You may have heard that essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are important for your pet's wellbeing. Especially, omega fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and are both safe and effective to help with pet food allergies!
If your pet has allergies, there is inflammation in the body and if it goes on for a long time, any inflammation is a potential threat to their health, because long-term inflammatory pathways can stimulate allergies or arthritis, among other things.
The following is from our Pet Allergies eBook, listing everything you need to know about essential fatty acids and the many benefits of omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s, especially when it comes to pet food allergies:
Sierra was a 10 year old Bernese Mountain Dog with a red belly and constantly itchy skin. After she ate her meal, she would rub her face and her whole body on the floor. Sierra was evaluated for food sensitivities with Applied Kinesiology, and treated for leaky gut. Her itch and red belly continued. Some time later, the fish oil was not shown to be beneficial with the kinesiology (muscle testing), and she was switched to black currant seed oil. That was the answer for Sierra’s allergies. Her belly redness subsided and she no longer rubbed her face all over the living room after her meals.
These nutrients are essential for good health; some of these must be obtained in the diet. Many of the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids have a different structure than straight chain fatty acids. Most modern discussions deal with omega fatty acids (omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s) as well as medium-chain fatty acids. Sources of omega-3’s include flax, hemp and fish oil. (Flax and hemp oils have both omega-3 and -6 components.) Omega-6 sources include corn, and soy oils, along with meats (chicken, beef, turkey, pork and lamb). Omega-9 comes primarily from olive oil, but also canola oil. Not all omega fatty acids are essential. For example, omega-9’s are NOT essential – our bodies and our dogs’ bodies can make omega-9’s from other unsaturated fats in the diet. Coconut oil is an example of a medium-chain fatty acid.
The prime example of an omega-6 is arachidonic acid (AA). AA is nonessential for dogs (or humans) – most of us ingest plenty of AA precursors because we eat meat. AA is vital for most cells in the body; however, AA is also heavily involved in building the effects of inflammation.
Once inflammation starts (stress, vaccines, leaky gut, viruses, etc.), AA is shunted into pro-inflammatory pathways. This inflammation can stimulate allergies or arthritis, among other things.
This is when humans take an Aspirin or Benadryl; the pro-inflammatory cycle can mean long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications and adds stress.
Similarly, our dogs are administered steroids and/or NSAID’s for these inflammatory conditions, as discussed above. While the medications are needed for relief, the goal is to use the medications for the short-term so that the inflammatory pathway does not continue. Interestingly, AA is an essential omega fatty acid for cats; meat provides sufficient AA for most cats.
The body has its own anti-inflammatory pathways – this is where the omega-3’s come in. Many omega-3 supplements boast they contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils and/or microalgae.
The omega-3 pathway inhibits the inflammatory effects of the AA pathway. So, the more omega-3’s our pets ingest, the less inflammation they experience, controlling some allergy signs and sometimes even decreasing the side-effects due to use of medications.
Which omega-3 to use depends on the mechanism of the allergy/inflammation. There are several omega-3 sources (see Table 8). Flaxseed oil, Black Currant Seed oil and fish oil are three examples.
Based on biochemistry, we know flaxseed or black currant seed oil ( omega-3 fatty acids), are a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA.
The body slowly converts flax or black currant seed oil to ALA. The body then converts that acid into EPA, then slowly into DHA.
EPA and DHA are also contained in fish oil. Some pets find relief when they ingest fish oil, while others do not.
What is GLA? Gamma-linolenic acid – it is found in the omega-6 oils listed above. GLA has been shown to decrease inflammation in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, atopic dermatitis, and cancer.
While non-essential, omega-9’s are needed to regulate use of the other omega fatty acids in the body. Clearly, fatty acid balance is highly inter-connected biochemistry. If fish oil is not the answer for an atopic/asthmatic patient, flaxseed oil might be more helpful. Perhaps black currant seed oil is the answer, or borage.
Studies prove fish & borage oils provide the most rapid, consistent and speedy help for excessive shedding, dry skin, constant licking and scratching, greasy or dull coat, sores in ears etc. See Omega Mender product that we recommend below!
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment, there are easy to try options for the pet owner to try.
Black currant seed oil is a popular health supplement, like fish oil. It is a vegetable oil that is taken by people to deal with disorders of the immune system, hair thinning and as an anti-inflammatory.