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The benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids...

Sara Lloyd discovered fish oils for dogs after her Miniature Schnauzer Henry had been diagnosed with cancer. At first he had responded well to the chemotherapy but later, when it failed, he would be ill for weeks at a time following treatment. Sara  knew that she had to find another way to help him. And then she read an article in the American agility magazine Clean Run.

Henry had been diagnosed with Lymphoma in October 2005, and at first responded well to chemotherapy. He had a good six months in remission. His next  course of Chemo didnít go so well and he became quite ill and very depressed. The vet advised us to give him one more shot at the chemo, but within 20 minutes he was really ill and ended up on a drip for three days. We could no longer continue with the chemo as he had no quality of life.

At the time. I was a subscriber to the American agility magazine Clean Run where I came across an article on fish oil for dogs entitled The 5 Supplements Every Dog Needs - Part 2 (January 2006) where salmon oil was regarded as the second most important supplement for dogs.

I was already interested in the effects of salmon oil and Omega 3 & 6 as I was taking them myself for the various health problems. I knew that Omega 6 fatty acids are naturally found in grains, and other plants and animal-based fat sources. The normal dog's diet is rich in these oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils and flaxseed oil. Unlike humans, dogs lack the enzymes necessary to obtain it from flax seed oil.

I had already done quite a bit of research into the types of oil and the ways different manufacturing methods affected it, so I was fully aware that not all oils were the same. The Grizzly Salmon Oil, recommended in the article, seemed even better than the oil I was taking which, I might add, was rather expensive!

Research indicated that salmon oil can increase the survival time of cancer patients by 30-50% and it can increase the length of remission for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

We decided to start all our dogs on it, not just Henry.
Two of our dogs compete in agility, and the first thing I noticed with the agility dogs is they ate their food! They have a specialist food for performance dogs, and will not eat it dry. I was making a special chicken stock for them twice a week but then they would go off it! No problems with the fish oil though, and it was easier for me, too! We also put Henry on a low carb diet with Grizzly Fish Oil Supplement as I had read that if can increase the survival time of cancer patients by 30% - 50% and can increase the length of remission. 

Henry came to agility training and loved it, especially the contacts. He also competed at an Agility Addicts show and got a clear round! He was half bald from the chemo. The hair never completely grew back and had sterile cystitis another problem he was left with from the chemo, but we do believe that the salmon oil supported him through cancer treatment as it really takes its toll on the body. Without the salmon oil, I believe he would not have survived nearly as long and in as good a health as he enjoyed.

Henry died in April this year, 18 months after being diagnosed. He'd gone for seven months without treatment and, I have to say, until the last three days when he went downhill quite quickly, he was in considerable good health.

Then in May this year I found myself with two - think I must have forgotten to take my salmon oil, my brain must have been starved -  Miniature Schnauzers puppies. I have started them both on salmon oil, because DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid found in high potency natural salmon oils such as Grizzle has been shown to improve learning in puppies. They love it though I am not sure how much gets absorbed into those beards as they gobble up their food! I am hoping they give me many years of fun in agility.

The 5 Supplements Every Dogs Needs (Part 2)
Clean Run (January 2006)

Because of the recent research on EFAís, some pet food companies are supplementing certain select diets with fish oil. This is a step in the right direction. The effectiveness of this new development is questionable though because due to their chemical structure, EFAís are inherently unstable and reactive. This means that they easily oxide (go rancid).

In fact, EFAís are rendered useless by exposure to heat, light, and air.  So, even if there are plenty of EFAís in the food to begin with, if it withstands processing and sitting around on the store shelf, as soon as you open the bag and expose the food to air, EFAís begin to deactivate. For this reason, I prefer that my patients be supplemented with fish oil that can be properly stored and applied to the food, fresh with each meal.

It is important to carefully research any fish oil supplement to see how it is harvested, packaged, preserved, and tested. To maintain the integrity of the EFAís the oil must be processed with as little exposure to heat, air and light as possible. Also, because fish can be a source of mercury and other toxins, it is imperative that the fish used come form unpolluted waters and that testing is done on the oil to ensure purity.

My fish oil supplement of choice is Grizzly Salmon Oil. This supplement meets the above requirements and has stood the test of time, helping many patients at my office regain health.

By Douglas Knueven DVM

Reprinted with the permission of Clean Run Productions LLC,

Research has also bee done into the effects of salmon oil and inflammation of both the skin and the joints.  It has been found that salmon oil can prevent or reduce the development of some of these conditions. Supplementing your performance dog's diet with Omega-3 fatty acids will support joint function as well as overall wellness.

In a study done by Hill's Science Diet Company one group of arthritic dogs were fed a regular diet while a second arthritic group were fed a diet with a large increase in Omega-3 fatty acids. At the end of the six month trial, the dogs fed the Omega -3 fatty acids showed improvement in their ability to raise from lying down and a decrease in overall lameness.

  • Salmon oil can help heart health and can help support normal heart rhythm.

  • Healthy Immune System: helps supports immune function

  • General vitality: helps support the nervous system

  • Skin health: helps support coat and can help reduce shedding and combats dry skin

The research done into fish oil and cognitive function is well publicised, and shows great results, if it can improve schizophrenia in humans, then I think there is hope for a border collie!

To find out more about Grizzly Salmon Oil and how to get it, visit:

About the author...
Sara Lloyd  entered her first Agility competition with my little collie Menna in Oct 2005 after being talked into it by a friend at training. She did quite well despite her nerves and got 7th place.

Having thought, she had no competitiveness in her at all, after a couple of years of competing in mountain bike racing and always 'bottling it' she was so amazed that she did it and didnít keel over and die with nerves!Sara competed in her first KC show at Dashin' Dogs in Easter 2006 and got two top ten placings. Then she won out of Elementary at Cartmel. She claims that by some 'unfortunate force of nature,' she has some how ended up in Grade 6! There were various occasions where she was sure pigs must have taken flight somewhere as, she claims to be of the steady variety rather than fast!

Sara also has a sweet - at least she is at home - rescue lab X called Brie who competes a Grade 3. If she is feeling in the mood, can also do quite well. If she could find the speed she uses when chasing a rabbit to run at agility, then Sara is sure they would come home with a lot more rosettes! Finally, her new recruits are Milo and Darcy (or Díarcy as a member at our club likes to call him, and she admits is very arsy!)

First published 8 August 2007


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