Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Dogs: Is Your Dog Getting Enough?

Omega 3 fatty acids for dogs are popularly used to treat arthritis; they can also be used to treat skin infections, improve your dog’s coat, and more. Many veterinarians agree that omega 3 fatty acids are a good way to treat and prevent a variety of canine diseases.

A high-quality diet should include adequate omega 3 fatty acids, especially if your dog is prone to or in the beginning stages of certain diseases, such as arthritis. Omega 3s are also important for hardworking dogs, like hunting dogs who endure a lot of wear and tear on joints, muscles, tissues, and so forth. 

What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?


Fatty acids = molecules with a chain of carbon atoms including a double-bonded oxygen and hydroxyl group (oxygen and hydrogen atom) attached to one end. As a polyunsaturated fat, omega 3 fatty acids have multiple double bonds within their carbon chain, with the first double bond situated “between carbon atoms number three and four when counting from the end of the chain away from the hydroxyl group.

What all that mumbo-jumbo technical talk means...

Dogs are physically incapable of putting a double bond between carbons three and four, and that means naturally producing omega 3 fatty acids is out of the question. That’s why it’s so important to supply dogs with omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The Importance of Fats for Dogs

Your dog gets all his energy from three sources: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Protein builds muscles, skin, soft tissue, nails, blood cells, and so forth. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy, but offer nothing else. And fat, good old fat, is easily one of the most important components of your dog’s diet.

Not only does fat provide Fido with energy, but also it serves as chemical messengers responsible for forming all the membranes in your dog’s cells. Additionally, fat helps your dog’s body absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K. Plus, fats regulate hormones and can reduce inflammation. 

Of course, not all fats are created equal. There are saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fats are categorized as polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Omega 3 fats consist of alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

What About Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

Omega 6 fats are also categorized as polyunsaturated fats and consist of linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. Omega 6 is important to mention because it works alongside omega 3 to further regulate hormones and balance your dog’s immune system, among other things. The average omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is 3:1. Unlike omega 3, most dog foods contain adequate omega 6 via chicken and animal fats, along with the addition of certain oils. 

Different Sources for Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Dogs

You need omega 3 fatty acids too, a lot of which comes from eating veggies. Your dog, on the other hand, cannot convert omega 3 sourced from plants into DHA. And while vegetable oils like flaxseed and canola oil offer precursors to EPA and DHA, your dog’s body isn’t built to efficiently transform ALA into EPA or DHA. 

Available research shows the greatest health benefits from omega 3s come from fish or krill oil. Originally, fish oil was the most popularly recommended source, until further research showed krill oil offers additional benefits and is easier for your dog to digest.

Fish Vs. Krill Oil: Why Krill Oil is a Better Omega-3 Source for Your Dog  

  • Krill oil contains fewer toxins

Fish oil comes from a variety of cold water fish and bottom feeders. While krill oil comes from small krill that live short lives near the top of the ocean. That’s why fish oil contains higher levels of toxins like mercury, PCBs, and pesticides. Krill tend to contain fewer toxins because they are low on the food chain and live short lives.

  • Krill oil offers more joint support

Fish oil contains omega 3s in triglyceride form, while krill oil contains omega 3s in phospholipid form, which has been shown to offer improved joint health.

  • Krill oil includes additional nutrients

Krill oil contains higher levels of EPA than fish oil. It also contains carotenoid, astaxanthin and phospholipids, all of which provide additional benefits to your dog.  

Learn more about the benefits of using Krill Oil as an omega 3 supplement  

The #1 Omega 3 Supplement for Hunting & Working Dogs

Vitality offers the omega 3 necessary to fuel your hardworking dog. While other omega 3 supplements contain 300 mg or less of krill oil, Vitality packs 500 mg of krill oil into each soft gel capsule. Additionally, while the recommended minimum dose of EPA is 22-40 mg per day, Vitality includes 75 mg of EPA per serving. Offering the extra support dogs need to reach their full potential while maintaining all around health.

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