FATS – THE SKINNY ON THE HEALTH BENEFITS FOR YOUR DOG
Elevate Your Dog’s Food Beyond Simple Nutrition
Welcome to ‘Ingredients with a Purpose’ - a series of science informed articles on the role the ingredients in your dog’s food plays in achieving their best health and wellbeing at every stage of their precious lives at the same time helping to reduce the environmental impact feeding them has on our precious planet.
We understand there are a LOT of options when it comes to what you feed your dog. We also understand you want to offer them the best food possible, and labels can be confusing. The goal of this series is to give you clear insight into the reason for the inclusion of every ingredient in our super premium food, the role it plays and what is necessary to guarantee you are feeding your dog an all-natural, complete, and balanced, diet.
These are the key elements necessary for positive nutrition.
Fats – The Skinny on the Health Benefits for your Dog
Is fat healthy for my dog or not?
The short answer is, YES.
These are some of the most important functions fats perform for your dog.
- Fats provides necessary energy as well as aid in supple skin and coat formation.
- They are needed for other nutrients in their diet to be properly absorbed.
- Fat transports fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- It aids in the digestion of vitamin D, which in turn is needed to utilise calcium in the body.
- It keeps cells strong and supports a healthy nervous system, brain, liver, blood, skin, and hormone function.
- Fat helps to protect vital organs from trauma and helps regulate body temperature.
Negative connotations often surround fats however fats are a very important macronutrient which are vital to the wellbeing of both humans and animals.
The key is getting the proper amount of fat from the appropriate sources.
As with many things food and nutrition for both us and our dogs, not all fats are created equal, and balance of these fats is vital to health, longevity, inflammation and even weight control. The wrong types, imbalance or not enough fats can impair nutrition status, development and promote inflammation.
There are three major types of fats: unsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats.
Typically, unsaturated fats are found in plant and seeds and saturated fats in animal products such as milk and meat. Although there are exceptions to these categorisations. Typically, trans fats are a product of a process called hydrogenation which can make fats more shelf stable – these types of fats are not commonly found in nature.
Fats are made up of fatty acids, some of which are referred to as essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they cannot be produced by the dog’s body; EFAs must be obtained through the diet in the correct ratios. There are four EFAs that dogs need. Linoleic acid (LA) – which dogs use to create arachidonic acid (ARA) – which are omega-6 fats. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA) are omega-3 fats.
Unsaturated fats can be further broken down into two additional categories: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated (PUFAs); polyunsaturated fats offer many of the previously mentioned five EFAs for dogs.
Dogs need to consume a balance of saturated fat and unsaturated fats from their food to maintain optimum health.
It is important to understand how our dog’s digest fats.
When food enters your dog’s stomach, the fat is digested last. When fat enters the small intestine, it is broken down by the bile secreted by the gallbladder. Enzymes released by the small intestine and pancreas then release the fatty acids to be utilised by their body. Whatever is not absorbed by the body will then be removed through waste. Again, too much fat can be dangerous, possibly leading to hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol for dogs), heart disease, mammary tumours in females, and some forms of cancer.
The two main fatty acids are Omega-6 and Omega-3.
Omega-6 fatty acids produce immune hormones that increase inflammation. Omega 6 fatty acids also help with blood clotting, brain function, and normal growth and development, helps stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
Omega-3 fatty acids are part of the phospholipid bilayer in the membrane of your dog’s cells. This means that they help regulate cellular communication in every area of the body. Omega-3 fatty acids form a large percentage of brain matter and are the foundation of pro and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Unfortunately, dogs do not metabolise the Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), provided in most dog food by plant-based oils, like flaxseed, rapeseed, linseed and hemp, efficiently enough to get maximum benefits.
Bonza includes an algae (seaweed) extract which delivers two powerful, and very important, Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) for their best health.
There are a number of benefits to supplementing your pet’s diet with EPA and DHA fatty acids, which include:
- Skin and coat health – Omega 3 for dogs and cats work in the skin to aid the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory processes. EPA and DHA are the precursors for newly discovered lipids called Resolvins and Protectins, which support the natural systems that control inflammation.
- Cognitive function – Omega 3, especially from DHA has been shown to aid the structure and function of brain cells by promoting the natural synthesis of synaptic membranes and dendritic spines, thereby aiding neurotransmission, Omega 3 DHA supplementation plays an indispensable role in naturally supporting neuronal membranes in the aged brains.
- Heart health – Omega 3 fatty acids can help to support and maintain a healthy heart. Omega 3 is helpful for reducing levels of bad cholesterol while raising heart-healthy cholesterol, Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to increase weight loss in overweight dogs.
- Joint health - Omega 3 fatty acids can help to reduce the symptoms of joint problems, such as stiffness, tenderness, swelling and discomfort. One of its main benefits is the anti-inflammatory properties which can aid joint pain.
The rate of inclusion in Bonza at 2.06grams/kg of food allows dogs to benefit from the EPA and DHA.
The balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in supporting a healthy immune system and balancing inflammation. A diet poor in Omega-3 can lead to chronic disease and autoimmune disease.
Most animals today are intensively farmed and often fed with soy and/or corn, both are high in Omega-6 which distorts the Omega fats balance leading to diets which can be pro-inflammatory.
An Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio of 1:1 – 4:1 is considered ideal for your dog.
Bonza also includes coconut oil which has been shown to have multiple health benefits for your dog.
Most of coconut oil’s health benefits come from medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by their body to make the same disease-fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin our babies make from breast milk and use it to prevent viral, bacterial, or protozoal infections.
Coconut oil’s capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their antifungal effects. Like lauric acid, capric acid helps balance insulin levels.
In addition to protecting the body against infection, medium-chain fatty acids are efficiently metabolised to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss.
In dogs, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion, and reduces allergic reactions.
Coconut oil is also credited with reducing dog’s odour.
Bonza is formulated with a specially selected range of fats from a diverse range of sources including rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, algae (seaweed) oil extract, seaweed, olive oil extract and coconut oil. These provide the optimum balance of saturated and unsaturated fats to support your dog’s best health with an Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio of 1.89:1
(click on each ingredient to see the health benefits they offer your dog)
The number 1 thing we can do for our dogs is giving them food that enables their body and mind to flourish.
Much like us, the healthier your dog’s lifestyle, the more likely they’ll be able to fight off any disease or infection. Often the food we feed our dogs is not doing them justice. It’s filled with artificial flavours, low-quality protein sources, and not enough fibre.
Bonza is a Veterinary nutritionist -developed food that is a balanced, varied protein, high fibre source of complete nutrition. Our food is full of healthy fats that together with PhytoPlus®, a proprietary blend of superfoods, super herbs and botanicals, help to fight off disease, increase immunity, support skin and coat condition, reduce risk of inflammation, support brain health and joints and mobility.
Bonza. Nose to Tail Good Health.