It is important to remember: genetics, nutrition, the environment, owner care, lifestyle and diseases influence the aging process. In cats, like in humans, nutrition is one of the major determinants of successful aging.
Omega-3 fatty acids are now generally recognized as potential key nutrients to prevent the pathological conditions associated with the aging process. They are potentially beneficial for optimal functions of the cardiovascular system. It is also becoming increasingly evident that long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids like DHA are neuro-protective with unique properties in affecting neurobiology. Intake of Omega-3 has also been associated with potential benefits in osteoarthritis, renal failure and various skin conditions. Finally, benefits may also be seen in regulation of the immune system especially for the two key features that are (1) immuno-senescence and (2) inflammaging.
The most beneficial omega-3 is generally thought to be docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is principally found in oily fish like salmon or tuna and microalgae from the phytoplankton. Fish obtain DHA from consuming algae. As there is an increasing concern about overfishing and its impact on biodiversity in the oceans, algae-derived DHA is a preferable and sustainable alternative source for our companion animals and their guardians. Depending on the severity of the arthritis we recommend a dose of 8 or 20 mg DHA per kg of body weight daily for the life of the cat.
Think your older cat is getting enough Omega-3 from their food? You might want to reconsider. The processing of commercial pet food actually renders DHA and EPA inactive, therefore no matter what you’re feeding your pet, unless you’re supplementing Omega-3 fatty acids daily, your companion probably is not getting the amount needed. For more information on plant-based Omega-3 DHA for your cat, please visit our Omega-3 page here.