Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Dogs With Allergies
By Rachele Baker, DVM – The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been shown to decrease inflammation and itchiness in dogs with allergies to environmental allergens (canine atopic dermatitis). Oral supplementation with EPA and DHA helps to decrease the itching, scratching, and recurrent skin and ear infections associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. In addition, EPA and DHA have been shown to be beneficial in treating a number of other health problems in dogs including heart disease, kidney disease, and arthritis.
EPA and DHA are considered essential fatty acids because they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in the diet or by supplementation. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are found in cold water oily fish. Deep water fish that store their fats in their flesh such as menhaden, mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines have a higher content of EPA and DHA than lean fish that store their fats in their livers such as cod, haddock, catfish, and flounder.
A good way to provide your dog with therapeutic levels of omega-3 fatty acids is to feed a salmon based dog food. When feeding a salmon based diet, additional supplementation with fish oil may not be required. If you choose to feed your dog a high omega-3 fatty acid diet in order to reduce the inflammatory response to environmental allergens, please be aware that it may take up to twelve weeks before the beneficial effects of the omega-3 fatty acids may be seen as evidenced by significantly decreased (or complete cessation of) itching, scratching, and chewing.
With all the different diets available, how do you decide which one to feed your pet? How do you know if a pet food is high quality? Read the ingredients list on the back of the bag. All dog foods must list the ingredients in their foods in order of weight. It is also important to note that the first ten ingredients in the ingredients list usually constitute eighty percent or more of a dry pet food.
For links to high quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements, please see my post High Quality Fish Oil Supplements For Dogs.
This post is a chapter preview for my upcoming book about Dogs With Allergies. For more chapter previews from my upcoming book, please see my posts:
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