Omega-3s are a family of health-bestowing fatty acids. In the family of omega-3s, the most powerful is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It’s a structural fat found in the brain. Then there’s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which seems to positively influence mood and behaviour. Also important, especially for the heart, is ALA (alpha linoleic acid).
Let me talk about ALA today. ALA can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, and the new kid on the block: Chia seeds.
Walnuts: There are actually some smart dogs that will themselves crack open walnuts and carefully extract the contents, discarding all the bad pieces. But in general the nuts should be crushed for the dogs (as they would get them in the intestines of their prey) and you must not give the shell and shell membrane.
Flaxseed: As Linseed must be prepared very carefully, I recommend to feed flaxseed oil. The drawback on the oil is that it has a very short shelf life. The very tough outer coat of flaxseed is entirely inedible and contains a harmful acid for dogs. I remember how we prepared flaxseed for horses when I was a child. Here is how to do it for dogs: Cover the seeds with water and soak them for at least 24 hours. Throw away the water. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes. Stir well to prevent burning. A fluid will build which possesses valuable ingredients, so don’t throw this away. Let all cool down before serving.
Chia: These seeds are an excellent source of very high quality protein. Chia seeds are gluten-free, and range in the middle in regards to the content of the valuable ALA. A true benefit is that one does not have to prepare them.
Target for a medium-sized dog: 1 tablespoon = 10 g