ADDING OILS - SUPPLEMENTATION OR NECESSITY?
Dogs require high quality protein and fats as part of their diet to remain healthy.
The foods that we select for our dogs must contain adequate nutritional value so that they can absorb and metabolise their food correctly.
The key ingredient missing from a dogs diet are essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which can be found in the form of fish or plant oils. These are classed as 'good' fats. Freshly caught uncooked fish will provide adequate levels of EFA Omega-3, however freezing, thawing or cooking fish will reduce these levels according to the National Fisheries Institute.
When either fish or plant oils are added to commercial dog food they become oxidised through the heating process and thus provide no nutritional value whatsoever. Oils that are added to home cooked foods have the same fate as do any manufactured complete foods that are prepared and then frozen as they will lose their essential fatty acids through the thawing process because they have been subject to light and air. Therefore, oils need to be taken in the 'raw' state in order for the EFA's to be nutritionally beneficial.
Whats are EFA's and how do they promote good health?
EFAs are fat carried nutrients that every mammal needs to maintain healthy function and structure of smooth muscle organs (heart, reproductive system), to protect and build liver cells and to maintain healthy skin, coat and build strong joint tissues. They have also been linked to retinal development and are responsible for the synthesis and modulation of prostaglandins - chemicals that serve as mediators of various psychological processes in the body. Prostaglandins act upon smooth muscle contractions of the heart and digestive tract, the initiation and regulation of inflammatory responses and inhibit excessive clotting of the blood.
This means that if your dog doesn’t receive sufficient amounts of EFAs, critical body functions can be severely disrupted. Your dog can develop chronic skin and coat disorders, digestive problems, cardiovascular disease, degenerative eye disease and allergies. Even dogs not showing any signs of disease will usually show dramatic benefits of an EFA enriched diet very quickly. A shinier, softer coat, less shedding, healthier skin, fewer fleas and better tolerance to allergens. With this in mind, it is easier to understand that EFA’s shouldn’t be regarded as a supplement but as a necessity.
There are different ‘types’ of EFAs found in fish and plant oils. Fish oils contain Omega-3 but no Omega-6 whereas plant extracts, such as flaxseed oil, contains Omega-3 & 6. It is important for the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 to be balanced for your dog to maintain good health. Below explains what roles the two EFA's play.
Omega-3 supports brain, nerve and eye development, helps to keep the immune system and heart healthy.
Omega-6 helps to regulate genes, supports the immune system and helps blood clotting. It also helps to keep joints, skin and coat healthy.