Omega- 3 and Omega- 6 fatty acids are important building blocks of a healthy diet. Learn how these essential fatty acids support the immune systems and cardiovascular health of both dogs and cats.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats, one of four basic types of fats that animals and humans derive from food. (Cholesterol, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat are the others.) All polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3s, are increasingly recognized as being important to good health. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are healthy for both animals and humans. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found primarily in cold-water fish, fall into this category, along with omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in grains, most plant-based oils, poultry and eggs.
Why are omega-3 fatty acids important?
Omega-3s (and one omega-6) are considered important fatty acids because they are critical for good health. They are the essential building blocks your dog and cat needs for a healthy heart, strong immune system, and joint support. Grizzly Salmon Oil supplies a variety of different omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, making it the best source of these nutrients.
There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids.
Key Omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), both found primarily in oily cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. Aside from fresh seaweed, plant foods rarely contain EPA or DHA.
A third omega-3, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is found primarily in dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil and certain vegetable oils. ALA is not readily accessible to animals, which must use several enzymatic steps in their metabolism to convert it into a useful configuration like EPA. Thus, scientists estimate that only a small fraction of ALA benefits dogs; and cats totally lack one of the metabolic enzymes to utilize ALA. Some dogs are extremely poor in utilizing ALA especially if high amounts of metabolically "competitive" Omega -6 fatty acids are present. By supplementing pet food with EPA from salmon oil, a dog and cat will receive essential fatty acids that will support a healthy skin and coat and help maintain optimal health.