Pet Health & Nutrition        
 

Evolution of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Canine & Feline Diets
Omega-3 Essentials
All Natural Vitamins A & D
Clinical References

Evolution of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Canine & Feline Diets
by: Jean Hofve, D.V.M.

Before dogs and cats were domesticated, the ancestors of dogs and
cats received their essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, from
their prey, such as rodents, birds, and elk. But today, our pet companions depend on us for their food. With modern technology, commercial pet
food provides pet owners with a convenient method of feeding their pet companions, but some foods still may not provide your pet companions
with the ideal levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids to promote optimal
pet health and wellness.

While research indicates a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 5:1 – 10:1 is optimal for dogs1, many commercial pet foods contain
primarily omega-6 fatty acids from animal fats and vegetable oils,
resulting in a highly unbalanced ratio dominated by omega-6 fatty
acids. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is key in helping
these nutrients fulfill their important functions in the body. While the
ratio is important to consider, it is also important to consider the source
of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Fish oil provides your pet with a direct source of omega-3 fatty acids. Plant oils are not a direct source because they must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body of dogs and cats.

To correct the fatty acid imbalance dominated by omega-6 fatty acids,
pet owners can supplement their pets’ food with a high-quality source
of omega-3 fatty acids from wild, sustainable fish. Even the best
raw food diets or homemade diets will benefit from omega-3 fatty
acid suplementation.
1. Vaughn D, Reinhart G, Swaim S, et al. Evaluation of dietary n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratios on leukotriene B synthesis in dog skin and neutrophils. Vet Dermatol 1994;5(4):163–173.