Out of all the possible supplements your dog could benefit from, there’s one that stands out for being especially vital. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in eggs, certain types of organ meat, and fish. It’s an essential part of a dog’s health, but the canine body can’t produce what it needs. Without the body’s ability to produce it naturally, your dog relies on their diet to satisfy more than cravings. Here are a few of the most common reasons why experts recommend dogs be fed a DHA supplement as part of their daily diet.
#1 – Promotes Brain and Central Nervous System Development
DHA is an essential nutrition used in the development of both the brain and the central nervous system. Giving a pregnant or nursing female dog a DHA supplement effectively benefits the early development and growth of the puppies. Some studies show puppies fed with high levels of DHA are easier to train and socialize. Older dogs also benefit from DHA-enhanced diets. Dr. Amy Dicke, a technical services veterinarian, said in an article with The Dog Daily,
“Healthy brains are about 60 percent structural fat, and 30 percent of the fat in gray matter is DHA, the most abundant fatty acid in the brain.”
DHA is a major building block in the brain, and healthy neuro function is directly dependent on your dog’s diet.
#2 – Relieves Allergies
The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids reduce symptoms caused by allergies. Dry, itchy skin is enough to make your dog miserable year-round. Fish oil, krill oil, and other substances rich in DHA help calm the body’s adverse reaction to specific allergens. When a cell is damaged, arachidonic acid is released and causes inflammation. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in the cells help stop the production of the inflammatory substances. The result is a pup who doesn’t spend his days finding new ways to reach his relentless itches. DHA isn’t a cure for allergies, but it provides much-needed relief your dog will thank you for.
#3 – Supports a Shiny, Healthy Coat
When your pup’s skin isn’t dry, flaky, and inflamed, his fur will show the difference. Dog owners who regularly feed their pets DHA supplements report noticing a greater shine to their dogs’ coats. The hair will grow in without unsightly bald spots, and you’ll notice an obvious sheen when the sun hits them just right. Most dog owners don’t notice how dull their dog’s coat is until they see it reach its full potential. Your dog will look better and healthier, and there’s also the added bonus of less shedding. Healthier fur will stay on your dog and off your floors, furniture, and clothing.
#4 – Enhances Joint Health
The same anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve your dog’s allergies will also aid in joint care. As dogs age, the cartilage in the joints becomes thin and inflamed. The bones start to rub against each other, and the painful condition can put a permanent end to your dog’s favorite games. Running, jumping, and eventually even standing will be too painful to bear. Studies indicate DHA significantly reduces the pain and helps older dogs get back in the game.
#5 – Fight Inflammatory Conditions
Skin and joints aren’t the only body parts affected by inflammation. There’s a long list of inflammatory conditions omega-3 fatty acids can help a body fight off. Cummings Veterinary Medical Center says heart disease is one of them.
“Certain types of fatty acids present in fish oil (called omega-3 fatty acids) have been shown to have a positive effect in dogs with heart disease.”
DHA can’t help prevent heart disease in dogs as it does in humans, but studies show it can be used as effective treatment for dogs with altered appetites and muscle loss.
To find the right omega-3 fatty acid supplement to benefit your dog, look for a brand that uses high-quality ingredients. The product should be grain-free, soy-free, and gluten-free as to not cause further problems with food sensitivities and allergies. If you’re not sure which DHA supplement is best or how much you should be feeding your dog, always turn to your veterinarian as a trusted resource.
Project Paws® Omega-3-6-9 Select soft chews are excellent sources of omega fatty acids and have been recently revamped to contain krill meal rather than the salmon oil commonly used by other brands. Krill meal packs a significantly more concentrated and pure source of omega fatty acids, making it the superior choice.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.