For cats and dogs, the omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play an important role in various body functions. Studies show DHA is especially important for kittens and puppies, as it is crucial for the development of tissue in the brain and retina of the eye. Research has shown DHA improves cognitive, memory, psychomotor, immunologic and retinal functions in growing dogs.
The highly-processed commercial diets a majority of pets are fed often contain an unbalanced ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. Ideally, omega-3 and omega-6 fats should be consumed in a more balanced ratio. Even pets on the highest-quality raw or home-cooked foods can benefit from having their diets supplemented with omega-3 oils. There have been numerous studies on how omega-3 fatty acids support skin and coat health in cats and dogs. This is why the addition of a high-quality omega-3 supplement can be beneficial for pets experiencing itchy skin and hot spots.
One of the most widely recognized benefits of omega-3s is joint health. EPA and DHA have been shown to help maintain overall joint health.
Omega-3s for pets also help support: Cell formation ; Heart and kidney health; Healthy aging and cognition; Immune function
A growing pool of evidence indicates omega-3 can also be a factor in issues of aggression in some dogs. A recent study found that, compared to normal dogs, aggressive dogs showed lower DHA blood levels and a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.