FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
EFA’s are fatty acids that animals are not able to synthesize on their own, and thus must be obtained from their diet. In dogs and cats, both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids must be provided in the diet. Omega-6 fatty acids include linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA). Omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Linoleic acid, ALA, EPA, and DHA are all considered essential fatty acids in dogs, while LA, AA, ALA, EPA, and DHA are all considered essential in cats.
Omega’s are most likely beneficial due to their ability to decrease inflammation and modulate immune responses by inhibiting the arachidonic acid cascade which promotes end products such as prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes which have high pro-inflammatory properties. Increased levels of EPA and DHA also decrease the presence of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP’s), interleukins-1 and 2 (IL-1 and IL-2), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a).
While some studies have found beneficial effects at EPA/DHA doses as low as 50-69mg/kg (22-31mg/pound), there is strong evidence to support doses of EPA/DHA between 100-275mg/kg (45-125mg per pound) of body weight. In one study there was a dose related benefit with higher dosing (doses as high as 375mg/kg or 170mg/pound) leading to greater benefits. It is important to note that these higher doses may be inappropriate due to the potential for diarrhea at these doses and due to the number of calories provided in that amount of fish oil.
Fish oil is commonly offered in 1000mg capsules often containing only 300mg of EPA and DHA (the other 700mg is other fats). Using a dose of 100mg/kg of EPA and DHA, it would require taking 10 of these capsules a day to reach the desired level of EPA/DHA in a 65-pound dog. Not only is this expensive, it is impractical to expect to be able to give this many capsules to a dog each day.
For dogs with an appropriate weight, Stryde recommends 100-200mg/kg of total combined EPA and DHA. In obese or obese prone dogs, Stryde recommends dosing based on the estimated ideal body weight.
In cats Stryde recommends Fish oil doses of 112-120mg/kg EPA/DHA which has been reported in cats.
See Dosing Chart on Stryde Bottle
Linoleic acid and ALA are provided in the diet in the form of corn oil, canola oil, and flaxseed oil, AA is provided by animal fat, while fish and fish-oil products are the main source of EPA and DHA. Many diets claim to contain omega-3 fatty acids, but they don’t include EPA or DHA. If you are feeding a diet rich in EPA and DHA, then reduced supplementation may be a good idea. We recommend diets with 2.5-3.5g/1000 kcal of EPA and DHA. If your pets diet contains less EPA and DHA than this, additional supplementation is appropriate. We recommend you speak to your veterinarian about altering fish oil doses if your pet food contains significant amounts of EPA and DHA.
While both omegas are important in normal physiological processes, during inflammatory events omega-6’s tend to produce more proinflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes than omega-3’s. Most diets have a higher ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s which have been attributed to increased incidence of chronic diseases. The goal of providing a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is to reverse this balance.
While there are a few potential complications reported with administration of fish oil in dogs, serious complications are rare. The most common complication is diarrhea, which is primarily seen when giving high doses due to the increase in fat intake. In addition, weight gain has been listed as a potential complication. Due to the increase in calories (1tsp of fish oil is approximately 40kcal) and fat provided by the fish oil, it is important to monitor your pet for any weight gain.
Decreased platelet aggregation (decreased blood clotting) is a reported potential concern, though most studies have found no change in clotting, even at very high fish oil doses. Despite this, please consult with your veterinarian if your pet suffers from thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).
Omega-3’s are beneficial in treating inflammatory diseases. However, inflammation is a necessary part of wound healing. As such, delayed wound healing is a theoretical risk if high doses of omega-3’s are used. Thankfully studies in companion animals suggest that wound healing is not affected by omega-3 supplementation.
Due to the potential for diarrhea, we recommend you gradually increase the amount of fish oil you administer daily to reach the final recommended dose approximately 5-7 days after introducing it in your pet’s diet. If you note diarrhea, we recommend reducing the amount of fish oil you are giving each day until diarrhea is no longer present.
Omega-3’s (fish oil) are a cornerstone of arthritis management in pets due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Though we recommend speaking with your veterinarian first, fish oil can typically be started as soon as your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis, or an orthopedic condition predisposing to arthritis.
There are no known contra-indications between fish oil and medications or other supplements, however, if a pet is on a medication that decreases clotting we recommend contacting your veterinarian to determine if fish oil is appropriate.
Flaxseed oil is a good source of ALA. ALA has been found to have beneficial effects for dermatologic disease, but no for arthritis and orthopedic diseases. ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA, which have significant beneficial effects for patients with arthritis and orthopedic disease. Unfortunately, dogs (and humans) have limited ability to convert ALA to EPA due and limited to no conversion of ALA to DHA. In fact, diets rich in ALA must provide more than 7 times the amount of fat to provide an equivalent amount of EPA/DHA.
Once arthritis develops, it cannot be reversed. Fish oil can be used daily for the lifespan of a pet to help decrease inflammation in the joint, to reduce pain, increase function, and decrease the progression of arthritis.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and thus there is a great degree of variability in the quality of available products. Ensure the product you are purchasing is third party tested for purity and freshness. In addition, look to see if the fish oil you plan to purchase is manufactured according to international quality standards and is environmentally sustainably sourced.
- Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically those from fish oils, have been found to improve lameness and weight bearing in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, they have been shown to reduce the amount of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories need to control pain associated with osteoarthritis, and they have been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
- The doses of fish oil that are required to achieve these results are typically not provided in the vast majority of diets or dietary supplements.
- Stryde follows dosing guidelines that have been found to be effective in the veterinary literature.
- Stryde utilizes fish oil from mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines. It is a human grade fish oil, certified organic, certified by Friend of the Sea conforming to sustainable fishing practices, and certified as an Iceland Premium product.
- Stryde conforms to guidelines of current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA, is produced in an FDA registered facility, and is approved by the USDA.