It’s no secret that adding fish to your dog’s diet has various health benefits. However, it has to be properly prepared and only certain fish are acceptable.
According to veterinarians, fish is not only delicious but can form the basis for a well-balanced and nutritious diet for your dog.
Here are the top five benefits of fish for dogs:
1. Nourishes the skin and coat
Fish is a bountiful source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help pups achieve a shiny and healthy-looking coat.
If a dog has certain skin conditions or allergies, fish also helps by reducing itchiness and rashes.
Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and is beneficial for dogs with joint pains and inflammatory bowel disease.
In addition, it keeps the lining of a dog’s nose healthy, which is essential for their sense of smell.
2. Promotes joint health
If prepared properly, a whole fish can be a great source of nutrition for your dog.
This is due to the mineral calcium commonly found in fish bones that benefits dogs by strengthening their bones and teeth besides helping with blood clotting.
Calcium also regulates muscle contractions and nerve function, keeps a steady heartbeat and helps maintain healthy joints and tendons.
Most fish are abundant in vitamin D that helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and in return, reduces the risk of heart complications.
3. Strengthens immunity
Vitamins and minerals are crucial to strengthen overall immunity, and is abundant in salmon and mackerel.
- Zinc: Helps produce new cells and enzymes, process carbohydrates, fat, and protein in dog food, and has wound healing properties.
- Vitamins B6, B12, and B13: Helps deconstruct and release energy from food, keeps the nervous system and skin healthy and helps form haemoglobin.
- Iron: Produces red blood cells that transport oxygen across the body thus keeping your pup active 24/7.
- Iodine: Produces thyroid hormones that keep your dog’s metabolic rate healthy.
- Selenium: Found in salmon and sardines and helps sustain cells and tissues.
4. A potential alternative for dogs with allergies
Fish as a protein source may work well for dogs with allergies and those prone to sickness, skin rashes, itching, ear infection, swelling, stomach ache, wind and diarrhoea.
Fish can also be a good alternative for dogs allergic to chicken, turkey or beef.
Since the protein source in fish is not commonly used in dog food, there is a possibility that the dog’s system won’t be able to recognise it as an allergen, therefore, minimising an allergic reaction.
The Omega-3 present in fish has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps counter inflammation caused by allergic reactions.
5. Enhances vision
Vitamin A sourced from salmons benefits dogs by slowing down age-related sight loss, and acts as an effective treatment for various eye diseases. It also promotes good vision in low light.
Another benefit is its ability to fend off illnesses and infections besides being especially beneficial for senior dogs as it doesn’t overburden their digestive system.
Fish also helps supplement loss of collagen in senior dogs, keeping them healthier and more active throughout the rest of their life.
Naturally, too much of anything is a bad thing, whether it be fish, kibbles or any type of food. It is important to have a well-balanced diet, a basic concept that doesn’t only apply to dogs but to humans as well.
That being said, always remember that when adding new food to your dog’s diet, you do so gradually.
As every dog is different, each owner has to consider certain factors when determining what diet will best suit their dog’s age, size, and lifestyle.
It may take some trial and error but the end-result will definitely be worth it.
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