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Which Is Better for My Dog: Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil?

Nutraceuticals are now being used on dogs. One popular product is omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 has many benefits on humans, while in dogs, it has been found to be an effective part of arthritis treatment since it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Right now, omega-3 supplements can be categorized into two groups. The first group is composed of products using omega-3 from plant sources. The second group consists of products that use fish oil as a source of omega-3. Hence, a debate has been started whether plant oil omega-3 is better than fish oil omega-3.

Some Related Information

Fish are not able to produce omega-3. Some fish like herring, sardines, and anchovies get their omega-3 from the plankton and algae they feed on. Larger fishes like salmon, cod, tuna, swordfish, and sharks get their omega-3 from smaller fishes.

Plants are the only organisms that can naturally produce omega-3, and among plants harvested for their omega-3, flax seed contains highest amounts. As a result plants specifically flax seed contain higher amounts of the essential fatty acid compared to fish.

Fairly recent has been the issue raised by some health experts and environmentalist regarding the presence of heavy metals and fat-soluble pollutants in most edible fish. Some doctors are alarmed of the presence of these carcinogens that to be safe, they recommend pregnant women to avoid eating tuna and swordfish.

So It Is Flax Seed Then?

Well, it looks like it, but we need to delve deeper into the matter.

Let us look at the first issue regarding the amount of omega-3. Yes, it is true that flax seed contains higher amounts of omega-3, but it is important to know what kind. Take note that omega- 3 is composed of three different essential fatty acids. Flaxseed contains Linolenic acid (ALA ), but what is more beneficial especially in the treatment of dog arthritis is Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is found in fish oil. Also flax seed is not nearly as well absorbed as the fish based omega-3.

For the second issue regarding how safe is it to give fish oil supplements to your dog, yes, it is safe. Although there is a presence of these heavy metals and fat-soluble pollutants in fish usually used as fish oil sources, the amounts in supplements are well below the limits set by the FDA and the EU. And fish oil products are highly regulated.

If you are still wary of these contaminants getting into your dog’s system, I recommend salmon fish oil. Research has shown that the fish among omega-3 rich fishes contain the lowest amounts of these contaminants.

Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil (PDF)

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition | , | 4 Comments