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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

How to Choose a Good Omega-3 Fish Oil for Your Dog and Cat

How to Choose a Good Omega-3 Fish Oil for Your Dog and Cat
The pet industry leverages the 'Omega factor' to market pet food products and supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are the body's and brain's natural anti-inflammatory - essential for overall health. Manufacturers know that the general public has 'heard' that Omega-3 fatty acids are important for pet health, and they know that most people don't have further insight into the subject. This gap in knowledge provides the manufacturer with a perfect opportunity to up-sell product that is of second or even third rate quality. Poor quality fish oil will contribute to your dog's and cat's toxic burden - hampering his/her immune system and overworking his/her renal system...

First, Let's Tackle How to Select a Quality Fish Oil

Make sure you look at the ingredients and specifications on the product label before you select fish oil liquid or capsule supplements or 'mobility' support pre-mixed liquid or powder supplements. A quality product contains fish oil that conforms to ALL of the following:
1. The fish/oil is 100% sourced from the open ocean 'wild caught' fish
2. The type of fish oil is one or a combination of the following - wild salmon or krill (Atlantic, Norwegian, or Arctic.

LabDoor recently tested 30 of the top-selling brands of fish oil - on average these products had a 30 percent lower level of Omega-3 fatty acids than was advertised on the product labels. Many products contain mixed fish oils, oils sourced from farm raised fish - this can result in a less than desirable Omega-3 fatty acid content. Products may be further degraded in quality due to the presence of fillers, chemical-based preservatives, sweeteners, artificial flavors and slipping agents such as magnesium stearate.

And Now to Reel-In the Scoop on Farm Raised Fish

If a product does not meet the criteria above you may be putting your dog's and cat's health at risk. If the product does not state 'wild caught' then the product is made with farm raised fish. Why does farm raised fish present a health threat? Farm raised fish are exposed to high levels of environmental and ingested toxins...

Environmental Toxins

Farm raised fish have considerably higher levels of toxins than wild caught open ocean fish. North American and European farm raised fish contain high levels of dioxins, HCBs, PCBs, toxaphene, and a host of other known carcinogens. Toxic residue from all of these substances remains in the soft and hard tissue of the fish after death and is passed on to your dog and cat when he/she consumes a product made with farm raised fish.


Farm raised fish are kept in confined pools of water - as a result disease and parasitic infection spread quickly. These man-made fish-pools become contaminated with fish poop and unconsumed fish pellets - all of which creates a breeding ground for bad bacteria. To stave off disease, farm raised fish are vaccinated - the vaccinations contain toxins.

Ingested Toxins

Farm raised fish are fed fish pellets dosed with antibiotics. The antibiotics are used to fight the bad bacteria in the contaminated holding-pond water. The water dwelling bacteria adapts to the antibiotics. When this occurs a stronger, novel strain of antibiotic must be introduced. Eventually the bacteria become immune to the new antibiotic and once again a novel antibiotic must be employed and additional immunity to antibiotics results. The fish food also contains pesticides to stave-off parasites. To prevent algae formation toxic copper sulfate is also introduced into the water. When your dog or cat ingests the fish oil he/she is ingesting residue from the antibiotics, pesticides and copper sulfate. In so doing your pet's toxic load is increased, his/her chance of acquiring antibiotic resistance is increased and so to the chance of eventual renal failure, cancer and other inflammatory diseases.

Now Catch the Health Benefits

Remember price is not proof of quality. Read the ingredient list. Avoid products that contain the following - artificial flavouring, fillers, sweeteners, chemical-based slipping agents and farm raised fish-oil. Don't purchase products that contain lower yielding Omega-3 fatty acids - go for 100% wild caught Salmon or Arctic/Norwegian Krill oil. Don't be fooled by the advertisers marketing and labeling gimmicks.

And please don't leave fish oil on its own to fight your pet's heath battles. Nutraceuticals such as fish oil are intended to be used in conjunction with an appropriate diet and essential supplements to achieve good health - from the inside out.
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Karen the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

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Karen is a dog behaviourist specializing in canine behaviour modification, holistic diet, nutrition and wellness. Karen also lives with her own pack of rescued dogs.
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