Is your dog eating the wrong kind of fat? Many raw-fed dogs get fatty chunks of meat in their bowls … and that means your dog might be eating too much animal fat.Too much animal fat could deprive your dog of other good fats he needs. So, you want to control his animal fat … and instead make sure he gets enough of the healthy fats for dogs.
Why Limit Animal Fats For Your Dog?
Fats are an important source of energy for dogs. Ounce for ounce, fat provides twice as much energy as carbohydrates or protein.
But your dog needs the right kind of fat. Most animal fats are saturated fats. Saturated fat provides the energy your dog needs. It also helps your dog absorb important fat-soluble vitamins … like A, D, E and K. But too much saturated fat can lead to health problems.
This is especially true because most dogs are eating factory farmed animals that are grain-fed. Compared to pasture-raised, grass-fed animals, these meats have some drawbacks. As an example, here are some differences between grass-fed vs factory farmed cattle …
- Grain-fed animals have 2-3 times more saturated fat than grass fed.
- Research shows saturated fat can cause unwanted changes in gut bacteria. These can affect your dog’s immune system and overall health.
- Factory farmed animals are fed antibiotics. So your dog gets them in his food, again harming his gut bacteria.
- Grain-fed beef is more likely to contain harmful bacteria … like E. coli and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Saturated fats promote inflammation. Too much long-term inflammation can lead to chronic disease.
- Saturated fats can lead to behavioral issues … causing inability to focus or remember.
But the worst problem is this. If you feed too much saturated fat, you won’t be able to give your dog enough essential fatty acids. They’re called essential because your dog’s body can’t make them. So he must have them in his diet.
Essential Fatty Acids For Dogs
All the essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats. Grain-fed animals have 3-4 times less polyunsaturated fats than grass-fed or wild animals. Essential fatty acids for dogs are …
Omega-6: LA (linoleic acid) and and AA (arachidonic acid)
LA and AA produce hormones that increase inflammation, blood clotting and cell growth. All these things are important for healing. But when inflammation becomes chronic, it leads to long-term disease.
LA is also important for skin and coat, and AA supports the brain.
There are two other omega-6 fatty acids that can benefit your dog’s health.
GLA – gamma linolenic acid
The body can make GLA from LA, but that’s not usually enough. It’s contained in some plant oils. It’s anti-inflammatory, regulates hormones and is good for skin and coat.
CLA –conjugated linoleic acid
CLA is found in grass-fed beef and dairy. CLA may help with weight loss, lower risk of diabetes and cancer.
Omega 3: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
Omega-3 fatty acids produce the opposite effect of omega-6s. So they reduce inflammation and support heart, liver and brain health. That’s why you need them to balance the fats in your dog’s diet.
ALA converts to EPA and DHA. EPA is anti-inflammatory and DHA is essential for brain and eye health.
RELATED: How to balance important fats for dogs …
Unbalanced fats can lead to …
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
- Skin and coat issues
- Joint problems, arthritis
- Gut health problems
- Insulin resistance (leading to diabetes)
- Hormone imbalances
- Behavior difficulties
But it’s not enough to just add extra omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet. Because then he’ll be getting too much total fat in his diet.
Total Fat In Your Dog’s Diet
Here are some reasons to limit the amount of fat in your dog’s diet.
- Ideally, your dog’s diet should mimic the ratios of nutrients he’d get in the wild. Most prey animals are about 10% fat and 20% protein. So you want your dog’s diet to contain about 10% fat. Remember that fat has more than twice as many calories per gram (9) as protein (4) or carbohydrates (4). So if your dog gets an equal weight of fat and protein, he’ll be getting twice as many calories from fat as he does from protein.
- Fat is just fat. It doesn’t contain any protein. So if there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet, your dog will be missing other important nutrients.
- You want to add healthy fats containing essential fatty acids. So it’s best to feed your dog very lean meats to leave room to add the omega-6 and omega-3s your dog needs.
Lower Animal Fats In Your Dog’s Diet
Here are some steps you can take to keep the animal fats in your dog’s diet low:
- Feed lean cuts of meat
- Cut off all visible fat
- When you buy ground meat, look for 90-95% lean meats
- Remove skin from poultry and fish
- Feed wild game when you can get it
Then you’ll be able to add some healthy fats to your dog’s diet without giving him too much total fat.
