The movement by dog owners and concerned breeders to provide their dogs with the highest quality and most nutritious dog food, has led to a gradual return to natural type ingredients for use in animal feeds by the large dog food manufactures. As this group of ultimate consumers has become more educated about what goes into their pet's daily diet, they have become more discriminating about their choices of the brands on the market. This in effect has forced the commercial dog food manufactures to also be more responsible and more selective in their formulations.
In the past, the major ingredient in dry foods was typically whatever grains had the largest surplus harvest. Traditionally, corn has been the number 1 surplus commodity on the harvested grain market, so it was not surprising to see on any list of dog food ingredients, that corn was the first item on the ingredient list. While corn is an excellent source of many nutrients, too many of the dog food companies relied excessively on this very inexpensive feed source as their main ingredient and with some brands corn comprised 90% of the ingredients for their formulations.
Things have changed for the good for our dogs, as the demand for a better, more nutritious diet has forced the dog food companies to provide a more natural, more diversified, higher quality formula for our dogs. With this renewed interest in quality, some of the specialty grains have been targeted as outstanding sources as ingredients in the formulation in commercial dog foods.
Flaxseed is receiving a lot of attention for many reasons. While other plant seed sources like corn, sunflower, peanuts and others are great sources for the polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-6, flaxseed is one of a few vegetable sources that contain the essential fatty acid (EFA) omega-3.
Scientific studies concur about the health benefits for omega-3 fatty acids, which show that this type of fatty acid is required for infant growth and development. Other studies have shown that cholesterol is significantly lowered with the inclusion of flaxseed oil to the diet. New research also indicates that alpha-linolinic acid, one of the omega-3 fatty acids, aids greatly in the circulatory system and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Another beneficial side product of the omega-3 fatty acids is that it bolsters the autoimmune system and it's capacity to fend off immune disorders
Another major plus for the addition of flaxseed oil to animal feeds is the high fiber value that it contains. While most other whole grains contain large amounts of one type of fiber, flaxseed contains both soluble and non-soluble fiber. Recent studies have shown that both types of fiber found in flaxseed are very important in different areas, with the soluble fiber aiding in the circulatory system and the insoluble aiding in the digestive process.
All the components found in the flaxseed work together, creating a synergetic effect for the well being of animals in particular. In dogs, especially Labrador retrievers who need higher amounts of high quality, easily digestible sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the addition of flaxseed in the diet is apparent in increased activity, healthier coats and skin and in a higher resistance towards diseases.
FATTY ACID COMPOSITION OF FLAXSEED OIL
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid ..57%
Omega-6 EFA .16%
Omega-9 EFA .18%
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