Fatty Acids and Why Your Dog Needs Them
As a loving dog owner, you’ve probably asked yourself, "Do I feed my dog properly?". You already know that a healthy dog diet should be well-balanced – containing lots of raw meat, bones, and veggies. Proteins and vitamins are necessary, but what about fatty acids? What are they and why are they important for your dog?
Essential fatty acids are basically fats which come from animal fat or plant oil. Every mammal needs them to live a healthy life and function properly. They are called essential because the body itself cannot produce them, which means your four-legged friend has to get just enough fat from his or her diet. This fat gets broken down into fatty acids which play many wonderful roles in keeping your puppy happy and healthy.
Benefits of a diet rich in fatty acids:
- strong immune system
- silky and shiny fur
- strong joint tissues
- healthy skin
- healthy heart
- protects liver
- antioxidant properties
- energy source
- promoting healthy growth and development
Fatty acids are said to slow growth of some cancers, prevent cardiovascular problems, keep triglycerides and cholesterol in check, and fight yeast and inflammation.
Well known essential fatty acids are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Many owners buy these as supplements, but it’s better if your dog can gets them from natural sources and raw food. Outpost recipes offer Omega-3 in sunflower oil, eggs, and kelp while Omega-6 is in egg yolks, beef, turkey, and tripe.
Your dog needs a balance between these two types; many foods contain more Omega-6, so make sure to also feed him Omega-3-rich foods.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst warns about processed dog foods, especially the dry types, because they are very low on essential fatty acids. He says that dogs fed dry-food-only diet develop what he calls "dry dog food syndrome“.
Dogs may respond differently to fatty acid deficiency, but most of them have similar or the same symptoms. These poor fellas may suffer from a variety of problems.
Skin and fur problems from fatty acid deficiency:
- itchy skin
- flaky skin
- dry fur, no shine
- sparse hair
- skin problems around feet and ears
- their skin may get infected and smelly
Immune system problems from fatty acid deficiency:
- inflammation (may be anywhere in the body)
- allergies and autoimmune diseases (like arthritis, diabetes, asthma)
- yeast infections
Essential fatty acids from other animals and certain plants can do a lot for your furry companion. Silky fur and healthy skin are the obvious benefits; others include strong muscles and immune system, lots of energy and healthy development. Fed on dry dog food for years, your dog may look dull with poor skin and numerous infections and inflammations.
Give your dog the nutrients they need in the food you feed them.