Using Omega Fatty Acids to Benefit the Joint Health of Your Pet

August 6, 2012

Photo of Cardiff Checks Out Some Fish That Could Provide His Daily Dose of Oil

Cardiff Checks Out Some Fish That Could Provide His Daily Dose of Oil

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s FlexPet Blog as Fight Inflammation Without Harmful Side Effects.

FlexPet safely promotes canine and feline joint health as an essential part of a multi-modal pain management plan. This means that pet owners can strive to keep our animal companions comfortable and mobile while taking fewer medications. If we rely exclusively upon veterinary prescription medications, we put our pets at risk of suffering severe and potentially life threatening side effects. Using multiple methods of providing pain relief (medications, nutraceuticals, weight management, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, massage, etc.) under the guidance of a veterinarian permits our pets’ bodies to be healthier so less prescription medication is needed.

Nutraceuticals, like FlexPet, are a great means of safely promoting improved joint function and reducing inflammation. A nutraceutical is a “food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefit”. FlexPet is a chondroprotectant nutraceutical, meaning it contains ingredients that are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid, which keep joints protected during weight bearing activities (walking, hiking, etc).

Along with FlexPet, which has several ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, for an extra boost I recommend my patients take a daily dose of omega fatty acids. As both dogs and cats are meat eaters, animal based omega fatty acids fulfill their requirements more efficiently than plant sources, which is why fish oil is my preferred omega fatty acid source.

Three types of omega fatty acids (3, 6, and 9) are contained in fish oil. Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, while 6 is considered pro-inflammatory. Omega 6 fatty acids are still needed to promote healthy membranes surrounding nerves, so do not eliminate them from your pet’s diet. When providing an omega fatty acid supplement for your pet, focus on the omega 3s. Aside from your pet’s joints, the skin, coat, nerves, heart, blood vessels and other body systems benefit from omega fatty acid supplementation.

When reading a fish oil label, look for the total milligrams (mg) of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which are common forms of omega 3 fatty acids. EPA is considered to be most important in reducing inflammation, while DHA is an important structural component of the brain and retina (light receiving portion of the eye).

To achieve an anti-inflammatory effect on your pet’s joints, provide a dose of omega 3 (EPA and DHA combination) fatty acids in the approximate amount of 16 mg/lb (180mg/5kg) every 24 hours (once daily). For example, a 10 lb dog should take 160mg EPA/DHA per day.

Many suitable omega supplement options are available through veterinarians, pharmacies, markets, and pet stores. Choose a fish oil that appears clear, has minimal odor, lacks flavoring, and is guaranteed to be free of heavy metals.

Thank you for reading my article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

TheOldBroad August 6, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Do you recommend these supplements for completely healthy critters to perhaps ward off problems or do you think they are more suitable to be utilized as a treatment for critters with problems?

If the critter is getting a balanced diet, what are the chances of toxicity?

Patrick Mahaney August 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Definitely for both prevention and disease management. As long as the dosing guidelines are followed and we are focusing more on Omega 3s instead of Omega 6s, the body can definitely benefit from the anti-inflammatory effect for skin, joints, etc.
Thank you for your question and comments.

Joint Pain Relief oil August 8, 2012 at 3:26 AM

Interesting post. This is beneficial for pets & they will enjoy after having relief from such problems. Thanks for sharing this info.

Patrick Mahaney August 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Thank you reading! For my own body, for my dog, and for my patients I’ve seen the benefits of Omega Fatty Acids. They are safe, easy to administer, and can be used in combination with other pain medication to reduce the reliance on these meds (potentially having side effects).
I hope to see you back again on my blog!

Teresa October 6, 2012 at 8:16 PM

I’ve been giving my 12 yrs Old English Cosequin Plus with MSM in combination with krill oil and fish oil (I alternate days with the oils). Is Flexpet a better product than Cosequin for my arthritic dog. I have to help her each time she gets up. She can walk but can’t get up.

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