Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Balanced Omegas

The Importance Of Using Balanced Omegas In A Diet

Most commercial dog foods contain omega 6 fatty acids which comes from grains etc. If I were to suggest an oil to supplement to a diet, it would be oils high in omega 3 fatty acids.

The greatest sources are deep water ocean fish oils and flaxseed oil. Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids must be used in the proper ratio or your dog can develop skin problems. The ratio is important and the pet owner must be careful not to go beyond the 5:1 to 10:1 ratio (5 to 10 parts Omega 6 - to 1 part Omega 3).

In the case of a dog eating Eagle Pack Formulas, where the diet is already in the proper ratio, you must add both 6 and 3 still in the proper ratio otherwise you will disrupt the balance of the Omegas. In other words... if you are using a dog food that states "BALANCED OMEGAS" you can only supplement with a Balanced Omega product. A proper combination of 6 and 3 supplements can be found in most health food stores and through your veterinarian.

by Albert S.Townshend DVM, Eagle Staff Veterinarian

Recent research indicates that there are significant benefits to enriching your pet’s diet with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Few pet foods make an effort to provide these beneficial fatty acids in the proper amounts or the proper ratio.

Omega-6 fatty acids are common in most pet foods. They are derived from plant sources such as corn and safflower oils. They are considered pro-inflammatory, immunosuppressive and pro-aggregatory1.

Omega-3 fatty acids are far less common in pet foods as they are derived from more expensive ingredients such as flax seed and cold-water fish oils and fishmeals. They are considered less inflammatory, anti-aggregatory, and vasodilatory and are not immunosuppressive1.

In order for there to be maximum benefit from these fatty acids they must be in a proper ratio to one another 2.

A ratio between 5:1 and 10:1, that is, a ratio of 5 or 10 parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3 fatty acids is ideal and produces the maximum benefit. Most pet foods are nowhere near these ratios and thus have little value. We are so proud of the levels in Eagle pet foods that we list the levels on the bag for all to see and compare. The benefits are many. The most obvious is to the health and appearance of the skin and hair coat. Hair appears thicker, softer and generally healthier. The skin is smoother and much more resistant to injury.

Veterinarians routinely prescribe fatty acid supplementation for dry itchy skin conditions. For years show dogs have been supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids to improve the skin and hair coat. Now this is far less necessary. The anti-inflammatory affects of omega-3 fatty acids has been found to be of value in treating osteoarthritis in older pets as well as allergic reactions3.

Recently, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 5:1 ratio have been found to be of value in treating chronic renal disease. Their vasodilatory properties alter hemodynamics, lower intraglomerular pressure and slow the progression of renal disease in dogs4.

1. Reinhart GA. Review of Omega-3 fatty acids and dietary influences on tissue concentrations. In Recent Advances in Canine and Feline Nutritional Research: Wilmington: Orange Frazer press, 1996
2. Vaughn DM, Reinhart GA, et al Evaluation of dietary n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratios on leukotriene B synthesis in dog skin and neutrophils. Veterinary Dermatology 1994; 5(4):163-173.
3. Hazewinkel H, Lars FH, et al. The influence of dietary omega-6: omega-3 ratio on lameness in dogs with osteoarthritis of the elbow joint. In Recent Advances in Canine and Feline Nutrition: Wilmington: Orange Frazer Press, 1998 vol.2; 325-336.
4. Brown SA, Influence of dietary fatty acids on intrarenal hypertension. In Recent Advances in Canine and Feline Nutrition: Wilmington: Orange Frazer Press, 1998 vol.2; 405-411.

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