Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

By Lew Olson • December 2001 Newsletter
Essential fatty acids are generally found in fish oils and many vegetables and vegetable oils. The body cannot make EFAs so they must be provided through our diet. The Omega-3 fatty acids are proving to be the most beneficial. Since most of our pet foods are made with animal fat, most are lacking in certain EFAs. EFAs good properties break down with heat processing and can grow rancid if not properly refrigerated. All rancid fats become free radical carriers, and are suspected of producing cancer in both people and their dogs.

Purdue University recently conducted tests showing that a lack of EFAs in the body can often be the cause behind depression. Further studies by the National Institution of Health (specializes in studies of EFAs) show that children with low levels of EFAs are more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. EFA is also necessary for proper brain growth in infants and children and essential to the proper functioning of the central nervous system. EFAs are also needed for good energy levels, the ability to concentrate well, function in mineral absorption and weight gain.

Two important essential fatty acids are Omega-6 and Omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant in most plants and animal fat. Both commercial dog foods and raw diets are high in Omega-6 fatty acids. Most research shows a good balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is from 15:1 to 4:1. Too much Omega-6 to Omega-3 can result in inflammation, skin disorders, immune dysfunction, vision problems and learning problems. It is important to add a source of Omega-3 to the diet to keep the balance in proportion to the Omega-6 already high in the diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids have several sub-categories. These include:
Linoleic Acid (LA)
Found in oils such as safflower, sunflower, soybean, walnut, sesame and flax.
Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA)
Found in borage, primrose and black current oil.
Arachidonic Acid (AA)
Found in meat and fat.
Most of the Omega-6 fatty acids are readily available in our diets. One exception would be the GLA, which is helpful for certain conditions such as arthritis, flaky skin, panosititis or depression. Borage oil is a good supplement to use for these. Generally 1,000 mg is given per 5,000 mg Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids categories are:
Alpha-Linoleic acid (LNA)
Found in Flax Seed Oil, hemp seed, walnut oil and dark green vegetables.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Found in cold water fish oil and some marine animals. Most common sources are salmon, mackerel and sardines. Most dogs enjoy having mackerel or salmon added to their food two or three times a week. Four ounces of salmon can provide 3,600 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon Oil is also an excellent choice as a supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are used for combating inflammation conditions, hormone and immune system regulation, tumor fighting abilities, strengthening kidney, heart and liver functions, vision improvement and healthy coat and skin
Flax Seed Oil is probably the most economical way to add Omega-3 fatty acids. This oil comes in either gel caps or opaque or amber bottles to protect it from sunlight and oxygen. This oil has a slightly nutty flavor and most dogs find it appetizing and will eat it readily poured on their food. A general rule of thumb for amounts is one teaspoon daily for small dogs, 1˜2 tablespoon for medium dogs and a tablespoon for large dogs.
Salmon Oil is sometimes more effective for immune compromised dogs or dogs prone to allergies. The components of DHA and EPA are already converted and easier for some dogs to process than Flax Seed Oil. Usual dose is 1,000 mg per 20 pounds of body weight, but it can be given in a higher dose of 1,000 mg per 10 pounds of body weight.
For best use of these oils, give Flax Seed Oil daily, with adding Salmon Oil three or four times a week. Borage oil can be given in 1/5 the dose of these daily for optimum use of essential fatty acids.
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