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Fatty Acids For Dog And Cat Diets

You have read about them, seen advertisements about them and maybe even have taken them yourself; but what do you really know about FATTY ACIDS and how they contribute to proper nutrition for dogs and cats?

Fatty acids are absolutely necessary for proper
 function of every cell in the body. 

Kitten and cat health care questions and answers, articles, videos and images

View all topics There are hundreds of fatty acids but only a few that the mammalian body cannot manufacture in the liver; these fatty acids must be eaten to be available for biochemical and cell structure functions.  These fatty acids are called "essential fatty acids" simply because it is essential that they be present in the diet. View all topics


You have read about them, seen advertisements about them and maybe even have taken them yourself; but
what do you really know about FATTY ACIDS and nutrition? Did you know that over 70 have been
discovered in nature? You have heard them be termed "essential" Fatty Acids and that is exactly what
they are… essential for you and your pets to consume in your diet in order to achieve good health. Let's
pretend you know nothing about these fats and begin at the beginning to find out why we need to be aware
of the significant role Fatty Acids play in our zofamily's health. (In case you didn't know… a zofamily is
the term used for any human family that considers its pets to be a part of the real family. It's pronunciation
sounds like SO FAMILY.)

Pets and humans eat to live. It just happens to also be enjoyable. Humans and dogs are Omnivores, that is
we can utilize either plant or animal sources exclusively and still survive. Cats are true Carnivores because
they HAVE to consume meat to survive and will not live long on plant-only sources of food. One of the
necessary elements of a health promoting diet for us humans, for dogs and for cats is fats. There are all
kinds of biologically active fats and each one plays a role in the biochemical pathways within us that keep
us (the zofamily) alive. Some fats can be digested and split up into smaller fat items and those smaller fat
items contribute their fair share in the health of the individual.

Sources of Omega 6 Fatty Acid…
Omega-6 is found in safflower, sunflower, corn and evening primrose oils and Borage oil.
Linoleic Acid, a naturally occurring Omega 6 Fatty Acid, is found in common pet-food ingredients such as
corn and chicken fat and is a required nutritional component of the canine and feline diet. It cannot be
synthesized within a dog or cat's body so it must be consumed in some form of food so that other fatty
acids can be synthesized. It is essential for normal skin and coat health, for growth, cell membrane
integrity and fat-soluble vitamin interactions.

Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids… from plant and animal sources.
Fish oils, especially cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, and herring, and in animals that feed
on these fish, are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. animals but appear to be somewhat deficient in domestic livestock such as beef cattle. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in oils from some plants (canola and flax). Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 EFAs. Walnuts and soybeans also contain significant amounts as well as freshly ground wheat germ.

Sources of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Dried beans, such as great northern, kidney, navy and soybeans are inexpensive sources of both omega-6
and omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. Certain fish are very rich in EFAs. The body can convert EFAs from
fish more easily than other forms.

Let's take a look at the structure of the two most important Fatty Acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids:  The word Omega is a chemistry term indicating where the unsaturated double bond is on the long chain of
carbon atoms making up the backbone of the Fatty Acid molecule. Omega 3 means the unsaturated double bond is three carbon atoms from the tail end of the long molecule and Omega 6 means the double bond is 6 carbon atoms from the tail end of the Fatty Acid molecule.

What seems to us to be an insignificant difference between structures of a chemical can really make a huge difference in the chemical's activity… just like changing one single letter's placement in a sentence can change the entire meaning of the sentence.

It has been determined that Omega Fatty Acids need to be consumed by dogs and humans (and presumably
by cats) in an optimum ratio for the ideal health benefits to be active. Too much of one, not enough of
another, and the zofamily will pay the price with less than optimum health. The Iams Company has
pioneered Fatty Acid research in animals and they have found that supplementing a diet with large amounts
of omega-3 fatty acids, for example, a diet with a nearly equal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids may
lead to health problems in dogs and cats. They have determined that a higher amount of dietary Omega 6 than
Omega 3, in a ratio of from between 5 to 1 or even 10 to 1, has the optimum observable health effects.

Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) maintains skin and coat condition in dogs and cats. Without enough linoleic acid
dogs and cats may experience dull, dry coat, hair loss, greasy skin and increased susceptibility to skin
inflammation. Cats also require another fatty acid, arachidonic acid, for normal skin and coat health.
Therefore, for cats Arachidonic Acid is an Essential Fatty Acid; as mentioned earlier, dogs can make their
own from Omega 3 Fatty Acid.

Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by stimulating the production of certain
hormone-like substances prostaglandins. Omega-3s are found in all wild In humans, over 2,000 studies have been done on Omega 3 and their effect on human and animal health. It appears that sufficient amounts of Omega 3 can lower blood pressure, reduce the clotting of blood platelets and so reduce blood clots, and reduce abnormal heart beating (arrhythmia).

An OIL is a lipid substance that is liquid at 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

A FAT is a lipid substance that is solid at 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

EFA stands for Essential Fatty Acids.
An Essential Fatty Acid is one that an individual must ingest in order to survive.

Saturated Fatty Acids are those that have no chemical bonds left unattended, that is, they have no "double bonds" between their carbon backbone waiting to trap such atoms as hydrogen.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids are those that have chemical spaces that will attract more hydrogen atoms and do have "double bonds" along their carbon backbones.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids have only one place where there is a "double bond" along the carbon backbone.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids have more than one place where there is a "double bond" along the carbon backbone.

Fats are solids at room temperature and are usually saturated.

Oils are liquid at room temperature and usually are polyunsaturated.

alpha-Linoleic Acid is Omega 6 Fatty Acid.

Linolenic Acid is Omega 3 Fatty Acid.

GLA is gamma linoleic acid which is the active form of Linoleic Acid.

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Consult with your veterinarian about products to enhance the quality and viability of your pet's health.

Remember:  Good nutrition is THE KEY to good health; you will have to pay a bit more for higher quailty food ingredients but only you have the choice of what to feed your meat-eating dog or cat.

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Neonatal healthy pups require proper nutrition Cat liver with hepatic lipidosis, a metabolic disorder of cats A dog with a healthy body... and mind! Demodex skin mites under the microscope
Nutrition is the foundation for a healthy body! Hepatic lipidosis in cats is not caused by consuming "too much fat". Healthy skin and coat assures that the whole body is in tune. Internal and external parasites are common problems for pets that are undernourished.
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