Sources Of Healthy Fats For Dogs
Here are 5 ways to give your dog healthy fats that’ll help balance his diet.
#1 Green Lipped Mussel Oil
Green lipped mussel oil is rich in important EPA and DHA, like fish oil. But it’s better for your dog than fish oil.
Green lipped mussel oil also contains ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid). ETA is another omega-3 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory effects. Your dog can also convert ETA to EPA. And EPA is known to improve arthritis symptoms, helping to regenerate cartilage.
Green lipped mussels are sustainably farmed in clear New Zealand waters, eating phytoplankton. So the oil is good for the planet and free of contaminants.
RELATED: Why fish oil isn’t the best omega-3 choice for your dog …
#2 Hempseed Oil
Hempseed oil is a powerful plant oil for your dog. It’s a nutritional oil … and it’s not the same thing as CBD oil made from hemp. Hempseed provides an ideal ratio of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. And it contains GLA, an omega-6 fat with anti-inflammatory effects.
It also contains SDA (stearidonic acid) which is a precursor to EPA.
#3 Ahiflower Oil
Ahiflower oil is a plant seed oil that’s super-healthy for your dog. It contains the essential omega-6 fatty acid, GLA … 60% more than hempseed oil. It also provides SDA (stearidonic acid), which helps the body produce ETA and EPA.
#4 Pasture Raised Eggs
Egg yolks are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats for your dog … as long as they’re from hens that live outdoors. But eggs also provide protein and a wide range of other nutrients, especially if you feed the whole egg.
When you shop for eggs, be careful with labeling. You want to look for pasture-raised eggs … meaning they truly live outdoors. Some eggs are labeled free-range, but it’s a misleading term that doesn’t mean the hens go outside. Pastured eggs have a much higher amount of omega-3 fats than conventional eggs.
Buy organic eggs from a local farm or farmer’s market if you can. Grocery store eggs, even if correctly labeled, are often washed with chemicals. If you buy your eggs from a farmer, you can feed your dog the shells. They provide extra calcium. And the membrane inside the shell is shown to improve arthritis symptoms.
If you can’t find organic, pasture-raised eggs, the next best thing is to get omega-3 enriched ones. Those hens were usually fed flax seeds or another omega-3 source. Omega-3 eggs have 5 times more omega-3 than conventional eggs.
RELATED: Learn what raw eggs can do for your dog …
#5 Grass-Fed Ghee
Ghee is a clarified butter that’s used a lot in Indian food. It’s made by boiling butter to remove all the milk solids. So ghee has no lactose or casein that your dog could be sensitive to. Because of that, the fat is also more concentrated.
Ghee is a saturated fat … but it’s a good fat to give your dog as a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Studies show CLA can help with weight loss and may prevent diabetes and cancer.Be sure to choose grass-fed ghee for a higher level of CLA. CLA is also in grass fed butter, but it’s better to avoid the dairy in whole butter.
Ghee also contains the short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, which is good for gut health.
Feed your dog leaner meats so you can add some of these healthy fats to balance his diet. It’s a good idea to rotate fat sources to give your dog a wider range of benefits.
Bilotta AJ, Cong Y. Gut microbiota metabolite regulation of host defenses at mucosal surfaces: implication in precision medicine. Precis Clin Med. 2019 Jun;2(2):110-119.
Wan Y et al. Effects of dietary fat on gut microbiota and faecal metabolites, and their relationship with cardiometabolic risk factors: a 6-month randomised controlled-feeding trial. Gut. 2019 Aug;68(8):1417-1429.
Wan Y et al. Contribution of diet to gut microbiota and related host cardiometabolic health: diet-gut interaction in human health. Gut Microbes. 2020 May 3;11(3):603-609.
Pilla R, Suchodolski JS. The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease. Front Vet Sci. 2020 Jan 14;6:498.
