Table of Contents
- DHA For Dogs: What is DHA?
- Benefits of DHA in dogs
- Negative Side Effects of DHA for Dogs
- DHA Dosage for Dogs
- Frequently Asked Questions About DHA for Dogs
- DHA For Dogs: Summary
In this day and age, there are now plenty of nutrients, supplements, and vitamins that dogs can benefit from. But is DHA one of those?
This blog will tackle everything you need about DHA for dogs.
As pet owners, we all want our dogs to be healthy and happy. Our dogs can live their best lives with the right exercise, proper training, and a complete diet.
It's hard to pick the right supplements to give to our dogs. That's why it's best advised to consult your vet before doing so.
One supplement that stands out is omega-3 fatty acids. Wait, are you saying fat can be good for dogs?
Yes! DHA, also known as the “good fat”, is an omega-3 fatty acid in cold-water fish.
Research says that dogs fed with DHA in their diets perform better in learning and training sessions than other dogs.
Below, we will tackle all about DHA. Is it truly safe for dogs? What are the benefits?
But before that, let's dive in and look at what DHA is for dogs.
DHA For Dogs: What is DHA?
So what is DHA exactly? DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic acid.
DHA is one of the main major structural components of the brain. It is a natural omega-3 fatty acid that helps with the growth of the brain and nervous system in young mammals.
Humans have plenty of access to seafood, so we have a lot of DHA in our diet.
Unfortunately, some dogs lack these resources and can miss out on the benefits of DHA.
Sources of DHA
DHA can be found in fish such as salmons, sardines, tuna (bluefin tuna have up to 5 times more DHA than other types of tuna), cod liver oil, mackerel, oysters, shellfish, and herring. It can also be found in eggs and organ meat.
Another source of DHA is their mother before weaning.
The mother transfers DHA from her body tissues to the puppy during pregnancy and lactation.
Benefits of DHA in dogs
If you're still on the fence about giving DHA to your dog, this is the sign to do it. Dogs can benefit a lot from omega-3 fatty acids.
Below is a list of the benefits that DHA can provide for dogs:
Brain And Central Nervous System Development
First on our list of the benefits of DHA in dogs is that DHA, together with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), is a crucial nutrition used in the growth of the brain and the central nervous system.
You can also give a pregnant or female nursing dog DHA supplements. Because as we've discussed above, mothers can be a source of DHA for puppies.
Studies suggest that puppies fed with DHA are easier to train and socialize with. Moreover, older dogs can also benefit from DHA-enhanced diets.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory effects that can lessen the symptoms caused by allergies.
For instance, providing them with DHA-rich supplements such as fish can reduce itchiness, dry skin, and other side effects from allergic reactions.
DHA can stop the production of substances that causes inflammation. Keep in mind that it doesn't cure allergies.
Instead, it can be a helpful supplement for calming your dog's allergic reactions.
Promotes Healthy Coat
Like allergy relief, the DHA's anti-inflammatory properties also help dogs' fur grow long and healthy with a smaller chance of shedding.
If you're not a fan of coats being scattered all over the floor, furniture, and your clothes, consider giving them DHA.
DHA will help the dog's hair grow without bald spots. Also, you'll notice a different shine from their coat when the sun hits them well.
Some dog owners don't even realize that their dog's coat hasn't even reached its full potential.
With DHA, your dog will even look healthier and more beautiful.
DHA can also help decrease inflammation. Inflammation is a natural defence mechanism of the body against harm.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is when the dog's head swells when it bumps his head into something.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation can have unwanted effects on a dog's tissues and organs.
Joint health is crucial to any dog. Luckily, DHA's anti-inflammatory properties may be a great remedy for allergic reactions, but it can also help with their joints.
As our dog ages, its cartilage wears out and deteriorates, and it can be painful since its bones rub together when moving.
These fatty acids promote cartilage development and can help the dog's overall behaviour in physical activities.
The dogs' joints can be healthy and functional with daily exercise and the right diet.
Our immune system is the one that protects organisms against viruses and bacteria. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help the immune system.
DHA enhances B cell activation and other antibody production, which can lead to immune responses connected with inflammation.
Kidney Disease and Heart Problems
Another benefit that dogs can get from DHA is that it can slow kidney damage.
Dogs suffering from heart issues can also benefit from DHA as it can help treat side effects such as loss of appetite and muscle loss.
Negative Side Effects of DHA for Dogs
With the right dose, DHA is normally safe for dogs. However, improper dosing can lead to some bad side effects.
Natural sources of DHA can also have toxins due to polluted fish products.
Ocean pollution is to blame as it consists of metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury. These toxins can be dangerous and fatal.
A few negative side effects of overdosing on DHA for dogs are:
- Acid Reflux
- Heart Issues
- Increase in Blood Sugar
DHA Dosage for Dogs
DHA can be found in most dog foods today. But if you want to supplement your dog's intake, you must be careful of the dosage.
Before you introduce new supplements or if you plan to change your dog's diet, it's best to consult with your vet or a pet nutritionist.
They can advise and guide you on the best way to DHA intake or whether or not it is necessary.
The proper dosing will depend on the dog's weight. The suggested daily intake is as follows:
- Up to 10lbs – 0.03g
- Up to 20lbs – 0.04g
- Up to 50lbs – 0.09g
- Up to 70lbs – 0.11g
- Up to 90lbs – 0.13g
Frequently Asked Questions About DHA for Dogs
Is DHA OK for older dogs?
Yes, older dogs can still benefit from DHA, especially those with arthritis or cognition problems.
As discussed above, DHA can help a dog's joint health, brain and nervous system.
Can too much omega-3 be harmful to dogs?
Too much omega-3 can have negative side effects on dogs. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain, altered platelet function, and reduced wound healing.
It's best to feed your dog the suggested amount of fish oil. That's why it's important to talk with your vet before doing so.
What foods are high in DHA for dogs?
Natural sources of DHA can be found in sea foods. Fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are high in DHA.
But it can also be found in fish oil, eggs, and organ meat.
DHA For Dogs: Summary
DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, is a natural omega-3 fatty acid many dogs can benefit from.
It offers many benefits, including developing puppies' brains and nervous systems.
Naturally, DHA is found in fish or seafood, but it can also be in pet foods such as fish meals and fish oil.
Other than the development of a puppy's brain and nervous systems, DHA can also be great for allergy relief, joint health, inflammation, immune system, kidney problems, and heart issues.
However, overdosing on DHA can lead to multiple negative side effects, such as diarrhea, acid reflux, heart issues, etc.
If you plan to add DHA to your dog's diet, consult your vet first to ensure your dog's safety. Your vet can give you the right dosage and supplements best suited for Fido.