There’s no denying it… omega-3 fatty acids matter for health and longevity. With humans, higher levels of omega-3s in the blood are associated with a longer life span – an average of five years longer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your pet’s health and longevity, too. But is your pet getting enough? The majority of today’s pet foods provide few, if any.
This is especially true with commercially processed foods like kibble and most canned foods.
In general, it’s very difficult to get omega-3 fats from a diet that’s been processed. The high temperatures used in the kibble and canning processes typically destroy heat-sensitive omega-3s, if they are even present in the food to begin with.
A food manufacturer may sometimes add omega-3s to the food, but, unfortunately, they are not always in a form that your pet’s body can use.
If they do survive the heat process, they may not make it through storage. Omega-3s can become rancid when exposed to oxygen for extended periods.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important not only for your pets’ skin health but also for your pet’s immune and overall health.
Let’s take a look at why certain fatty acids are so important…
The Essential Omega Fatty Acids Your Pet Can’t Live Without
Omega fatty acids can be broken down into two main groups: omega-3s and omega-6s.
Some fatty acids, or fats, are considered essential because your dog’s or cat’s body can’t make them. These three essential omega-3 fats must be supplied by diet:
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) – Important for promoting a normal, healthy inflammatory response in the cells and brain, as well as supporting cardiovascular and skin health.
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – Also crucial for promoting a healthy, normal inflammatory response, but is especially valuable for cognitive support by promoting the health of the structural components of the brain throughout life.
- Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) – Important for supporting heart health.
While omega-6 fatty acids are also important for health, only one – linoleic acid (LA) – is essential for dogs and must be supplied by diet. LA is important for maintaining skin health.
Instead of just one, cats need two essential omega-6 fats from dietary sources – LA and arachidonic acid (AA).
Dogs can produce AA from linoleic acid or gamma-linolenic acid (another omega-6), but cats cannot. AA is required for normal body weight gain and successful reproduction.
Your pet benefits from omega-3s and omega-6s for healthy growth and development, as well as an optimally-functioning immune system. These essential fats make up cell membranes – the semi-permeable layers that allow nutrients to pass in and wastes pass out of cells.
EPA and ALA help keep the cell membranes flexible and permeable. However, too much omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) can cause membranes to become brittle, sluggish and inefficient, and can also negatively impact immune health.
The Many Ways Omega-3 Fats May Benefit Your Pet
The omega-3s DHA, EPA and ALA support many organs and systems in your pet’s body. Canine and feline research shows omega-3 fatty acids help:
- Support your pet’s natural response to environmental stressors.*
- Promote the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes – substances that help support immune response.*
- Promote joint comfort.*
- Support ear health.*
- Promote healthy retina and visual cortex development.*
- Maintain healthy blood pressure levels already within the normal range.*
- Promote optimal cardiovascular health.*
- Support healthy cell growth.*
- Maintain healthy levels of plasma triglycerides and cholesterol that are already within the normal range.*
- Promote already normal renal function.*
- Support healthy overall growth and reproduction.*
Making sure your pet receives enough omega-3 fatty acids is clearly a good choice, as they can have a potentially beneficial effect throughout your pet’s body.
How DHA and EPA Support Your Pet’s Heart and Brain
The potential benefits from DHA and EPA can start at a very early age.
DHA, a major building block of your pet’s brain, is one of the most important nutrients for supporting brain function and behavior.
Your pet’s brain is made up of 60% fat – a quarter of which is DHA. DHA is also the primary fat in your pet’s retina, making it a critical element in the development of vision and the central nervous system.
In one study, puppies fed diets containing the highest levels of DHA excelled at learning and other cognitive functions, as well as early psychomotor performance.
Another study showed dogs who received a diet rich in omega-3 from marine sources over a period of 13 weeks showed improvements in locomotor ability and performance of daily activities.
Studies also suggest that, with sufficient DHA and adequate antioxidants to protect the fragile fatty acids, older dogs act more alert and retain the ability to stay mentally sharp.
Your dog’s ancestral diet included rich sources of DHA, including prey animals, so it’s no wonder your pet has evolved to rely so heavily on omega-3s for optimal health.
Considered the “powerhouse” of fatty acids, EPA is abundant in certain marine oils and is essential for supporting cardiovascular health.
Two studies with dogs demonstrate the potential support of EPA for cardiovascular health and include important aspects for health, such as promoting a healthy appetite and maintaining lean body mass.