Sofia Schauf et al. Effect of dietary fat to starch content on fecal microbiota composition and activity in dogs,Journal of Animal Science, Volume 96, Issue 9, September 2018, Pages 3684–3698,
Daley CA et al. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.Nutr J. 2010;9:10. Published 2010 Mar 10.
Kapoor R, Huang YS. Gamma linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2006 Dec;7(6):531-4.
Whitehouse MWet al. Anti-inflammatory activity of a lipid fraction (lyprinol) from the NZ green-lipped mussel. Inflammopharmacology. 1997;5(3):237-46.
Gaullier JM et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;79(6):1118-25.
Lee KW, Lee HJ, Cho HY, Kim YJ. Role of the conjugated linoleic acid in the prevention of cancer. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2005;45(2):135-44.
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Healthy Fats For Dogs - Dogs Naturally? ›
Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish oils (herring, salmon, etc.) and flaxseed and canola oils. Commonly used omega-6 fatty acid sources include pork fat, chicken fat (or any poultry fat), safflower and sunflower oils, as well as corn and soybean oils (vegetable oils).How much fat do dogs need in their diet? ›
An adult dog needs at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and a minimum of 5.5% from fats.Do dogs need fats? ›
Active dogs need fat to fuel their muscles and make the energy they require for movement. Dogs fed a high-fat food have more capacity to burn fatty acids and a greater capacity to perform at a high level.What 2 Essential fatty acids are necessary in a canine diet? ›
Dogs and cats require omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet because they cannot produce these essential fatty acids on their own.What is the best source of omega-3 and 6 for dogs? ›
While both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important for your pup, many nutritionists think commercial dog food contains too many omega 6s and not enough omega 3s. Omega 6s can be found in meat products, egg yolks, whole grains, and vegetable oils, while the best source for omega 3s for dogs is cold-water fish.What is the best fat to add to dog food? ›
Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish oils (herring, salmon, etc.) and flaxseed and canola oils. Commonly used omega-6 fatty acid sources include pork fat, chicken fat (or any poultry fat), safflower and sunflower oils, as well as corn and soybean oils (vegetable oils).What is the best fat to protein ratio for dogs? ›
However, most experts recommend a ratio of 20% protein to 12% fat for adult dogs. This ratio is important because it helps maintain your dog's energy levels and helps them stay at a healthy weight. Too much fat in their diet can lead to obesity, while too little protein can cause muscle loss.What fats are bad for dogs? ›
2. Fat Trimmings and Bones. Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn't eat as well as bones. Both are dangerous for dogs.Are eggs good for dogs? ›
Are Eggs Good for Dogs? Eggs are perfectly safe for dogs, Eggs are a great source of nutrition for your canine companion. They are high in protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and fatty acids that help support your dog inside and out. Remember that eggs are only as good as the chicken they come from.Is olive oil good for dogs? ›
Thankfully, olive oil is okay for dogs to eat in small quantities. In fact, it can even be beneficial for them. Regular consumption of olive oil can encourage healthy skin and help give your dog a lustrous coat.
How do I give my dog fatty acids? ›
Tips for providing a healthy amount of omega-3s to a pet's diet: Whenever possible, choose natural sources, such as fish, flax seed oils or whole flax seeds, over supplements packaged in pills or capsules. Whenever possible, use fresh sources. Oils, especially the omega-3 fatty acids, can turn rancid quickly.Is coconut oil good for dogs? ›
It turns out that nutrient-dense coconut oil can be a great addition to your dog's diet in safe, small amounts, whether added to your dog's food, as a supplement, or applied to the skin. Rich in fatty acids and healthy saturated fats, coconut oil may have the following benefits for dogs: Makes a dog's coat extra shiny.What foods are high in omega-3 for dogs? ›
- Salmon with Skin.
- Cod with Skin.
- Canned Sardines.
- Ground Flaxseed.
- Chia Seeds.
- PetHonesty Omega-3 Fish Oil.
Vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn, safflower, canola/rapeseed, and soybean oils are particularly rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. Chicken and animal fats are also a good source.What is a substitute for fish oil for dogs? ›
Krill oil — One alternative to fish oil in dogs that has gained popularity is krill oil. Krill, which are small, shrimp-like creatures, are also full of EPA and DHA. They also contain an additional compound, astaxanthin, an antioxidant that may help keep the oil stable.How much olive oil should I give my dog? ›
The simplest way to incorporate olive oil into your dog's diet is to drizzle it over his food or use it as an ingredient in homemade dog treats. Just don't serve your dog salad that's been slathered in dressing. Servings should be limited to one teaspoon per 20 pounds of bodyweight per day.How much fat should be in homemade dog food? ›
Fats also promote the absorption of vitamins A, D and E. The American Association of Feed Control recommends 5% of your dog's food should come from fat.Which oil is best for homemade dog food? ›
Despite what you have read on the internet or seen from TV personalities, soybean, corn, or canola oils are much better choices for homemade dog food than coconut, flaxseed, olive, or walnut oils.Are potatoes good for dogs? ›
You should never feed your dog a raw potato. White potatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes; like tomatoes, raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that is toxic to some dogs. However, cooking a potato reduces the levels of solanine.What is the easiest protein for dogs to digest? ›
Some proteins are easier than others for dogs to digest. The sources with the highest digestibility are eggs (100%) and chicken, beef and lamb (92%), which are all meats taken from muscle. Proteins derived from organs, such as kidney, heart, and liver, are next with a digestibility of 90%.
What do dogs need in homemade food? ›
Vitamins dogs require include A (carrots, pumpkin), B vitamins (liver, green vegetables, whole grains), C (fruits and vegetables, organ meat), D (liver, fish, beef), E (leafy green vegetables, liver, bran, plant oils), K (fish, leafy green vegetables, fish), and choline (liver, fish, meats, egg yolks).What is the ideal carb to fat to protein ratio for dogs? ›
Findings summarized that it was found that dogs will instinctively select a diet with the metabolizable energy content of a diet possessing macro nutrient ratio proportionate to 30:63:7 protein, fat, carbohydrate.What meat should dogs not eat? ›
Bacon, Ham and Fat Trimmings
Bacon, bacon grease, ham, and fat trimmed off meat or bones contains a lot of salt and/or fat and at the least can cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea in both dogs and cats. These foods can also cause pancreatitis, a serious, potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas.
Carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and bananas are packed with important vitamins, along with potassium, which is good for a dog's muscles, nerves, and kidneys. Their fiber can also help dogs stay regular. Oranges are great source of vitamin C.Is peanut butter good for dogs? ›
Most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat, and in moderation peanut butter can be an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin.Are bananas good for dogs? ›
Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They're high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog's main diet.Is oatmeal good for dogs? ›
“It is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs that may be sensitive to wheat or grains.” Oatmeal contains vitamin B, which helps maintain a healthy coat, and linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps to maintain the strength of dogs' skin.Are carrots good for dogs? ›
Raw and cooked carrots are healthy options for dogs and make a nutritious add-on to meals. While carrots are generally safe, it is important to cut whole carrots and even carrot sticks into bite-size chunks before feeding them to your dog. As a result, you will prevent choking, especially in small dogs.Is honey good for dogs? ›
Is Honey Safe for Dogs? Honey is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. It contains natural sugars and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is also used as a sweetener in many foods and beverages.Can dogs have tomatoes? ›
Dogs can eat tomatoes but only in small amounts. Ripe tomatoes are considered nontoxic to dogs and can be fed in moderation as an occasional snack.
Can dogs eat sweet potatoes? ›
When feeding your dog a sweet potato, make sure it's cooked and that the skin is removed; leaving the skin on makes it harder for your dog to digest. You should never feed your dog a raw sweet potato. Not only are they difficult to chew, but they can upset your dog's stomach and potentially cause intestinal blockage.What oil is best for dogs? ›
- Fish Oil. Fish oil can be a rich source of two key omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ...
- Cod Liver Oil. ...
- Linseed or Flaxseed Oil. ...
- Sunflower Oil. ...
- The Bottom Line: Talk to Your Vet.
