As temperatures drop, humans aren’t alone in feeling the harsh effects of winter weather. It takes a toll on our pets too, but there is one important supplement that can keep dogs and cats healthy until the weather warms up.
Fish oil supplements contain two essential fatty acids: EPA and DHA (or eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). Both are omega-3 fatty acids that can only be made in a limited capacity in dogs and are even more poorly synthesized in cats. These two fatty acids come straight from fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, black cod, herring, anchovies, and albacore tuna.
- EPA, one of the two omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, acts as an anti-inflammatory. It will help with any condition that causes inflammation of the heart, kidneys, skin, and joints—such as arthritis.
- It will ease inflammation due to allergies, and reduce itchy skin and dandruff. This can also be an effective way to potentially decrease the incidence of hot spots on your pet.
- Like many fat supplements, it promotes a shiny, healthy coat, and reduces shedding. (For cats, this may also mean fewer hairballs, since your cat won’t pick up as many loose hairs while grooming.)
- DHA, the other omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, is important in brain and eye development in puppies and kittens. Giving fish oil to pregnant or nursing pets can benefit the babies once they're born.
- In some studies, fish oil has slowed the growth of cancer. Though more studies are needed to reach conclusive results, some veterinarians recommend it for any pets with cancer.