WHY SHOULD I GIVE MY PET FISH OIL?
Far from being a useless fad, the addition of fish oil to your pet's food bowl has real benefits for their health and life expectancy. The key is knowing which one to choose and how to use it!
A Miracle Supplement
Fish oils and omega fatty acids belong to the family of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These are particular lipids that can be classified into two main families: n-6 and n-3 (the famous Omega-3 and -6). And not only are they essential, but they’re also indispensable! They ensure the proper functioning of vital functions, especially during the crucial periods of growth and ageing, and help increase life expectancy. Cretans in the West and Japanese in the East were among the first to understand the importance of incorporating these fatty acids into their diet, resulting in healthy populations with a long life expectancy!
The benefits are the same in animals: fertility, healing, a shiny coat, and healthy skin. Essential fatty acids, in particular, EPA and DHA (see box) are a bulwark against premature ageing and even help relieve a large number of chronic or inflammatory diseases, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, for humans and animals alike, we don't know how to synthesise these fatty acids ourselves. So, to avoid deficiencies that would affect our vital functions, we can enhance the composition of fatty acids in the body via a diet enriched in certain fatty acids, administered over a period long enough to be effective (see box).
What are EPA and DHA?
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are two polyunsaturated fatty acids from the Omega-3 series, which are particularly abundant in coldwater fish. They also form part of the composition of certain oils, such as rapeseed oil and walnut oil. Both EPA and DHA are provided in small quantities by our food.
What does fish oil contain?
Fish oil is the only source that contains more Omega-3s than Omega-6s (up to 7 times more). This richness in Omega-3 comes directly from the fish’s feed. As plankton is very rich in Omega-3, oils produced from oily coldwater fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, etc.) have particularly high EPA and DHA content. EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish oil, while Omega-6 is predominantly found in vegetable oil.
Fish Oil: Instructions for Use
👉 Which animals is it good for?
Fish oil is a great daily supplement for both dogs and cats. It's especially beneficial for young or ageing animals, but it doesn't hurt to add it to a healthy adult's diet, too. Fatty acids help aid the proper functioning of the body by regulating blood clotting, limiting the inflammatory process, and promoting better healing, cognitive development, and healthier skin.
👉 Which fish oil should I give my pet?
As noted above, oil made from oily coldwater fish is preferable: salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc. There is only one flaw: fish oil is very fragile and oxidises quickly. As such, it should never be used for cooking, and you must be careful to choose a protected form of intake: capsules that can be slipped into your pet's food, if they're not fussy; vials that you open during the meal; or vacuum bottles. If you use bottles with screw caps, you can store them in the fridge to keep them cool, as the low temperature slows down oxidation.
Please note: It's best to avoid bottles with a pump. This type of container allows air to enter the bottle every time the pump is pressed, which then comes into contact with the oil and speeds up oxidisation.
Avoid at all costs: Cod liver oil! As its name suggests, this is oil from the liver and is therefore extremely rich in vitamins A and D, which can be toxic in excess. However, a comprehensive diet of kibble and pâté should already contain the necessary dose of these vitamins. So, don't add any more!
👉 How much fish oil should I give my pet and how often?
For a healthy animal, the recommended basic dose is approximately 500mg of fish oil (18% EPA and 12% DHA), or ½ teaspoon, per 10kg bodyweight. Depending on the age of the animal, their diet, and any illnesses, this dose can easily be doubled or even quadrupled.
Incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids is a slow process. You will need to administer them regularly for several weeks, or even months, before seeing the full benefit. The time it takes to incorporate Omega-3 into the cell membranes justifies the long-term daily intake. When coupled with vitamin E supplements, which fight against cellular oxidation, it has a surprisingly powerful effect!
Krill Oil: The Richest of Them All
Krill oil is the queen of all oils. It's rich in fatty acids extracted from Antarctic krill, a small invertebrate that looks like shrimp! These crustaceans live in groups and form swarms several metres wide, which feed on phytoplankton. Krill is a major food source for many fish and marine mammals. Oil produced from krill contains a very high level of fatty acids (30% EPA and DHA) and the best existing Omega-3/6/9 ratio.
Compared to conventional fish oil, in addition to being much more digestible and having greater bioavailability (the part absorbed by the body), especially in the brain, it has phenomenal benefits:
a powerful antioxidant that prevents ageing
significantly reduces atopic dermatitis and itching, the top causes of dermatological consultations for dogs
preserves kidney function and reduces inflammation linked to chronic kidney disease (CKD)
helps prevent heart failure, reduces cachexia, and facilitates food intake
inhibits tumour growth and improves recovery time in cancerous animals
significantly reduces inflammatory pain caused by osteoarthritis
So, as you can see, the addition of fish oil to your pet's diet is easy to implement and has excellent health benefits!
The positive effects of fish oil on your pet's life expectancy, good health, and treatment of ailments are undeniable. But, as with all good things, you have to be careful not to go overboard! There are two main risks that you should be aware of with the consumption of too much fish oil:
Platelet change: The anti-inflammatory effect of Omega-3 increases the production of certain chemical compounds, which can change the composition of platelets. These are the cells produced in the bone marrow which help with the formation of blood clots; their function is to limit haemorrhages and significant blood loss. However, too much fish oil can ultimately lead to increased blood loss in the event of trauma. So, beware of this danger, especially if your pet is about to undergo a surgical operation!
Poor healing: When used in the correct amount, Omega-3 promotes healing. But excess can quickly lead to the opposite, because the anti-inflammatory property of fatty acids limits the migration of white blood cells around a wound, and therefore slows down their work in the healing process, especially in the 5 days following the appearance of a wound.
But, as always, by respecting the correct dosage and choosing a high-quality fish oil, you can easily prevent this kind of blunder and provide your pet with useful supplements that have great benefits for their health!
Our Anchovy- & Sardine-based Fish Oil
Made from "human-grade" small fish (anchovies and sardines), our fish oil gives your dog a super boost.
Rich in Omega-3, the benefits are endless! It protects the heart, reduces the risk of cholesterol and diabetes, relieves inflammation and pain in the joints, is beneficial for the digestive system and skin, promotes calcium absorption, and even improves cognitive capacities.
It can be used as a course of treatment for 1 to 2 months during difficult periods (such as winter) or taken daily to improve your furry friend's general quality of life. In short, it's one of the best gifts you can give your dog to take care of their body!
PUBLISHED 20.11.2020 - HECTOR KITCHEN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team
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