Research also suggests that dogs who exhibit nervousness or discontentment may benefit from a high-quality source of EPA, as omega-3 fats help them maintain a normal and relaxed disposition.
The Hazards of Too Many Omega-6 Fats
Ideally, your pet would get all the essential fats she needs in a ratio of about five, but no more than 10, parts omega-6 fats to one part of omega-3 fats in her diet.
If you’re feeding a commercially processed dog or cat food, especially kibble and most canned foods, your pet most likely isn’t receiving the omega-3 fats she needs – and may be getting too many omega-6 fats.
Processed pet foods tend to be high in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3s. Why is that?
The livestock and poultry used for pet foods are fed mostly grains, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids – levels far greater than what your pet’s ancestral diet provided.
Plus, all the things routinely fed to commercially produced livestock and poultry – the chicken and meat fats, genetically engineered corn products and vegetable oils, such as corn, soy, safflower and canola oils – are loaded with omega-6 fats.
Some pet food makers recognize the problem of too many omega-6s and make attempts to add omega-3s to their food.
Unfortunately, there are two problems with this… One, these omega-3s are not always in a form that your pet’s body can use. And second, because omega-3s are sensitive to heat, the canning or kibbling process typically cancels any benefits they might offer.
Not only are omega-3s sensitive to heat, but they also become rancid when exposed to oxygen for extended periods. DHA is particularly susceptible to oxidation and spoilage.
What really matters is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Because of the overabundance of omega-6s found in today’s pet foods, the actual ratio is closer to 20:1 or worse.
This overabundance of omega-6s and few viable omega-3s in commercially processed foods is a recipe for disaster and may be contributing to not only a deficiency but also an imbalance in your pet.
What are the signs of an omega fatty acid imbalance? The same visible signs you may see for an omega-3 deficiency – itchy, scaly skin and poor coat, joint and weight issues – can apply to an imbalance as well.
What Form of Omega-3s Is Best for Your Pet?
What your pet really needs is EPA and DHA – the essential omega-3 fatty acids most important for supporting your pet's health, especially her immune health. And I believe the most ideal source for these two fatty acids for cats and dogs is marine oils.
Krill oil and fish oils, such as salmon, sardine, squid, herring caviar and anchovy oils, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA.
Because many fish are contaminated with industrial pollutants and toxins such as mercury, PCBs, heavy metals and radioactive poisons, I can’t recommend feeding any other fish oils to your pet.
Another problem with regular fish oils is their lack of natural antioxidants to keep the oil fresh and protected from oxidation. DHA and EPA are highly perishable and can become oxidized inside your pet’s body if they are not naturally protected by antioxidants.
What about the alternatives, like evening primrose, borage, pumpkin seed and sunflower oils?
All of these oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which your pet doesn’t need.
Vegetable-derived oils, including olive oil, do not contain EPA and DHA. Instead, they provide the less bioavailable, inactive precursor form, ALA. For your pet to benefit nutritionally from ALA, it must first be converted to EPA and DHA by special enzymes.
While dogs and cats can convert ALA from plant oils into EPA and DHA, the conversion rate is very low – less than 20%.
A kitty’s genetic makeup severely limits her from converting ALA into EPA and DHA. For that reason, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids are not suitable for cats.
Plant oils are an inferior choice for dogs, too. In one study, dogs who received high levels of EPA from marine sources experienced a greater impact on skin health compared to those receiving only ALA.
How About Flaxseed Oil, Another Source of Omega-3s?
Flaxseed and hempseed oils are marketed as popular sources of omega-3s, but how beneficial are they for dogs and cats?
In a study with 20 Alaskan Huskies, ranging in age from one to six years, fatty acid and omega-3 indexes were compared in groups receiving krill and flaxseed oils.
Half of the dogs received krill oil each day in their food, and the other half were given flaxseed oil.
Baseline levels of omega-3s were taken at the beginning of the study, and then again at three and six weeks. Here are what researchers discovered:
- All 20 dogs had similar baseline levels at the start of the study.
- At three weeks, the 10 Huskies receiving krill oil had significantly higher omega-3 index levels compared to baseline.
- At three weeks, the 10 dogs receiving flaxseed oil showed a significant decline in omega-3 index levels compared to baseline.
- At six weeks, the omega-3 index levels remained significantly elevated in the dogs receiving krill oil, increasing levels by a total of 62%.
