- According to Dr. Holly Nash, a veterinarian who writes for PetEducation.Com, omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on canine's hearts. Specifically, they can prevent irregular heartbeats and obstructed blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in dogs.
- Inflammation leads to a several medical conditions that affect dogs, such as allergies, arthritis, colitis and certain digestive disorders. Since omega-3s prevent inflammation, they reduce the risk of all of these conditions.
- Some dogs suffer from a dull or dry coat. In these cases, the skin and coat often respond well to omega-3 fatty acids. This is the reason salmon (an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids) is listed as a key ingredient in pet foods that claim to improve a dog's coat. Granted, there are no medical conditions related to a dry coat, but it may be bothersome for your dog.
Supplement or Food
- If your dog suffers or is at risk for any of the conditions listed above, talk to your veterinarian about omega-3 supplements. He should be able to recommend one that's right for your dog. If you don't want to go the supplement route, certain brands of pet food and pet treats also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Eukanuba makes a brand, Naturally Wild North Atlantic Salmon and Rice Formula, for around $10 for a 4-lb bag.
- Side effects of omega-3 supplements are rare and occur only with unusually high doses. The most serious side effects associated with overconsumption are pancreatitis and clotting. Depending on the type of dog you have, you may have to watch out for weight gain. Omega-3 supplements add calories to your dog's diet, so you may have to switch to lower-calorie dog food or treats.