Essential Nutrients Your Pet Can’t Live Without

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Essential Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids- EPA and DHA- are considered essential nutrients for animals because they cannot be produced in the body, but only obtained through diet and supplementation.

Dog biting fur from poor skin and coat health

Why Omega-3 and Omega-6 are so Important for Your Dog or Cat

girl with dog in the park

The fatty acid EPA is a component of the cell membranes in all body tissues and together with the DHA fatty acid, they can help support a healthy immune system and many body functions. There is growing evidence that these good essential fats play a considerable role in your pet’s ability to fight off most illnesses and disease.

cute dog looking up at owner

These essential Omega nutrients provide optimum health benefits for:

  • Development and maintain function of the brain and eye
  • Joint health
  • Kidney and Liver health
  • Heart health
  • Immune system support
  • Healthy aging and prevention of cognitive dysfunction (senility)
  • Skin and coat health
  • May aid in the treatment of some cancers

Can Omegas Help My Pet’s Skin Allergies?

cat scratching from allergies

Yes, they can help! Most itchy skin problems stem from environmental, flea and seasonal allergies.

One of the most common reasons omega-3 fatty acids are used is in the treatment of allergies, which can include pollens, food, and flea allergies as well.  Allergies can cause severe itching, hair loss, dandruff-like conditions, and dry skin and shedding. If severe enough, allergies can cause secondary bacterial and yeast infections on the skin, paws, and in the ears.

Balancing Your Pet’s Omega Intake is So Important!

cute dog starting at a plate full of shrimp

It’s important you give your pet a supplement that has a balanced blend of Omega-3 and Omega-6; too much of either can throw your pet’s immune system out of balance and you can end up with not only an unhealthy and unhappy pet and high Vet bills.  If you can find a supplement that includes Omega-9, all the better!  Although the Omega-9 fatty acid can be made in your dog’s body it still has many health benefits for allergies, and skin disorders.  But, with any imbalance in the body, Omega-9 reserves can be depleted.

chart showing common allergy symptoms in dogs

Can’t My Pet Get Omegas from Their Everyday Food?

Commercial dried and canned foods do contain Omega-6 fatty acids in the form of meats and vegetable oils, but are cooked before being packaged and unfortunately, cooking destroys almost all the fatty acids that start out in the food.   Even if you feed your pet a raw diet, where the Omega-6 is not removed by cooking, it is still recommended to supplement with fatty acids, because Omega-3’s are deficient in a predominantly meat-based diet, even if grass fed. It is imperative that your dog is getting a good Omega supplement included with their regular diet. 

What are the best sources for Omegas?girl on beach with happy dog

The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish and krill.

Currently, I along with other veterinarians are recommending Krill meal or oil for a superior source of Omega-3 — with the best being caught from deep cold waters. For Omega-6 (GLA) look for a superior plant source such as Borage, or Evening Primrose – both highly effective in reducing inflammation. Omega-9 (Oleic acid) is found in nut oils and seeds like Sunflower, Flax, and Safflower.

woman in park with dog with great skin and coat

Your pet deserves to live their longest, healthiest life possible. Help them to thrive and live long healthy lives by supplementing their diet with a comprehensive Omega formula. As always, consult with your family Veterinarian with any concerns that you may have for your furry friend.

DermWELL skin and coat support

Written by Dr. Nicole Trakas, DVM

It has been my life calling to help all creatures great and small. I still remember the day I decided on veterinary medicine as a career. I was 13 and in the 8th grade. I feel extremely blessed to be able to work in a profession that can have such a profound impact on pets and their families. I strive to focus on every concern my pet parents have for their babies and treat them with compassion and empathy. Over the last 15 years in practice, my clients and their pets have become family to me. I am honored to have been able to care for most of my patients from puppy/kittenhood all the way to their senior years.