Have you ever wondered whether you should feed your dog fish oil or coconut oil? The truth is that both oils have wonderful nutritional assets to offer your dog.
Below are some facts about both oils that you need to know:
- Fish oil is a long chain fatty acid, comprised of a chain of 18 carbon atoms
- Fish oil is an Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. Fish oils are comprised of essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fatty acids are found in cold water fish.
- EPA and DHA are highly unsaturated fats because they contain 6 and 5 double carbon bonds on their long structured chain. Because of the double carbon bonds, fish oil is more unstable and prone to oxidation when subjected to light or high heat during storage.
- Fish oils primarily have an anti-inflammatory effect and may help against heart disease and cancer. EPA and DHA are converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which regulate cell activity and healthy cardiovascular function.
- EPA and DHA in fish oils primarily improve brain function and normal eye health. DHA is a building block of tissue in the brain and retina of the eye. It helps with forming neural transmitters, such as phosphatidylserine, which is important for brain function. DHA is found in the retina of the eye.
- Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may help dogs with osteoarthritis, improving mobility and inflammation.
[Related: Is fish oil safe? The omega-3 fats in fish oil can often come at a cost. Click here to learn more]
- Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, comprised of a chain of 12 carbon atoms
- Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Unlike the saturated fats in animal fats, which are long chain fatty acids (LCFA), coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), mainly lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid.
- Saturated fats are made of single carbon bonds, which mean that the oil is stable and not prone to oxidation or free-radical formation. Coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated and has shown no signs of rancidity, even after three years of storage.
- The lauric acid in coconut oil is converted into monoglyceride monolaurin by the body, which keeps animals from getting viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. Lauric acid is also found in abundance in breast milk so it has similar nutriceutical effects.
- The MCFAs are broken down and used for energy production and seldom end up as body fat or as deposits in arteries. Coconut oil gently elevates the metabolism, provides a higher level of energy and vitaility, protects from illness and speeds healing. In dogs, the MDFAs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic.
- Coconut oil has an anti-inflammatory effect and may help protect against cancer. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion and reduces allergic reactions. MCFAs do not have a negative effect on blood cholesterol and help protect against heart disease.
(Check out our other great article on the benefits of coconut oil here.)