Have you ever wondered whether you’re giving your pet the nutrients she needs?
Dry pet food manufacturers claim that all the nutrients your pet needs are to be found inside that pretty bag but let’s face it – no matter how good the ingredients are – it’s still highly processed.
Which means, some valuable nutrients are destroyed in the process.
That’s why we always recommmend you augment your pet’s dry food diet with regular fresh foods and added healthy supplements – such as some Essential Fatty Acids.
Essential Fatty Acids
There are 2 groups of Essential Fatty Acids and you’ve probably heard of them. Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Research tells us that Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are as important to our health (and our pets) as are Vitamins and minerals. Sources of Omega 6 include, Chicken, cereals, grains, vegetable oils and eggs – common ingredients in cereal laden dry pet foods. Present in lesser amounts are the Essential 3 Fatty Acids – found in Flaxseeds, Fish oils, and some leafy green plants . Unfortunately – Fatty acids oxidise (go rancid) very quickly when exposed to air so unless they’re highly preserved – they may no longer be active in your pet’s food.
Signs of a Fatty Acid deficiency could include:
- Dry, itchy or scaly skin
- Dull, Dry coat
- Allergies and Ear infections
But Essential Fatty Acids don’t just look after the skin – they also help keep cells functioning normally. They are the building blocks for Prostoglandins which help regulate hormones and prmote a healthy immune system. And without a healthy immune system – all kinds of degenerative diseases can develop – including allergies and cancer.
You can supplement your pet’s diet with any of these healthy oils. If given in small amounts on a regular basis they can most certainly help keep your pet in better condition.
Veterinarians have been recommending Flaxseed oil for quite some time now – especially for dogs with skin problems and dull coats. Flaxseed oil also has some anti-inflammatory properties so it’s a good supplement for dogs with joint problems and arthritis. It also contains Lignin which is believd to contain powerful antifungal, antiviral and cancer fighting properties.
A highly valuable oil as it can be used both externally – on the skin and internally – added to your pet’s food.
External application – can be used to:
- Disinfect cuts and promote wound healing
- Improve your pet’s skin and coat (No wonder it’s a favourite ingredient in Shampoo for pets and humans) – Smells good too!
- Coconut oil has strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties therefore it can help prevent infection.
- It has lower calories than other oils so it’s ideal for dogs with a weight problem
- It improves digestion so it can help dogs with digestive problems
Coconut oil is a good “Allrounder” and is good for us humans too. But if you do buy it, make sure it’s the Unrefined or “Virgin Coconut Oil” – not the refined type made from low quality coconuts and then subjected to intense processing. Most good Health Food Stores will stock this product.
Amounts to give: Recommended dose for dogs is 1 tspn per 4.5kg given once a day with food. Dogs seem to like the taste so you shouldn’t have any palatability issues.
These are a concentrated source of Omega 3’s which are often missing in commercial pet foods. You can buy quality Fish oil capsules, break them open and add to your pet’s food or you may find they are eaten whole as a treat or with food.
We use and recommend Bloom’s Fish Oil.
The best thing about Essential Fatty Acid supplements is that results become self evident after a month or so and they’re not expensive to buy. A little goes a long way.
If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, please see your vet first before adding any oils to her diet.