Has your veterinarian recommended adding essential fatty acids to your dog or cat’s diet? While the idea of giving your pet additional fat may seem counterintuitive, essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are energy-rich nutrients that can provide numerous benefits for humans and animals alike.
Good fat vs. bad fat
Healthy dietary fats, or unsaturated fats, are divided into two main groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Essential fatty acids fall into the polyunsaturated category. Commonly found in fish and plant-based foods or oils, these are the “good” fats that feed the body’s cells and promote overall health.
Julie Buzby, DVM, CAVCA, CVA, associate veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of the Lowcountry in Beaufort, South Carolina, and member of the Grey Muzzle Organization Advisory Board, is a firm believer in adding fatty acids to a pet’s diet. “The closest thing to a panacea, omega-3 supplements can positively impact every cell in your dog’s body,” she said.
The omega fatty acids family
Omega-3 and omega-6 are part of the essential fatty acids family, and both are vital to a pet’s health and wellbeing. As the name implies, these nutrients are...