Fatty acids come in two varieties, omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids are contained in vegetable oils. They are generally used to correct defects in the lipid barrier of skin damaged by allergies. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed, are best known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Since most dogs with allergies can benefit from both, I usually choose a product that combines omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The only exception is with dog’s whose main problem is dry skin and scaling (dandruff). In those animals I will use strictly omega-6 fatty acids.
Before you start your dog on fatty acids, talk to your veterinarian. I don’t use fatty acids in dogs who have a history of pancreatitis or in breeds that are prone to pancreatitis. Also, be careful with fatty acids in dogs with digestive problems as diarrhea may result. Some dogs require therapy for two months before any improvement is observed.
One last tip, never used expired fatty acids. Look at the bottle before you buy. Store according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Always smell the product, especially omega-6 fish oil, before you administer it. If it smells bad, don’t give it. Fish oil, especially, become rancid with improper handling.