Fish oils...a contrarian view, and alternatives

Reasons to not use fish oil

There is much evidence for the substantial benefits of Omega-3 in the canine diet.
• Reduce inflammation
• Help fight heart disease and cancer
• Regulate cell activity and healthy cardiovascular function
• Improve brain function and normal eye health
• prevent and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Traditionally, many owners use fish oil as a source of Omega-3. But recent research should make us question whether reliance on processed fish oils is the best solution.

1. Fish Oil Can Cause Disease And Premature Aging – oxidative stress.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are extremely vulnerable to oxidative damage.
When these fat particles are exposed to oxygen (this is called oxidation), they break down into smaller compounds, like malondialdehyde (MDA), and they create oxygen-containing molecules called free radicals. Both MDA and free radicals cause premature aging and disease because they damage proteins, DNA, and other important cellular structures.

This damage is called oxidative stress and it leads to health problems, including gene mutations and cancer, and inflammatory conditions
Most fish oil will be already oxidized before you even buy it.

2. Fish Oil Contains Toxins

Although the fats stored in fish are nicely loaded with omega-3s, fat is also where toxins are stored. And our oceans are becoming more and more polluted with heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

Heavy metals can cause nervous system dysfunction, blindness, certain cancers, irreversible liver and kidney damage and even death.

Along with heavy metals, there are other toxic compounds that accumulate in fish. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned in 1979 but they’re still found in the oceans and in fish. They can cause skin problems, muscle spasms, bronchitis and nervous system disorders.

Dioxins and furans have been linked to a number of adverse health effects including skin, liver and immune system problems, endocrine and reproductive disruptions and the development of certain cancers. This is especially a concern for young dogs.

Now almost any fish oil manufacturer will tell you their product is free of the above toxins … but independent lab analyses may say otherwise. So it’s essential to ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the manufacturer before you buy any fish oil.

3. You Could Be Feeding Your Dog Radiation

In 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a tsunami and its reactors melted down, causing radioactive water to seep into the Pacific ocean. Every day, 300 tons of this radioactive water still seeps into the ocean.

Today, the radiation has hit the west coast of North America and has contaminated most marine life. Fish on the west coast, including the salmon commonly used for fish oil, are testing positive for radioactive particles, such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-90.

If your dog eats affected fish oil from Pacific fish, radioactive strontium and cesium can deposit in his bone marrow, where it can cause bone cancer and leukemia.

Fish oil manufacturers are testing their products for safety, but again, you’ll want a COA if you insist on feeding fish oil.

4. Your Dog’s Fish Oil Is Killing The Ocean

Nearly all fish oils are made from fish that are vacuumed up from the oceans. These fish are caught by nets and a by-product of fisheries is something called by-catch. This is the term given to sea creatures that are accidentally caught in the fishermen’s nets, such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles.

It’s estimated that fishery nets kills 300,000 whales, porpoises and dolphins each year – and from 1970 to 2012, their numbers have halved.

Menhaden fish is one of the most sought-after fish for omega-3 fats – and it’s commonly used for pet foods. The menhaden fish are important to the ocean because they eat algae blooms and this keeps the ocean waters clean and full of oxygen. An adult menhaden can filter 5,760 gallons of water in one day and this filtration allows sunlight to penetrate the water and allows aquatic plant life to grow and support the entire ocean.

But it’s estimated that half a billion menhaden are fished from our oceans every year and the oceans are now developing dead zones – which are areas with a lack of oxygen. The fertilizers that are used to make our foods run off into the oceans and create these algae blooms – and without the menhaden fish, theses algae blooms are killing our oceans.

Alternatives to Fish oil......

A simple fish recipe for your dog – try this once a week.
I hope you’re starting to see that your dog doesn’t need fish oil … but the oceans do!

Whole fish is a great addition to the diet. It is high in Omega-3 fats, and contains many important minerals and trace minerals like calcium, selenium and niacin, and is protein rich.

This is a healthy treat that your dog will really enjoy. It’s packed full of Omega-3s your dog needs. And it’s a great way to get greens in too.

Use small fish that only feed on phytoplankton, not fish that eat other fish, because they’ll contain more toxins, so ideal are anchovies and sardines for dogs.
If you’re looking for a way to add fish to your dog’s diet, start with sardines (or any small fish). This is a great recipe...
• 1 small tin of sardines in spring water
• 2 eggs
• A handful of whatever greens you want (combine them or just use one – and change them up):
o Nettles
o Spinach
o Kale
o Dandelion greens
o Spirulina
Lightly steam the greens. (. For the spirulina, grind it with a pestle and mortar.)
You can also add turmeric or any herbs you want to include. Powdered herbs are great for this recipe.
Mix the ingredients together, and feed raw or after a light bake.