- At six weeks, the omega-3 index levels continued to decline in the dogs receiving flaxseed oil, for a total decline of 40%.
These findings confirm that flaxseed oil does nothing to increase omega-3 levels in dogs, and instead, actually decreases them over time.
The Secret Weapon in Krill That Helps Raise Omega-3 Levels
Another study with Alaskan Huskies compared the abilities of krill and fish oils in raising omega-3 levels in dogs.
One group of 10 dogs ate a kibble diet supplemented with 1.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from krill oil for six weeks. The other group of 10 dogs received the same amount of EPA and DHA as the krill group (1.7 grams) but sourced from regular fish oil.
Compared to the fish oil group, levels of EPA increased nearly twice as much with the krill group over the six-week period.
The increase was remarkable for the krill oil group – a jump from 1.84% to 4.42%, but only a small increase for the fish oil group – from 1.90% to 2.46%.
Overall, the dogs consuming krill oil increased their omega-3 index from 3.9% to 6.3%, whereas the fish group raised their index to only 4.7%.
Why such a dramatic difference? It all comes down to how easily the omega-3s pass through the red blood cell membranes.
With fish oil, the omega-3s are bound to triglycerides, which do little or nothing to enhance absorption into the cells.
However, most of the omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are bound to phospholipids, a type of fat found in animal and plant cells. Phospholipids are a vital component of cell membranes, so they play a key role in helping the omega-3s enter your pet’s cells.
They do this by forming fatty acid “packages” with DHA and EPA, which allows for easy passage through your pet’s intestinal wall cell membranes, thus enhancing absorption.
One phospholipid in particular – and the most prevalent one in krill oil – is phosphatidyl choline. Also a major part of your pet’s cell membranes, phosphatidyl choline:
- Breaks down into choline, the precursor for acetylcholine, which transmits nerve signals to the brain.
- Assists with liver detoxification pathways.
- Makes dopamine, a nerve chemical essential for normal brain function.
- Assists with the absorption of carnitine from the digestive tract, which is essential for mitochondrial function and supplying the liver and brain with energy.
- Supports brain development, learning and cognitive function.
Studies confirm choline’s effectiveness in maintaining cognitive function in dogs and cats. So unlike with fish oils, krill oil offers your pet the added bonus of brain health support.
Why Krill Oil Is My First Choice for Omega-3 Fats
Derived from small, shrimp-like creatures called krill, krill oil is my favorite source of omega-3 fats for a number of reasons. To summarize, this unique source of DHA and EPA:
- Contains more EPA than regular fish oil (240 mg/g EPA in krill vs.180 mg/g in fish oil).
- Delivers its abundant EPA and DHA as phospholipids directly into your pet's cells, unlike fish oil's less beneficial free triglycerides form.
- Does not accumulate heavy metals like regular fish oils can.
- Has a very high absorption rate, so your pet typically requires a fraction of the dose of regular fish oil to receive the same benefits.
- Packs along natural antioxidant protection to help guard against oxidation of fragile omega-3 fatty acids and damage from free radicals.
- Contains Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), an important constituent of neuronal membrane phospholipids for optimal nerve blood flow.
- Has been scientifically studied and its plentiful EPA and DHA significantly reduces plasma arachidonic acid (AA).
Krill oil is made from the largest renewable biomass in the world and is a thriving, highly sustainable food source.
Only a small percentage is carefully harvested each year, leaving abundant supplies to feed other creatures, such as whales, penguins, squid and sea birds.
From the Pristine Antarctic Seas – Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs
Containing the very same krill oil as Dr. Mercola’s Antarctic Krill Oil, Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs provides the abundant and readily absorbable omega-3s needed for an optimal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs stands above other omega-3 sources, including some other Krill Oil products on the market, because it:
- Delivers fatty acids in the form of phospholipids for enhanced transport across your pet's cellular membranes and a higher rate of absorption.
- Contains a recently-discovered health-boosting flavonoid antioxidant never before isolated in non-plant sources.
- Is not contaminated with mercury like many other marine sources.
- Provides 8 mcg of Astaxanthin per one pump (about 0.23 mL).
- Provides plentiful antioxidants to help protect the oil from spoilage and rancidity.
The more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your pet’s diet, the greater her need for antioxidant support.
Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs is naturally loaded with antioxidant power to feed the cells, including the antioxidant astaxanthin, a naturally-occurring carotenoid antioxidants.
