- Omega-3s are packed with benefits — When used appropriately, these essential fatty acids can help keep your cat’s skin and coat healthy, lessen joint pain, and help prevent cognitive decline and heart disease.
- They’re most often found in marine sources — Omega-3s fatty acids are commonly found in foods like salmon, mackerel, or trout.
- Add omega-3s to your cat’s diet — Vet-approved additives are a great way to help balance cats’ diets and help them reap the many benefits of omega-3s.
You’ve probably heard of omega-3s and their benefits for humans and dogs, but did you know the same rings true for our cats? In this guide, we’ll share the basics of omega-3s and how to safely give your pet the omega-3s they need to improve their overall health.
What are omega-3s?
Omega-3 refers to a classification of 11 fatty acids. When discussing its use among pets, you’ll primarily hear about docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Certain species of ocean algae are the source of these omega-3 fatty acids, often found in fish such as salmon, mackerel or trout. They are often called marine omega-3s because the fish eat the algae species that produce them. ZipZyme™ Omega, a fresh, natural source of omega-3 DHA grown directly from the algae, rather than from the fish that eat the algae, helps cats and dogs with everything from immune support to improved cognition, skin health, and more.
How omega-3s work
To understand the importance of omega-3s, consider their role in the human body. Our bodies typically make most of the types of fats they need from other fats or raw materials we consume. But the essential fats provided by omega-3s can’t simply be produced from scratch. Instead, our bodies rely on foods already high in omega-3s to reap their integral benefits. This mechanism applies to our cats, too.
What are the benefits of omega-3s for cats?
Omega-3s are packed with all kinds of benefits for our feline friends, such as promoting a healthy heart, reducing inflammation in the joints of older cats and keeping their skin and coat nice and healthy.
Cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fats help make hormones that regulate blood clotting as well as the contraction and relaxation of the artery walls. They also keep the heartbeat from veering into dangerous, erratic rhythms and decrease triglyceride levels in cats, ultimately helping prevent blood clots in felines with existing heart disease.
Healthy skin. The anti-inflammatory qualities of omega-3s are especially beneficial for cats with dry, flaky skin or those with skin conditions like eczema. They help reduce cytokines, the inflammatory substances behind allergic diseases.
Joint health. Joint supplements and omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory benefits to cats with feline osteoarthritis and other joint conditions as they prevent the production of prostaglandins, which exacerbate joint pain.
Shiny coat. In addition to regular grooming to keep your cat’s coat nice and shiny and to prevent shedding, your vet may recommend omega-3 supplements or additives.
Immune support. Research shows omega-3s can lessen the harmful effects of an overreactive immune system by reducing overall inflammation, ultimately strengthening immune cells and preventing illness.
Brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for healthy brain development in cats, as they sustain and improve cognitive function and can even help fight age-associated damage. DHA in particular is an essential building block for brain health and cognition.
Kidney health. If your vet has ever prescribed a kidney-friendly diet for your cat, it probably contained omega-3s. This is because omega-3s have been shown to slow the progression of kidney disease. They reduce inflammation surrounding the kidneys while lowering blood pressure.
ZipZyme™ Omega is an all-in-one source to aid in all of the above benefits. It’s a fresh food sustainably grown from ocean algae. Other omega-3 products are extracted oils made from the fish that eat the algae, but ZipZyme™ is made directly from the source of DHA. It’s ready to go to work in the body immediately after consumption, multiplying the amount of DHA in the body to support a healthy metabolism and prevent serious health conditions.
How to add omega-3s to your cat’s diet
Cats derive most of their necessary moisture from their food rather than from drinking water, so adding omega-3s in the form of fish oil supplements or additives to their meals is a great way to help balance their diet and help them reap the many benefits of omega-3s.
But remember, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may not be appropriate for every cat, such as those with gastrointestinal or bleeding disorders. Always consult your veterinarian before adding anything new to your cat’s diet.
Tips for choosing an omega-3 supplement
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t consider supplements to be foods or drugs , their regulation is less comprehensive. So when it comes to finding reputable, high-quality omega-3 supplements, there are certain labels and phrases you should look out for. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Choose brands with confirmed expertise — Such brands often have commissioned clinical studies of their products.
- Read labels carefully — Ensure you’re looking at products intended for felines and keep an eye out for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal of approval on the label. The NASC is a nonprofit group that identifies safe products for pets that are of high quality.
- Look for a lot number on the product — This is a sign that the company uses quality control checks.
- Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true — Vitamin supplements are just that, supplements. They are not cure-alls or medications. Be cautious of products that make such concrete claims.
- Avoid supplements intended for humans — These supplements often contain ingredients that are harmful to cats or contain too high of a dose that can cause adverse effects.
- Consult your veterinarian before beginning use — Not only can labels be confusing for pet parents, it’s essential that you rule out any illnesses that may conflict with use of omega-3s.
When to avoid omega-3s
As mentioned, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may not be appropriate for every pet , especially if your cat suffers with gastrointestinal or bleeding disorders. Consult your veterinarian before adding anything new to your cat’s diet. Consider adding a whole-cell food source of omega-3 DHA that may be gentler on a cat’s system than extracted oil products.
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Frequently asked questions
What do omega-3s do for cats?
Omega-3s are packed with all kinds of benefits for our feline friends, from reducing risk of heart disease to keeping their skin and coat nice and healthy. Research shows omega-3s are also essential for brain, kidney, and joint health.
What is the best source of omega-3 for cats?
Vet-approved, naturally-sourced products containing ingredients like DHA are a popular and beneficial source of omega-3s for cats.
How much omega-3 should a cat get per day?
The amount of recommended omega-3 per day typically depends on the age and weight of your cat, as well as the form of supplement and how much EPA and DHA is in the supplement. As a general rule, you should follow the instructions on the product label or consult your veterinarian if instructions are unclear.