It is definitely true that Omega-3 fatty acids (such as EPA & DHA) offer a long list of health benefits to pets and people. These benefits include heart and brain health, joint support, and kidney health. In addition, many studies are finding that Omega-3‘s even help to decrease gingivitis and support better gum and oral health. This is a huge benefit, because oral & periodontal health truly impacts the entire body!
For all of these reasons, I recommend that all cats & dogs (and people) take a quality fish oil supplement OR that you are add regular consumption of fatty fishes and other foods that provide good Omega-3 sources. Notice that I said quality sources. First of all, fish oil products are certainly not created equal. In other words, do not buy the generic or cheaper fish oils. For you or for your pets.
Secondly, do not rely on Omega-3’s oils added in dry pet foods to be offering these types of health benefits for your pets. This holds true even for the fish-based food varieties. The reason for this is that fats oxidize quickly and go rancid (or spoil) in the food. These types of fats should be consumed fresh. If you do choose to buy fish-based foods, it is best to but the smallest bags available, in order to be consumed within a few weeks of opening the bag. Although buying larger bags of food may be more economical, it is definitely not better when it comes to nutritional value.
It is important to know that there are several problems with consuming oxidized or spoiled fats. Not only can rancid fats can cause diarrhea, stomach upset, liver problems and heart problems, but they can also cause cell damage, leading to things like cancer and arthritis. Furthermore, studies have shown that rancid fats actually reduce the overall nutritive value of the food - by degrading the proteins, vitamins and antioxidants! Wow! We certainly do not want to provide food that may make our pets sick, and furthermore to spend extra money on so-called “good quality” foods, only to find out that these good nutrients are being degraded by the added “healthy fats”.
Bottom line is: skip the added Omega-3‘s and feed a whole food source or provide a good quality liquid or capsule supplement. Always store fish oil products in the refrigerator. If you opt for food sources, good options include canned or fresh wild-caught salmon or canned sardines packed in spring water. These can be fed 2-3 times a week.