Is Yogurt Good For Dogs? Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. It also can act as a probiotic, which can be good for the digestive system. If you feed your dog yogurt, it should be plain and free of any added sweeteners, both natural and artificial.Is turmeric safe for dogs? ›
Turmeric is safe for dogs in small doses, and it may have a positive impact. One study has shown curcumin, a frequently studied phytonutrient found in turmeric, may support healthy joint mobility and comfort.Is pumpkin good for dogs? ›
Plain canned pumpkin is the healthiest choice for your dog. Both fresh and canned pumpkin are good sources of nutrients and fiber, but canned pumpkin contains a higher concentration of fiber and nutrients compared to fresh pumpkin.Does coconut oil have omega-3? ›
Coconut oil is another highly beneficial healthy fat, but does not actually contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Coconut oil is, rather, one of the best sources of medium chain fatty acids.Are eggs a good source of Omega-3 for dogs? ›
10 Superfoods to Share With Your Dog
These eggs contain the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic (ALA), plus two other omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). When giving your dog eggs, introduce them slowly to ensure they do not cause an upset stomach.
You can get adequate amounts of omega-3s by eating a variety of foods, including the following: Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines) Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)What is the best way to give your dog omega-3? ›
Fish oil is given by mouth in the form of a liquid or capsule. It may be given with or without food; however, if stomach upset occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Fish oil can easily be mixed into wet food.Are sardines good for dogs? ›
Adding fresh sardines to your dog's diet has many health benefits. Not only are they a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, they also contain protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, selenium, and coenzyme Q10. See why this fish is great for improving and supporting your dog's health.
Is flaxseed good for dogs? ›
Flaxseed is not only safe for dogs, but it contains several essential nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. One of the most common reasons to give your dog flaxseed is to improve their skin and coat health. Flaxseed contains omega fatty acids and is especially high in the omega 6 fatty acid Linoleic Acid.Is fish oil or olive oil better for dogs? ›
Generally when supplementing oils into an animals diet for health reasons, we are usually looking to increase the amount of fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. These oils are found in particularly high levels in fish oils, therefore fish oil is likely preferable to olive oil.Is olive oil or coconut oil better for dogs? ›
Both are healthy for your dog and have similar positive effects: They moisturize your dog's skin and make its coat shinier. Also, coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. So you can apply it topically to soothe cuts and wounds.Is tuna in olive oil good for dogs? ›
While it may not seem like a big difference to you, tuna packed in oil can cause your dog to experience digestive upset, even if you drain the oil away. Too much oil is not good for a dog, no matter what type of oil it is. Not only is oil loaded with fat and calories, but if can cause loose stools and diarrhea.Can dogs eat cheese? ›
Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies.What can I add to my dogs food for itchy skin? ›
- Fish Oil. The Omega-3 fats found in fish oil help reduce inflammation, which can lessen the intensity of many allergies. ...
- Coconut Oil. Coconut oil can improve many skin conditions including itchiness and dryness. ...
- Digestive Enzymes. ...
- Quercetin. ...
How Much Fat is OK for dogs? As a rule, veterinarians consider a diet with less than 10 percent fat on a dry matter basis (less than 17 percent of calories from fat) to be low fat, while diets with 10 to 15 percent fat (17 to 23 percent of calories) are considered to contain a moderate amount of fat.What percentage of a dogs diet should be protein? ›
The minimum dietary protein requirement for a growing dog is 18% dry matter, or DM, and 8% DM for an adult dog. This is based on feeding a high-quality protein and again, is a minimum amount. AAFCO recommends that the daily requirements for dog diets should contain at least 22% DM for growth and 18% DM for maintenance.Is olive oil good for dogs? ›
Thankfully, olive oil is okay for dogs to eat in small quantities. In fact, it can even be beneficial for them. Regular consumption of olive oil can encourage healthy skin and help give your dog a lustrous coat.Are potatoes good for dogs? ›
You should never feed your dog a raw potato. White potatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes; like tomatoes, raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that is toxic to some dogs. However, cooking a potato reduces the levels of solanine.
Are eggs good for dogs? ›
Are Eggs Good for Dogs? Eggs are perfectly safe for dogs, Eggs are a great source of nutrition for your canine companion. They are high in protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and fatty acids that help support your dog inside and out. Remember that eggs are only as good as the chicken they come from.