Can feline and canine omega-3 fatty acid supplements be used interchangeably?

Original Question: Are feline omega-3 fatty acids interchangeable with canine omega-3? I use Ascenta omega-3 as a supplement. - Mary

Can feline and canine omega-3 fatty acid supplements be used interchangeably? Jul 24, 2017

Hi Mary,

Omega fatty acid supplementation is becoming more and more common in veterinary medicine. There is a multitude of scientific research that supports its benefits (in humans and pets) to support its use for joint, skin, heart and kidney diseases.  Most commercially available products are generally formulated from a mix of vegetables oils (providing linolenic acid) and fish oils (providing EPA -eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA- docosahexaenoic acid). While they share this same basic feature, there may be differences in the other ingredients such as flavouring (making it more appealing to cats vs. dogs) and the concentration (the amount of active ingredient per volume of solution), or perhaps the formulation (liquid vs. capsule).

More importantly, it is important to know that omega-3 are considered supplements and fall into the category we call “nutraceuticals.” This means that they are not subject to the same rigorous government approval process that pharmaceutical drugs would be. As such, we are less certain that any given product contains exactly what it claims to contain on the label. To avoid this, try to look for products that provide some evidence of quality control and potency. Evidence of research performed via independent organizations is another indicator of a higher quality product.

Please also be cautious with dosing. As each product can have a different concentration, do not assume that you can switch between products and give the same amount. There are potential adverse effects of omega fatty acids, including gastrointestinal upset and interference with platelet aggregation. When in doubt, consult with your veterinarian on how much of a specific omega fatty acid product to give your pet.

I hope this was helpful,

Dr. Kim Hester

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