The short answer is yes, omega-3s are very important for your dog’s health. And most dogs need a supplement to get enough of these essential nutrients.
The long answer is slightly more complex and you need to understand first what omega-3s are and how they impact the lives of our pets.
As you probably have heard, there are some types of fat called omega fatty acids. Well, among these omega fatty acids the most important ones are omega-3s and omega-6s.
Now, dogs (and cats) can’t produce these essential fatty acids in their bodies and so they need an effective diet for a long and healthy life.
Omega-3s fatty acids can be plant-based from flaxseeds (in the form of ALA) or can come from a marine source like fish or krill (in the form of EPA and DHA).
Research has shown that EPA and DHA have more powerful health benefits for dogs. That’s why it is recommended to add supplements with marine omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA to a dog’s diet.
To better understand why your dog needs these nutrients, let’s first go through the multiple health benefits of omega-3s for dogs. Then we will also explain how you can include these essential fatty acids into your dog’s day-to-day diet, and what type of natural sources of omega-3s you should look for in a pet shop and a pet food brand.
What are the health benefits of omega-3s?
There are many proven health benefits of omega-3s for dogs, including promoting heart health, improved skin and coat, stronger immune system and healthier joints, among others.
Now, here are 5 of the most important benefits of having a diet with marine omega-3s. We hope this way you will understand why your dog needs omega-3 supplements.
Skin and coat health
One of the most known benefits of a diet with omega-3 fatty acids is improved skin and coat. Essential fatty acids keep the skin barrier fit and the coat shiny. They can also help prevent dandruff and reduce shedding and may be extremely beneficial for dogs that are suffering from allergic skin disease.
Fats are food for the brain, and DHA and EPA are extremely beneficial for the cognitive and behavioral functions of dogs in every stage of their life. All dogs, from senior dogs to puppies, can benefit from omega-3 supplements. They support brain development, the learning process, the nerve transmitters and affect the overall mental well-being of your pets.
Supplements with omega-3s are known to be important for a healthy heart, they can reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure. By ensuring your dog has a healthy omega-3 level, you reduce their risk of developing heart diseases.
Marine omega-3s have anti-inflammatory powers that can help to reduce your dog’s joint pain caused by aging or even osteoarthritis. And less inflammation can only mean improved motion and more energy for dogs that already have joint issues.
Healthier immune system
Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids (rich in EPA and DHA) have positive effects on the immune system of your dog. A healthy diet that includes omega-3s can strengthen the immune system of dogs at all ages. Even if your dog is perfectly healthy it can still benefit from the immune-boosting properties of such a diet.
How to add omega-3s to your dog’s diet?
Here are some ways you can add omega-3s to your dog’s diet:
Dog food with omega-3s
Dog food with omega-3 fatty acids is probably the best way to make sure your dog is getting enough of these essential nutrients. Many of the options out there are filled with omega-6s, so it is important to find a pet food that offers your pet a balanced diet of these fatty acids. You could ask your vet for a recommendation or be sure to check the label before purchasing food for your dog. Also, make sure you buy pet food from a pet food brand that is known for its nutritious and balanced diet. If you want to know how to read a pet food label, check the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) page here.
Dog treats with omega-3s
You can also give treats with omega fatty acids to your dog. You can find some incredible ones that have a balanced amount of omega-3s and omega-6s. We all love giving our dogs some treats, so let's make sure we choose one that is healthy at the same time.
Supplements with omega-3s for dogs
This might be the most traditional way of adding omega-3s to your dog’s diet. There are many omega-3 supplements out there, but not all contain sufficient amounts of the essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. We, therefore, recommend you to look out for a reputable brand and a marine omega-3 supplement that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or alike, for being sustainable.
Krill - a superior source of marine omega-3s for pets
Krill is a small crustacean that comes from the clean Southern Ocean of Antarctica. It is also a superior source of marine omega-3s EPA and DHA and has a distinct advantage when it comes to the form their omega-3s are made of. This makes it extra special as recent studies have shown that the phospholipid-bound omega-3s from krill are more effective in raising omega-3 levels in a dog’s body compared to triglyceride-bound omega-3s, like those found in fish oil.
One of the super-premium krill ingredients that are out there is QRILL Pet, a 100% natural product made only from whole Antarctic krill. QRILL Pet is a functional marine ingredient added in pet food and treats.
However, QRILL Pet is much more than just omega-3s, as it also naturally contains the nutrient choline, the antioxidant astaxanthin and marine proteins.
At the same time, QRILL Pet is the first krill ingredient for pet food that was certified by the MSC as being sustainable and traceable, from catch to product.