Fish Oil Supplement
Feeding your cat a high quality diet is important for many reasons, including maintaining health and strengthening the immune system. As with humans, research has also shown that fatty acids are essential in a pet's diet. There are two main types of "essential fatty acids": Omega-3 and Omega-6 and they are not the same nor do they provide the same benefits. For the purpose of this article, we are only discussing Omega-3 fatty acids including: ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and their particular benefits. Omega-3 belongs to a group of fatty acids known as "long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids". Research into certain benefits of Omega-3's in humans can be contradictory and much more research is needed, however, it never hurts to try something new.
An Omega-3 supplement may benefit a cat (or dog) in the following ways:
Allergies and Auto-Immune Issues
Dull and Dry Hair / Coats
Plasma Triglycerides and Cholesterol
Risks and Side Effects
There seems to be very few side effects of fatty acid supplementation. However, a rare, but serious, complication is pancreatitis which is an inflammation of the pancreas causing pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. (This could be due to abruptly adding a supplement to the pet's diet – just as with any food change, adding something new should be done over a few weeks' time, little by little to avoid gastric upset.)
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, therefore, they do represent added calories so watch your pet's weight. A bit less food and fewer treats may be needed to offset the calories contained in a fatty acid supplement. Occasionally, a pet may develop diarrhea from the addition of a supplement (as with any sudden change in a pet's diet), therefore, a supplement should be started at a low dose and gradually increased to the therapeutic dose to help alleviate this problem.