What are the pros and concerns of giving my dog omega-3 fatty acids supplements?

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There are a lot of health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, including lowered cholesterol, easing arthritis pain and treating kidney disease. Omega 3s are found in fish and flax oil and flax seeds.

The research is ongoing, but omega-3 fatty acids also hold promise in prevention of certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and diabetic neuropathy as well as relieving constipation, treating intestinal parasites and reducing cardiac arrhythmia. Supplementing your dog’s diet with fish oil can also help to reduce shedding and encourage the growth of the undercoat.

It’s now estimated that 30 percent of dogs and cats experience arthritis. You may see your dog having difficulty getting up; limping; signs of pain when petted—or she just may not be as anxious to play as she once was.

Several recent studies have shown that swallowed Glucosamine is absorbed and distributed to joint tissues, and that it does have anti-inflammatory and joint regenerating properties. This can be beneficial in osteoarthritic type conditions, such as hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis in dogs. Glucosamine can be taken by itself or in combination with chondroitin. It does work best, though, when combined.

CONCERNS

The first thing you must know is that omega 3s can also be found in flax oil and flax seed. It can be somewhat less efficient, however, because the body needs to convert it into the correct form in order to produce omega 3s.Therefore, if the dog food label lists fish oil as an ingredient, you can know that your dog is definitely getting omega 3s. If it lists flax oil or seeds, though, you can’t know for sure. Some dogs just aren’t capable of making the necessary conversion.

One side effect of glucosamine is that it can elevate blood sugar levels. Therefore, especially if your dog is diabetic, start with a very low dose. This is also something you should definitely discuss with your veterinarian. It’s also important to note that glucosamine does appear to be more effective when it’s combined with chondroitin, so perhaps you also should discuss that with the veterinarian.

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