my faithful furry friends. My pets made up some of the best and perhaps worst memories of my childhood and through to adulthood. The best was being able to come home from a difficult day and having them meet you at the door (or not, as I am more of a cat lover so usually I would be greeted when they felt the need to!) and you know in that moment that they have spent the entire day at home by themselves just waiting for you to come back. The worst part of course is the fact that they cannot spend eternity with you and must at some point pass on to the ‘big farm with lots of room to run around’ (my parents somewhat more poetic euphemism for their death).
Something Sounds A Bit Fishy
You may or may not have heard what I like to refer to as the ‘I Almost Killed My Dog with Fish Oil’ urban legend. There was an article that has been circulating online for several years now that have some details changed but at the core give a ‘warning’ to dog and pet owners that fish oil can harm your animal and to avoid it where you can. It also gives ‘recommendations’ to take Vitamin E oil to counteract the negative consequences. I call this an urban legend as while there is a smidgen of evidence to show that POOR QUALITY and VERY HIGH DOSE fish oil may have some negative health issues, your pooch or feline is more than safe when they take a good quality supplement that is specifically formulated for them that already contains Vitamin E as a natural preservative.
Avoid a Cat-astrophe
For centuries, canine and feline diets consisted of unprocessed foods rich in EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids derived from algae, plants, and fish. However, most of today’s pet foods contain primarily omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. EPA and DHA are found abundantly in cold-water fish. Flax seed oil contains ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid that requires the body to first convert ALA to EPA and DHA before utilisation. Humans and dogs have limited ability to make this conversion, while cats have even less ability to make this conversion. Therefore, supplementation with high-quality omega-3 fish oil is recommended for humans, dogs and cats. Even the highest quality pet diets rarely contain adequate amounts of EPA and DHA. This results in an unbalanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 that can negatively impact the health of our pets.
Some conditions that giving a good quality omega 3 supplement might help with:
- Improvements in general skin and coat quality in dogs and cats.
- Reduces inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, dermatitis, allergies and inflammatory heart and kidney diseases.
- Regulating the immune system, boosting those that are suppressed and calming overactive immune systems for dogs with allergies or autoimmune diseases.
- EPA promotes healthy triglyceride (fat) levels within the blood of dogs.
- In puppies and kittens, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) plays a key role in neurological (brain) and retinal (eye) development.
Healthy Pets are Happy Pets
As we know vet bills can be expensive. Just like our health is important to us and prevention is better than cure, if you want to do all your can to keep your pet happy and healthy then now is the purrfect time to start by supplying your pet with the correct nutrition.
For more detailed information on how omega 3 can assist in your animals health and wellbeing have a look at Nordic Naturals Pet Q+A (pdf)
The importance of nutritious food, exercise, good quality supplements and most importantly a plentiful dose of love, cannot be underestimated. For many Australian households I am sure with the amount we spend on our animals and the impact they have on our lives, we want nothing but the best for them. They may only be part of your life, but to them you are everything, the only person in their entire life.