How can I select a quality supplement for my dog that contains flax oil?

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Flax oil can be a good anti-inflammatory for pets, especially if used for mild cases of itchy skin and arthritis. If you add a little to your dog’s food, you just might be able to prevent a problem.

Keep in mind, though, that flax seeds become rancid very quickly, so either give them to your pet immediately before its meal or pick up any uneaten food immediately.

You can also supplement your dog’s diet by using the actual oil or by adding some ground flax seed to your dog’s food. Alternatively, you can use a supplement that contains flax seed oil (also called linseed oil).

In any form, flax seed oil contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to be powerful anti-inflammatory agents, effective in treating chronic inflammatory conditions, alleviating constipation and producing a healthier coat and skin.

Although research still needs to be continued, flax seed supplements may support your dog’s immune function, reduce intestinal parasites and treat allergies, kidney disease, heart disease, arthritis and even potentially shrink some tumors.

It’s also considered very safe, since it is plant-based; however, as with any supplement, you should discuss this with your veterinarian to determine any potential allergic reactions or drug interactions.

If your dog, however, has a severe skin problem or arthritis, your veterinarian may suggest a fish oil, as opposed to flax seed oil.

This is why: Fats are made of fatty acids, just as proteins are made of amino acids. The body can make some of these fatty acids, but there are some it can’t make. The fatty acids that the body can’t make are called essential fatty acids, and they must be included in food.

One important type of essential fatty acid is the Omega-3 family and, while flax seed oil does contain Omega-3 fatty acids, these are short chain molecules which can’t be converted as quickly and efficiently as the longer chain molecules from fish oil. Therefore, fish oil may be more effective for your dog if he has more serious troubles with joint pain.

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