Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – are the pillars of a balanced diet. The experts at Purina, one of the world’s leading pet food manufacturers, know that a balanced composition is crucial. This applies to humans as well as to animals. We asked what role fats play in the diet of dogs.
Why is Fat Important in Dog Food?
Fats have an unjustified reputation for being pure fattening foods. Because they are an essential part of a balanced diet. This applies to both two and four-legged friends.
But not all fat is the same
Some are mainly pure flavor and energy carriers. Other fats contain important ingredients to keep the dog healthy and fit. These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fatty acids that support various body functions. Among other things, they are important for:
- normal cardiovascular function;
- the brain function;
- thick, shiny fur;
- healthy skin;
- the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins;
- a strong immune system.
High in Omega-6: Animal Fats and Soybean Oil in Dog Food
Animal fats from pork, beef, chicken, and turkey are an important source of essential omega-6 fatty acids. Poultry fat plays a major role in animal feed. The fatty acids contained consist of more than 20 percent of linoleic acid, which is important for dogs. This in turn is rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Poultry fat comes from the fatty parts of the body of chicken or turkey. Lard made from pork fat is also rich in omega-6 fatty acids. All of the fats mentioned are easy to digest and provide the dog with energy. Purina uses soybean oil as a vegetable fat in some products. Thanks to the fatty acids it contains, it ensures, among other things, a soft and supple coat.
Fish Oil as a Supplier of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil comes from fish such as salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids contained can have a positive effect on skin and coat and also strengthen the immune system. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) play an important role: EPA supports the joints as well as skin and fur. DHA contributes to healthy visual function and brain development in growing dogs. Like essential fatty acids, the body cannot produce them on its own. It is therefore important that dog food contains sufficient quantities of it.
Fat in Balance: the Right Mix is What Counts
Complete dog food contains fats with the right amount of essential linoleic acid. The ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is also well balanced. Purina attaches great importance to transparency. That is why interested cat and dog owners can find out about all the ingredients used on the company’s website. This also includes the fats used. If you rely on a balanced complete feed, you can be sure that your four-legged friend receives the right amount of fats that are important for him. Only in a few cases, such as pancreatic disease, is a low-fat diet necessary. Tip: If you want to help your dog change coat, you can add a teaspoon of linseed oil per 10 kilograms of body weight to the food.
What if the dog has too many pounds on its ribs? Then a reduction in the amount of food, more exercise, and the avoidance of treats in between together with a food with a reduced energy content makes sense. The Purina experts sum up:
The cause of obesity in dogs is not too much fat, but rather too high a caloric intake, a modern lifestyle, and a tendency to pamper pets with snacks and treats.