Sustainably Harvested by an “A-Rated” Fishery
The krill used in Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs is sustainably harvested according to strict standards. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hold true for all krill and fish oil products.
A recent sustainability report of 24 fisheries by NGO Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) found one-third or 3.5 million tons of fish stocks destined for fish oil supplements are “poorly managed”.
I’m proud to say that the fishery supplying the krill for Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs has been awarded an “A” rating for sustainability and management strategy.
In addition to taking the proper environmental steps to protect the krill species, the patent-pending technology used by this fishery sets their methods apart from other fisheries.
They use a direct hose connection mechanism to help ensure unwanted by-catch – like fish and seals – are singled out and released unharmed during harvesting.
Plus, by using a continuous flow of water, they’re able to bring the krill directly into the harvesting vessel, where they are kept alive and fresh. This results in a much fresher end product.
The fishery’s specialized and responsible method of harvesting helps ensure high-quality krill for our Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs.
At the same time, it minimizes the impacts on the environment and helps ensure the sustainability of Antarctic krill and other marine species.
Revolutionary Airless Pump Replaces Messy Capsules
Whether you make your own pet food or purchase a commercially prepared pet food, supplementing with extra omega-3s is an important step for helping to ensure your pet’s optimal health.
If you’re supplementing omega-3s now by slicing open oil-filled capsules, you’ll appreciate how simple it can be to provide your pet with fresh, authentic krill oil.
With Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs, there’s no need to cut open messy oil capsules, or measure out the right amount of oil from a bottle. We use a revolutionary dispensing method that cleanly delivers the exact amount your pet requires.
There’s no guesswork with our advanced dispensing system. One or more gentle pumps delivers the precise amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids exactly where you want them.
Best of all, this technologically-advanced airless pump delivery system locks freshness in and prevents air and contaminants from entering the container.
As I mentioned earlier, omega-3s are especially susceptible to damage when exposed to air. Our airless pump helps protect the fragile fatty acids against oxidation and rancidity.
You’re guaranteed a fresher, more wholesome Krill Oil until the very last drop, and because there’s no waste, that can mean savings for you.
This revolutionary system ensures that the oil at the bottom of the container stays just as fresh and pure as the first pump.
Omega-3s for Your Pet in an Irresistible Soft Chew
Does your pet enjoy soft, chewy treats?
If so, Omega-3 Krill Soft Chews may be an even simpler way to provide your dog or cat with the omega-3 fats he needs.
Made with sustainably-sourced krill from the same pristine Antarctic waters, these delectable little morsels provide the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, along with naturally-occurring astaxanthin, a vitally important antioxidant.
What makes our Krill Soft Chews so unique is not only what they contain but what they don't have in them.
Unlike some other chews on the market, you won’t find any animal by-products, fillers, sugars, artificial preservatives like BHA, or other unhealthy ingredients in Omega-3 Krill Soft Chews.
Low in carbohydrates and without any grains, Omega-3 Krill Soft Chews contain only 12% dietary starch.
To make them soft and chewy, our Krill Soft Chews rely on a trio of health-promoting, natural softeners – coconut glycerin, sunflower lecithin and MCT oil – and not other questionable softening agents, like gelatin from factory-farmed animals.
Because they are soft and pliable, they’re perfect for puppies’ tender teeth as well as cats and dogs with missing teeth. You can easily break them up into smaller bits if desired and use them for hiding pills and capsules.
And did I mention they are irresistible to most cats and dogs? My normally very fussy feline actually ripped open the package when it first arrived in the mail.
Only Reach for Sustainable Omega-3s for Your Pet’s Overall Health
Clearly, if you are feeding your pet a processed diet – and even a homemade diet – there’s a good chance he’s not receiving all the omega-3 fatty acids he needs.
It’s all about balance… If you’re not taking specific steps to ensure your pet gets the proper ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 fats in his diet, he may be at risk.
Because your pet’s imbalance has likely been in the making for years, rebalancing her fatty acids may take some time. However, I know you will see signs that your efforts are working before long,
Changes start on the inside – at the level of the cell membranes – and work outwards. The visible signs can be the last ones you notice, once you have successfully improved your pet’s omega fats imbalance.
Keep in mind, what happens on the inside matters most to your pet’s overall well-being.
Make the decision to support your pet’s vitality and longevity with my favorite source of omega-3 fatty acids, and order either Krill Oil for Cats & Dogs or Omega-3 Krill Soft Chews – or both – today.