Have you been thinking about adding omega-3 to your dog’s diet?
There are internet articles and supplements galore touting the health benefits of omega-3 … for you and your dog!
But it’s not as simple as just picking up some fish oil at the grocery store or pharmacy.
So I’m going to tell you why you should go for it … but also give you some important advice about the best way to give omega-3 to your dog.
Omega-3 And Cancer
Omega-3 can help protect your dog from inflammatory diseases and even some types of cancer … says a new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
The researchers looked at inflammatory conditions in dogs … and whether they increase the risk of T-zone lymphoma (TZL). TZL is behind about 12% of all dog lymphomas. And more than 40% of TZL cases occur in golden retrievers.
The study found that omega-3 supplements may decrease the odds of TZL. This is especially significant if you happen to have a golden retriever!
But that’s not all. The researchers also found that omega-3 supplements can help lessen the effects of inflammatory diseases … and boost immune system response in dogs.
Chronic inflammation is a cause of many stubborn health issues … so omega-3 is also a good idea to help ease a wide range of symptoms.
Should Your Dog Be Taking Omega-3?
If you still aren’t convinced, read on …
Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation in your dog’s body. But omega-6 fats increase inflammation. And the problem is that dogs often get too many omega-6 fats in their diets. That’s because many meats are high in omega-6 (especially chicken, duck and pork). This creates an imbalance that can lead to health issues such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart disease
- Liver and kidney disease
- And, yes … cancer
Omega-3 fatty acids also support your dog’s immune system and cognitive function. And they’re good for heart, skin and joint health.
So, should your dog be taking omega-3 supplements? The answer is yes! Right this minute! But which one?
There are many omega-3 products on the market, but which type is best?
Choosing The Best Omega-3 For Dogs
There are many ways to give your dog the benefits of omega-3. But which one is best?
Read about the options before you dash out and pick up a random bottle of fish oil!
So let’s talk about fish oil first.
Fish Oil Cautions
When you think of omega-3, your mind probably goes to fish … or, more specifically, fish oil. While fish oil is indeed loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, it has many downsides. And these cancel out the benefits.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are very vulnerable to oxidative damage. This means they break down when they’re exposed to oxygen.
This can lead to a whole range of health problems. Premature aging, gene mutation, inflammation and cancer are just a few. It kind of defeats the purpose of giving your dog the oil to begin with, doesn’t it?
Fish oil can begin to oxidize before you even buy it. And it continues to oxidize and turn rancid every time you open the bottle to give your dog a dose. So you may think you’re making your dog healthier, but you could actually be doing the opposite. Yikes.
Fish oil can also contain heavy metals, toxins and radiation. Why? Because unfortunately … fish contain these contaminants. Our oceans are more polluted than ever before due to our industrial lifestyle.
And remember the tsunamis that hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant back in 2011? According to press reports, fish caught off the California coast are now testing positive for radiation.
As an earth-conscious citizen, you should also know that fish oil isn’t sustainable. There’s over-fishing of many species that help keep the oceans clean and full of oxygen. And each year fisheries kill hundreds of thousands of other sea creatures in the process. This includes whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
What about krill oil? Some people say it’s safer than other fish oils.
Truth is … it isn’t much better. Krill is the main food source for whales and other ocean mammals. And the ocean’s population of these tiny crustaceans is falling dramatically.
So if you decide to give your dog krill oil … make sure you buy it from a source that uses sustainable harvesting.
We’re big fans of this one. As they say, great things come in small packages. And these tiny microalgae sure pack a nutritional punch!
Much more than just an omega-3 supplement, phytoplankton is a whole food that can deliver your dog:
- Trace minerals
- Essential amino acids
All these extra benefits support your dog’s overall health. They also help mobility and joint health … as well as allergies and skin issues. They can even have a positive effect on your dog’s energy and stamina.
Phytoplankton is also made up of tiny nano-particles. This means it gets directly into your dog’s system on a cellular level. Your dog’s mucous membranes (like the gums) absorb it … without it having to go through the digestive system.
And … the reason fish are high in omega-3 is because they eat phytoplankton!
You may be thinking, “Won’t phytoplankton contain all the same heavy metals, toxins and radiation … because they also live in the ocean?”
Actualy, no. The good news is these tiny plants can be grown on land, in filtered water, making them a safe, non-toxic … and sustainable … choice.
[Related: 5 Reasons Your Dog Needs Phytoplankton]
Are There Other Omega-3 options?
Hemp oil and flaxseed oil are both plant-based sources of omega-3. While they don’t have the whole-food qualities of phytoplankton, they do have benefits.
Hemp seed oil contains a range of vitamins and minerals (and no psychoactive THC … in case you were wondering).
Flaxseed contains a lot of omega-3. But keep in mind that flaxseed oil also contains phytic acid, which can actually rob your dog of some minerals.
If you decide to go with one of these oils for your dog, make sure you choose a cold-pressed variety.
Check Your Sources
If you still want to go with fish oil after all that … make sure you ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the manufacturer. In theory this ensures the oil is toxin-free.
But a 2010 lawsuit found that some tested fish oils still contained dangerous toxins.
Feed Whole Fish
Another great option is to give your dog whole fish. Choose oily fish … and feed your dog small fish such as mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
These types of fish only feed on phytoplankton. Larger fish that are higher up the food chain and eat smaller fish contain more toxins.
[Related: Omega-3 For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide]