Essential Fatty Acids and Heart Health in Dogs

Written by: Sarah Seward-Langdon

Published on: 01/11/2024

We couldn’t imagine a day without our loyal pups by our sides, and we’re sure most pet parents think the exact same way. As responsible pet owners, we’re able to make sure they can stay with us as long as possible by tending to their well-being, inside and out.

One crucial aspect of your dog's health that often goes unnoticed is heart health—and the role of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in maintaining a healthy heart.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the basics of EFAs, their contribution to heart health in dogs, and practical tips on incorporating them into your pet's diet. Let’s make sure you’re able to help your dogs live a long, healthy life filled with ball throws, swimming, and beautiful hikes…

Essential Fatty Acids: The Basics

Before we explore their impact on heart health, let's understand the basics of essential fatty acids.

EFAs are, as the name suggests, fats that are essential for the body's proper functioning but cannot be synthesized internally. They must be obtained through diet, making them a vital component of your dog's nutritional intake.

When we’re talking about EFAs, there are 2 types that stand out: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While both are essential, maintaining a proper balance between them is key for optimal health.

Omega-3s, found in abundance in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties and heart-protective benefits. On the other hand, omega-6s, prevalent in sources like vegetable oils and poultry, contribute to cellular function and immune system support [1].

Learn more about animal vs. plant-based sources of EFAs

Striking the right balance between these two types of fatty acids is crucial for a harmonious interplay of their respective benefits.

How EFAs Contribute to Your Dog’s Heart Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Inflammation Control

Chronic inflammation is a precursor to various health issues, including heart disease. Omega-3s help curb inflammation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems in dogs [2].

Blood Clot Prevention

The anticoagulant properties of omega-3s contribute to preventing blood clots, ensuring proper blood flow and minimizing the risk of heart-related complications [2].

Cholesterol Check

Maintaining a healthy balance of cholesterol is essential for cardiovascular well-being. Omega-3s aid in reducing high cholesterol levels, promoting a heart-friendly environment for your canine companion [3].

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Cellular Function

Omega-6s are integral for the proper functioning of cells, playing a vital role in your dog's overall health and well-being [4].

Immune System Support

A robust immune system is crucial for warding off various diseases. Omega-6s help support and strengthen your dog's immune system, keeping them resilient against potential health threats [4].

3 Suggestions for Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

Now that we've established the importance of EFAs let's explore three excellent sources to incorporate them into your dog's diet:

Quality Dog Food

Opt for high-quality dog food that includes a balanced blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Read labels carefully to ensure your choice aligns with your dog's nutritional needs.

Fatty Fish or Fish Supplements

Introduce fatty fish like salmon or mackerel into your dog's diet, or consider fish oil supplements. These are rich sources of omega-3s, promoting heart health and overall well-being.

Plant-Based Supplements

For a vegetarian option, consider plant-based supplements that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Look for supplements like flaxseed or camelina oil.

Deep dive into the multiple sources of essential fatty acids for dogs

Tips on How to Choose Which EFA Source

Choose High Quality Brands

Prioritize quality when selecting sources of EFAs for your dog. Opt for reputable brands and ensure that the chosen product meets the nutritional standards required for your dog's specific breed and size.

Know Your Dog & Consult Your Vet

Every dog is unique, with individual nutritional requirements. Consider your dog's age, breed, size, and overall health when choosing sources of EFAs. Consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

Make Sure to Rotate

Variety is key to a well-rounded diet. Consider rotating different sources of EFAs to ensure your dog receives a spectrum of nutrients, promoting overall health.

Keep Your Dog’s Heart Health Strong

Incorporating essential fatty acids into your dog's diet is a simple yet powerful way to support their heart health. From controlling inflammation to preventing blood clots, these nutrients play a vital role in keeping your furry friend's cardiovascular system in top-notch condition.

By selecting quality sources and working closely with professionals, you can pave the way for a long, healthy, and happy life for your beloved canine companion.

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About Sarah

Sarah is a marketing specialist with a passion for anything creative! Her openness to working across industries and job opportunities has allowed her to gain enormous amounts of experience in graphic design, video production, and written content creation. Animals have a special place in her heart as she grew up with cats and now owns her own Alaskan Malamute. She has spent the last couple of years in Vancouver working with different companies within the pet industry and gained valuable knowledge about the ins and outs of the (alternative) pet food industry, supplementation, and various training methods. When she’s not digitally creating content for pet lovers to consume, she’s out eating great food, dancing at drop-in classes, or exploring the beautiful Canadian scenery with her fur-child Miso.