When it comes to fighting disease, stimulating growth and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is one vet who was so convinced about the benefits of natural supplements that he created his own formula. Dr Paul Boland talks about the use of fatty acid supplements and why he is so keen to share his knowledge with others.
More and more vets, including myself, are recommending the use of natural products when it comes to the health and general well-being of cats and dogs.
And there is a very simple explanation for this. They work.
They are also more affordable and they have far less side effects compared to more commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals.
In fact, scientific studies have shown a beneficial effect when it comes to animals that are given natural supplements, things like growth stimulation and development, as well as fighting skin diseases, kidney disease, heart problems, inflammatory diseases, bowel disease and osteoarthritis, to name just a few.
One such supplement is Omega 3 and this is something I am asked about probably more often than any other product when discussing this subject, mostly due to the things I’ve just mentioned, like the management of many diseases in the body as well as being vitally important at different stages of an animal’s development.
This is because dietary fats provide the most concentrated source of energy for animals and is an absolutely crucial component of species-appropriate nutrition for dogs and cats.
Fats contribute to the production of bile acids that aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients. They also act as a mechanical barrier, insulating your pet’s body against heat loss, protecting internal organs, and preventing excess water loss.
Most pet foods and pet treats are manufactured to have a high quantity of Omega 6 fatty acids and contain much less Omega 3 because of the cost involved, this means in order to reap the natural benefits of Omega 3 it needs to be introduced to your pet’s diet separately.
In the recent past it was thought that the best way to give Omega supplements to your pets was a combination of Omega 6 and 3, however, commercial animal diets are packed with omega 6, so dogs and cats do not require supplementation.
The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be in the form of 4:1, but in grain-based and grain-fed meat based diets it is far higher than this.
The problem being that omega 6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and those high levels of omega 6s can lead to obesity, diabetes, fatigue, and memory loss.
They also cause dangerous inflammation in the body that leads to many health problems, including joint pain and heart disease. It is the omega 3 fatty acids that have a vast range of beneficial effects in the body. Therefore, many dogs and cats will benefit tremendously from supplementation of omega 3s.
Omega 3 fatty acids are classified as Essential Fatty Acids because an animal’s body cannot create them naturally, and this means they need to be introduced into an animal’s diet or given to the animal in the form of a supplement.
This can easily be done by adding it to their food bowl or in the form of a small treat usually in the form of a capsule.
However, I find this can be a bit tricky. So I suggest the most effective delivery format is in the form of Omega 3 oil.
But be careful that you don’t give your pet too much as it can upset an animal’s digestive process and can contribute to weight gain. So always stick to manufacturers guidelines and follow the instructions given on the bottle.
In the rare case that your pet gets an upset stomach, it is then just a simple matter of reducing the quantity given until the digestive system settles down again and reaches a tolerable level.
It’s also important to remember that not all supplements are the same.
The two main omega 3s I would use are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which are polyunsaturated fatty acids which can become rancid when exposed to air due to oxidation. Therefore, the anti-oxidant Vitamin E, in its natural form, should also be added to omega 3 supplements or taken with them.
In fact, this is something that I struggled with for years as I was unable to find an omega product that I was genuinely happy with and that contained just the right amount of these vital ingredients. So, in the end, I decided to have my own formulated.
Omega Natural has been formulated to contain all the goodness that can be found in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as; 360mg DHA, 540mg EPA per teaspoon as well as Lecithin – which contains phosphatidylcholine and is thought to assist in the transport and utilisation of fatty acids and lipoproteins -Zinc, Biotin, Rosemary and Vitamin E.
That’s why I always recommend Omega 3s for a number of ailments, including; osteoarthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, dermatitis, dry hair coat, seborrhoea, food allergies, keratinization disorders, hot spots, inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and for neurological and cognitive problems – and just a ¼ teaspoon per 7kgs of body weight added twice daily to your pet’s food can work wonders over time both for prevention and as a cure.