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Does Your Dog or Cat Need Fish in Their Diet?

Does Your Dog or Cat Need Fish in Their Diet?

Feed your pet better! Incorporating healthy fish into your pet’s diet, whether through their main meal or through single ingredient treats, can up-level your pet’s health. Why? Let’s dig into the reasons dogs and cats need fish!

Three nutrients--carbs, fats, and protein--make up everything we eat. Unlike vitamins and minerals--also nutrients we all need--carbs, fats, and protein provide the body with energy by way of calories. But, as we know, not all calories are created equal. A margarita has calories but no nutrition. The trick is combining those basic nutrients into foods that nourish the body while providing caloric energy.

The same rules apply to our pets.

That’s where fish comes in! Fish delivers key nutrients to support your pet’s overall health without adding junky calories.

Healthy Fats

Some fat is needed for good nutrition, but too much or too much unhealthy fat can work against your pet’s overall wellness and longevity. Feed your dog and cat the unsaturated fatty acids that come from fish. It provides the fuel to keep them active and helps absorb vitamins and insulate the nervous system. Healthy fat also keeps your pet’s skin and coat healthy.

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats required for growth and development. Those key fats help with brain and eye development, body function, and may prevent all kinds of diseases: “There is a lot of interest in the use of fish oil because of potential benefits for dogs and cats from omega-3 fatty acids, including helping to ease joint pain, heart disease, and kidney disease, for example,” according to Clinical Nutrition Services at Tufts.

High-Quality Protein

Fish packs a powerful protein punch. “Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits. White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the ‘good’ fats,” says the Environmental Defense Fund. What does this mean for our pets? The high-quality protein in fish gives your dog or cat energy with a bunch of other benefits. Plus, the AKC suggests for dogs with a chicken allergy--a common protein allergy--fish is often a healthy alternative protein.

Fish for Cats and Dogs

Fish provides super healthy nutrients while also not having unhealthy components. For example, beef delivers protein but also includes omega-6 fatty acids, an unhealthy fat. Likewise, fish is chock-full of healthy fats and quality proteins without carbs. While some healthy carbs are necessary for overall well being, we often feed our pets too many, so fish can help regulate that carb-heavy intake.

Ultimately, fatty fish are ranked among the healthiest fish to choose because they’re highest in those healthy-fat-based nutrients. Those fish include salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel. Salmon, sardines, and trout are extra-good choices, too, because they’re low in mercury. For your pet, look for sustainably fished, single-ingredient treats to deliver the goods without any unnecessary added junk. If your dog or cat eats a special diet, be sure to check with your vet before starting your pet on fish.

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