Fat is one of the essential elements in a dog’s diet. They perform many functions in the body, including: they are a source of energy (they provide calories), they participate in many metabolic processes, they are carriers of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K. Oils of animal origin are of great importance in dog nutrition , especially those that are a source of Omega 3 fatty acids: oils from fatty marine fish and krill oil.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids (EFAs for short). This group includes: short-chain alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and long-chain: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The dog’s body is not able to synthesize EPA and DHA on its own from the supplied nutrients, so it must receive them in a ready-made form in food, hence they are essential in the pet’s diet. These fatty acids are found in oils in fatty marine fish and in krill oil.
It is worth knowing that vegetable oils (e.g. linseed oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil) rich in ALA, omega 6 and 9 are not effectively converted by the dog’s body to EPA and DHA fatty acids. Therefore, you should give your dog oil of animal origin with high amounts of omega-3, such as fish or krill.
You often ask us which dog oil – fish or krill – will be better. In the article, we will present the differences and similarities of these products, which should facilitate the selection of oil for the needs of your pet.
Fish oil vs. krill oil
Game Dog fish oils are mixtures of oils from various fish species, including: salmon, sardine, tuna, mackerel, herring (and several others). This is related to the fishy smell and taste of such a product.
Krill oil is pressed from only one species – shrimp-like crustaceans – Arctic krill, which can be an advantage in the case of dog allergies – in this way we reduce the number of ingredients in the dog’s diet. The smell and taste of this oil is characteristic, reminiscent of fish oil.
Omega-3 content (EPA and DHA)
Oils obtained from marine fish and krill oil contain valuable omega-3 acids: EPA and DHA. Their concentration varies from product to product and depends on the production method.
The general concentration of Omega-3 and the amount of a specific fraction (EPA and DHA) can be adjusted to the needs of the dog’s body – in this article we discuss how they affect animals. Higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for dogs suffering from various medical conditions. Importantly, in the case of animals in which it is recommended to reduce the fat content of meals, it is best to choose a product containing a high dose of omega-3 in a small volume.
Bioavailability – that is bioavailability
Much research has been devoted to comparing the degree of bioavailability of these two types of oils. The results are inconclusive and more research is needed.
However, it is believed that krill oil has better bioavailability due to its chemical structure. It is mostly in the phospholipid form (30-65% content). Phospholipids play a large role in the construction of the cell membranes of the body’s cells. Fish oils, on the other hand, are mainly triglycerides. Differences in the chemical structure of fats affect how the body metabolizes and absorbs them.
Under the influence of temperature, solar radiation and access to air, omega-3s are oxidized (decomposed), which reduces the health-promoting value of such oil. The presence of antioxidants slows down this process.
Krill oil, thanks to naturally contained antioxidants (e.g. astaxanthin), is more resistant to oxidation. In this supplement, there is no need to add an antioxidant in the production. On the other hand, omega-3 in fish oils breaks down faster because the content of antioxidants in them is very low. To slow this process, antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E) are added in the production.
To ensure long shelf life of krill oil and marine fish oil, the product should be stored in the refrigerator after opening, without access to air. You can also freeze these oils, e.g. in the form of supplement “candies” 🙂
Source of vitamins
At the beginning of the article, it was mentioned that fats are a solvent for vitamins A, D, E, K. Of these, an excess of vitamins A and D can be harmful to a dog’s health, so their amount in a pet’s diet should be controlled.
Pressed fish and krill oils may contain fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K). In order not to lead to an excess of vitamins A and D in the dog’s diet, it is worth choosing omega-3 supplements that do not contain these vitamins. In this way, we will provide the necessary EPA and DHA, without increasing the amount of vitamins in the diet.
The oils that you will find in our offer are not a source of vitamins A and D.
Astaxanthin in krill oil
A significant distinguishing feature of krill oil is its natural antioxidant content. In addition to extending the shelf life of the product, they have a positive effect on the dog’s body. They help reduce oxidative stress, leading, among others, to the occurrence of inflammation.
The most well-known antioxidant in krill oil is astaxanthin. It is a dye belonging to the group of carotenoids. Krill oil owes its unique red color to it. Scientific studies show that astaxanthin has much stronger antioxidant properties than, for example, vitamin C or vitamin E.
Heavy metal elements and other toxins
Aquatic organisms can accumulate in their tissues heavy metals found in their environment. A higher probability of such contamination will be in fish oils, as these organisms are higher in the food chain (they eat other organisms, thus accumulating various compounds in their tissues). Krill, on the other hand, are food for other animals, so the amount of potentially absorbed heavy metal elements is generally lower.
Regardless of the type of oil – fish or krill – you should choose products from proven sources, laboratory tested, the quality of which is confirmed by quality certificates. By using such products, we minimize the risk of introducing toxins and heavy metal elements into the pet’s diet.
The oils available at Game Dog are free from impurities and heavy metal elements, which is confirmed by quality certificates obtained as a result of a series of laboratory analyses! 🙂
No matter which oil (fish or krill) you choose for additional supplementation, it will be a valuable addition to your pet’s diet. When deciding on a specific product, it is crucial to choose a supplement that meets the needs of the dog’s body and its diet. Selection criteria may include: the concentration of omega-3 in a milliliter of oil, the content of vitamins, allergies and food intolerances, diseases, etc. When choosing, you can also be guided by taste and smell preferences, or the formula of the product – capsules, bottled oils. It is good practice to periodically rotate omega 3 oils in your dog’s diet, i.e. alternate between different sources of EPA and DHA.
You can read about the properties of Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) in the diet of animals in our article. In the next entry >click< you can read about the importance of krill oil in the diet of dogs.