Fatty acids are an important part of a pet’s diet. These nutrients
are key for the maintenance of healthy skin and tissue and to help fight
infections. Essential fatty acids are specific fats that have to be ingested
unlike nonessential fatty acids that are created by the body. Omega 3 and
Omega 6 are different types of essential fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids
can be found in foods such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. Omega 6 fatty acids
are found in sunflower oil, corn oil, evening primrose oil, and Borage oil.
Although their chemical structures are different, both play a role in maintaining
good health. Pets that are put on diets don’t always get enough essential
fatty acids as this is sometimes what is stripped from ‘diet’ pet
foods. Also some commercial foods simply don’t include enough essential
fatty acids. Also, fatty acids can break down if a food is stored too long
or stored in poor conditions. This deficiency is often detectable by problems
in a pet’s skin. Dry itchy flakey skin or a dull coat is evidence of
a lack of essential fatty acids. While the skin is the first indicator, fatty
acids are needed for more than just healthy skin. Fatty acids help maintain
healthy eyes and heart and have been shown to help with arthritis, allergies
and other health concerns. Fortunately it is easy to remedy this deficiency
as there are a number of pet supplements that specifically address this need.
Also high quality foods typically meet the needs for essential fatty acids.