Flaxseed and Dogs?
Flaxseed and Dogs? Can I give Flaxseed for dogs?
I've just been reading on another dog health website that Flax is not a good way of getting Omega 3 for dogs, as they lack the ability to convert Flax into ALA to EPA and DHA. It said that instead, it was better to give them fish oils.
Do you know if there's any truth to this please?
Hi Sally, This is an excellent question and one that is debated quite a bit. We actually get this question for both pets and humans!
First, I will give you a quick answer and then after that, I will go into more details.
Flaxseed and Dogs... In a Nutshell
A lot of the information that claims flax Omega 3 oil isn't beneficial comes from research that was funded by... guess who? Fish oil companies and it is information that is widely marketed by fish oil companies. Surprise! Surprise! ALA Does Convert to EPA + DHA
The truth is that Flax ALA Omega 3 will convert to EPA and DHA in healthy people and pets! The only time that there is evidence of ALA having difficulty converting to DHA and EPA is when a person or pet has chronic illnesses, is very elderly and/or is very sick. Here is the True Test for Flaxseed and Dogs:
When pets and people eat gourmet golden flax seed and if they have health improvements and changes that are in direct parallel to adding flax to the diet...
~then there is obviously some ability that the body has to convert what it needs from flax to provide nutrition and help with healing!Proof
We have heard many stories from our customers who are pet owners. Many tell us that their dogs, cats, and even horses coats are shiny, thicker and healthier looking after eating flax.
We have been told that flaxseed for dogs with arthritis helps the dogs move better and they seem to have less pain.
These results would not be possible if the body could not convert AHA to DHA and EPA. Other Benefits of Flax
Also... flaxseed has more benefits that just Omega 3 oil. Ground flax seed has fiber, protein, flax hull lignans as well as Omega 3. Read more about all the healthy benefits of flaxseed and dogs
In order to get the flax oil (or fish oil), the flax has to be squeezed and the oil separated. This oil is very fragile and if it is heated up at all in this process or during storage... it can go rancid and then your pet is eating rotting flax that will not have health benefits.
...Always make sure your flax oil tastes good, smells good and doesn't have a bitter aftertaste!
Flaxseed for dogs? -The Longer Answer
Yes, Flaxseed and dogs is very beneficial... However, this is the longer answer because this question is complicated. It is so complicated because of contradicting studies and due to the large proliferation of information from Fish Oil Companies that obviously advocate for Fish Oil.
Here are 3 arguments for Flaxseed and dogs:
1. Health Benefits of Flaxseed for Dogs
First of all, I know many people that feed their dogs ground flax seed and/or flax oil and I hear many raving reviews for how shiny their dog's coat is among other health benefits, including arthritis.
I am a strong advocate for testing these theories.
If it ain't broke... We don't need to test to see if a parachute is able to keep a person from falling straight to the ground... we know they work because they've been proven through experience! The same with flaxseed for dogs.
If there was huge money to be made in flax, I guarantee you that everyone would be doing research on it. However, at ~$5 for a month supply, no one is going to be shelling out big money to test research on flax any time soon.
Flaxseed and dogs- this is a very economical test you can do for your dog's health.
2. Fish Oil vs Flax Oil
Second, it is really important to note that there is exponentially more information out there on fish oil and its benefits. A contributing reason for this is that fish and fish oil are far more profitable. Is fish oil good for you and your pet?
As long as you spend the money to buy the quality fish oil that does not have mercury and toxins and hopefully isn't from farmed fish.
I eat Wild Salmon from an Alaskan fisherman from the Farmer's Market ...but it is not cheap! Neither is the quality fish oil that is available.
3. Can Flax ALA be converted to EPA/DHA?
Third, and the most difficult question. Can Flax ALA be converted to EPA and DHA? This is a question that many people ask for humans as well as pets.
There is actually research that has been done that says it CAN
be converted and other studies that say it cannot
In my research on this issue, I discovered that the fish oil companies that were stating that flax omega 3 ALA cannot be converted to EPA and DHA were referencing studies that had been funded by the Fish Oil companies.
Since these studies have been contradicted by other studies, I am dubious about the claims fish oil companies make. Who would Spend $ to Research Flax?
The real problem is that there are not enough studies done on healthy foods -and the likely reason is because pharmaceutical companies and big businesses cannot make massive amounts of money off something we could grow in our backyard!Do Your Own Research Study...
So, knowing that there are contradicting studies and also knowing that there are many pets that have benefited from flaxseed, I have to advise you to do your own study with flaxseed and dogs and find what works best for you.
Let me add a couple other thoughts to that...
If your pet is Elderly or Sick
1. If your dog is elderly and/or very sick, then it may be advisable to add a digestive enzymes supplement containing desaturase and elongase when you give your dog flaxseed oil. These digestive enzymes help to be sure the body properly converts the ALA to EPA and DHA, and all the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids will be available to your dog.
Eat the Entire Seed -Flax Ground Cold Milled
2. I am a big advocate of eating local, eating as close the source as you can, and eating foods as whole as possible. So, I recommend that pets and people eat the whole flax seed -ground cold milled, of course! (I DO eat flax oil on salads, in smoothies, etc...) however, I really recommend that most people and pets get some ground flax seed in their diets -the health benefits are powerful!
The reason is I recommend eating all the parts of a flax seed is for all the OTHER healthy flax benefits
that are available in flaxseed: -Flax Fiber:
Soluble, insoluble, mucilage flax fiber -these gentle, healing and cleansing fibers in flax seed help prevent digestive illnesses, which triggers a domino effect of health through the body... (if the digestive system is backed up, toxins, cholesterol and waste sits there making the body sicker.-Flax Hull Lignans:
Lignans are found in the hull of flax and have powerful anti-inflammatory as well as anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-fungal health benefits.-Protein:
Protein that comes from a vegetarian source is sometimes difficult to find. Flax is an excellent plant source of protein.
...and of course the Omega 3 (the oil that has not been squeezed from the rest of the flax seed and all the other good stuff! :)Good Luck Sally
, in your pursuits of better health for your lucky dog!
I would love to hear back from you if you test this out ~or if anyone else does!
Here's to your health!~Ellie