Recommended Omega-3 and Omega-6 Ratio for Pets
Fatty acids are specific types of unsaturated fats that are often needed to be supplemented to pets for optimal health because animals can produce some of the fatty acids but not all of them. The two main classes of fatty acids are the Omega-3 fatty acids and the Omega-6 fatty acids. The difference between between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are based on molecular structure. Research is ongoing about what the proper ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids should be consumed for optimal benefits.
Current recommendations for pets suggest an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of approximately 10:1 to 5:1 be consumed. Since most pet foods contain much more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3 fatty acids, many pet food companies have added Omega-3 fatty acids to try and compensate for this difference. However, the cooking and processing of most commercial pet foods does destroy some of the fatty acid content. Also in many allergic and inflammatory conditions of the body, adding supplemental fatty acids can help in the management/prevention of many disease conditions. Examples of Omega-3 fatty acids include ALA, EPA and DHA. Examples of Omega-6 fatty acids include LA, GLA, DGLA, and Arachidonic acid.
Both types of fatty acids can help in many diseases, however, fatty acid supplementation rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA and the Omega-6 fatty acid GA seem to be the most effective for many of these conditions. Among the various diseases potentially helped by these acids include allergies and autoimmune conditions, heart disease, joint problems, coat and skin problems, central nervous system disorders, as well as many cancers.
There are numerous brands of fatty acid supplements with different quantities of vitamins, minerals and these fatty acids. Among the excellent products I have used include Nordic Natural Pet Omega-3 or Super Pure Omega 3 supplement, as well as Be Well fatty acid supplement. It is suggested that for conditions such as allergic skin disease that a 2-3 month trial with a good fatty acid supplement that is rich in EPA, DHA, GLA, vitamin E and/or the Omega-6 fatty acid LA be used. Fatty acid supplements should also be fortified with Vitamin E as well. This ratio of fatty acids will differ from product to product, so if a trial with one fatty acid supplement does not work after an adequate period of time, it may be beneficial to try another one.