Dogs age much faster than humans do; but in many of the same ways. Their bodies slow down and stop working as efficiently. They become more susceptible to a number of health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, loss of kidney function, and skin conditions. The goal of dog owners is to provide their senior dogs with the nutrition they need to stay in the best possible health for as long as possible. This is why a growing number of dog owners have turned to fatty acid senior dog supplements for their aging dogs.
Essential fatty acids are necessary as fuel and for a number of biological processes in the body. They benefit dogs with many of the health conditions common among canine seniors.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found naturally in fish, nuts, and some types of oils like olive oil. Fatty acids are polyunsaturated, the group of “good oils” that the body needs. Because of their nutritional benefits, a wide range of foods are also being enhanced with Omega 3. Some pet foods are also available with omega fatty acids but most do not have an adequate quantity to obtain optimal health. Many experts claim that the heat and light that fatty acids are exposed to during processing diminishes their value completely.
Supplements can also be used to enhance your senior dog’s diet. Although these nutrients can improve your dog’s health, you need to use them correctly to make them a healthy addition and not one that could cause problems.
All Fatty Acid Supplements Are Not Equal
Omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) provide health benefits to dogs. In humans, a fatty acid called Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) serves as a precursor to make EPA and DHA. But dogs do not have the ability to make their own EPA and DHA, preventing them from gaining the health benefits from taking an ALA supplement. The best fatty acid senior dog supplements will contain the EPA and DHA that will benefit the dog directly.
Why Fatty Acid Senior Dog Supplements are So Important
Pet owners have been using fatty acid supplements for years as a way to make their coats shinier. They also help dogs with allergies and various skin conditions; a problem for many dogs as they age. The reasons for giving seniors the supplements can go much further. As they age, dogs may become nutrient deficient. They are more prone to health conditions which, in turn, can prevent them from having the enzymes their bodies need to make the fatty acids that they normally can or to break down other nutrients so that their body uses them.
One goal of many senior pet foods is to provide dogs with a diet that is lower in fat and calories. Lack of activity and a slower metabolism often cause older dogs to become overweight. Feeding your senior dog low-fat dog food can result in a need for fatty acids.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Like omega 3 fatty acids, there are different types of Omega 6 fatty acids. Of them, linoleic acid (LA) is the most important one for dogs.
The Right Balance
To date, the perfect balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is still up for debate. The range that is recommended is anywhere from 5:1 to 15:1 but most agree that a range on the lower side is most appropriate.
The majority of dog foods on the market are much higher in omega 6 fatty acids than in omega 3’s. However, the best guideline to follow is the amount of EPA in the food that is readily available to your senior dog.
What to Look for in Fatty Acid Senior Dog Supplements for Your Old Dog
There are many types of fatty acid supplements on the market, but you should only use those formulated for dogs. The essential fatty acids for different animals and humans differ. Trying to get the quality and quantity that your dog needs from food can be challenging at best. The right fatty acid senior dog supplements for your old dog will provide everything needed for optimal health and nothing that will cause any problems.