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FATS - not all fats are equal

Dietary Fatty Acids In Dogs and CatsFishoil


Fatty acids are essential in the diets of dogs and cats.

Fats and Fatty acids:

• Provide energy
• Aid in vitamin absorption
• Reduce inflammatory diseases like arthritis
• Reduce blood pressure
• As a precursor to eicosanoids, Arachidonic Acid (AA) act as local hormones modulating inflammation which cause fevers and make pets itch with allergies,help with blood clotting, immune system modulation, control of reproductive processes and tissue growth, and regulation of  the sleep/wake cycle
• Help strengthen each cell membrane
• Promote healthy growth and development of muscles
• Protect against skin and kidney infections
• Reduce risks for certain cancers

The problem is the type of  fat or fatty acids fed either improve or impair your pet's health.

Dogs and cats require Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids because they cannot produce these on their own. Linoleic acid (LA) is an Omega-6 fatty acid that is essential for both dogs and cats. LA is most concentrated in corn oil. Arachidonic Acid (AA) is essential for cats. AA is found in animal fat, not plant or seed oils. Recall AA is so important in all the local hormone functions listed above. (Cats require animal fat in their diet)

The components of the pet’s diet factor into the amount of fat in the diet. Dietary fat can be adjusted to manage conditions like losing weight, high triglycerides, pancreatitis, lymphangiectasia (which require less than 20% of the calories from fat) mainly coming from the essential fatty acids LA, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), AA, EPA and DHA. It is important to use a quality supplement as overdosing of mainly vitamins A and D, and mercury poisoning from fish oils have occurred. ALA is found most concentrated in flaxseed oil. Flax seed oil helps improve digestion, clear skin infections, lower cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones like estrogen, fight cancer and promote weight loss. Flaxseed does not provide sufficient amountsof DHA or EPA for dogs.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are omega-3’s in fish oil. Fish oil supplements are to be used with caution in pets with clotting problems, low platelets, pets receiving aspirin, large or non-healing wounds and gastrointestinal problems like pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Deficiency of omega-6 FA can cause skin and coat abnormalities, reproductive issues and inflammation. Puppies and kittens require more DHA omega-3 for neurologic development like eye sight.


The suggested safe upper limit to supplement as I stated depends on diet, treats and age as well as the condition we are treating; but as a rule 100mg/kg of combined DHA and EPA for dogs with osteoarthritis and 30mg/kg for cats.