From downing $11 kale smoothies to popping probiotics, we Seattleites certainly aren’t strangers to filling our diets to the brim with health boosters. But what about our pets?
Although we may live in one of America’s most health-conscious cities, you’d be surprised to learn that the food you’re giving your fur-baby may be lacking the essential components of a balanced diet.
Since your house pet likely isn’t hunting down their own food these days, they rely solely on the store-bought food you feed them to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, some pet foods still don’t contain ideal levels of vital nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A and D.
Anyone who has had a sick pet knows the pain of not being able to ask them where it hurts. Especially as they get older, dogs and cats can suffer from a handful of inflammatory conditions that can affect their skin, joints, kidneys and heart. While any dog can develop these problems, larger breeds such as retrievers and German Shepherds are prone to joint issues, and breeds such as boxers, lhasa apsos, miniature schnauzers and dachshunds are known to suffer skin allergies.
But have no fear—omega-3 fatty acids have come to the rescue (and to your local pet store shelves). Omega-3s are considered rock stars in the nutrition world due to their role in supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response for people and pets alike.
“Most pet owners probably think their pets are consuming enough essential fats in their diet, but the truth is they’re probably consuming way too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3s. Both of these fats are necessary, but because they each help regulate immune system functions, they need to be in healthy balance,” says Debbie Drecksel, an educator at Nordic Naturals.
The supplement company’s catalogue of probiotics and supplements also includes products specifically for pets. Many people know that omega-3s are beneficial for humans but are often surprised to hear that they can help their pets, too. Studies have shown that many pet health conditions, from allergies to kidney disease, may benefit from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.*
Giving your pet just any omega-3 supplement won’t always have the effect you’re looking for, however. Those made from flaxseed oil are less easily absorbed by cats, for example. On the other hand, supplements that get their fatty acids from wild-caught Arctic cod—like Nordic Naturals’ Pet Cod Liver Oil—aren’t just easier for pets to digest, they also provide a boost of vitamins A and D.*
Much like omega-3s, vitamins aren’t just for human consumption. Vitamin D plays a major role in absorbing calcium from the gastrointestinal tract, and vitamin A is important for keeping many parts of a pet’s body healthy, including their eyes, their immune system and even the cells lining their lungs.*
But dogs and cats can’t form vitamin D in the skin as well as humans can (in other words, sunbathing won’t benefit them in the same way that it does you). Not getting enough of this essential nutrient can have serious side effects including improper mineralization of the bones, which may affect mobility.
Drecksel has seen the benefits of Nordic Naturals first-hand, as she supplements her golden retriever Birmingham’s food with Omega-3 Pet. “Birmingham’s nutritional needs would not be fully met if I didn’t provide him with the essential omega-3 fatty acids that help give him complete, balanced nutrition,” she shares. “’Bone’ appetit to you and your pet!”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.