Fish is an excellent source of nutrients needed to keep dogs healthy, which is fish is the most important ingredient in SPECIFIC veterinary diets.
- Fish is naturally rich in omega-3, essential unsaturated fatty acids that play a key role in coat and skin health, joint mobility, cardiac and kidney health, brain and eye development. They also promote a strong immune system
Fish contains the right type of omega-3 – the beneficial EPA and DHA forms of omega-3, which are not present in plant omega-3 and can only be obtained from fish and other marine sources
Fish is a well-balanced protein with the right mix of amino acids for the body’s protein needs
Fish protein is high quality, low in saturated fat and easily digested
Fish and other marine ingredients are packed with vitamins D and B2 (riboflavin) supporting bone formation, nerve and muscle control and promoting coat and skin health
Fish is a great source of minerals and trace elements including calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acidsadd
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are involved in many functions in the body including building healthy cells and maintaining brain and nerve function.
However the body is incapable of producing these and so they must be consumed in the diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids are available from a wide range of foods including most vegetable oils but also poultry, eggs, nuts and many cereals.
Omega-3 fatty acids can come from some vegetable sources such as flaxseed, or linseed oil and marine sources. However the Omega-3 from vegetable oil is not in the form the body needs. The beneficial form of Omega-3 is only found in marine sources.
Balance of omega-6 and omega-3add
It is important to balance the levels of Omega-6: Omega-3 in the diet to help manage the bodies inflammatory response.
Early man had a diet with equal amounts of Omega-6 and Omega-3. However the greater use of vegetable oils in modern diets gives a ratio of about 10:1 (omega-6: omega-3) compared to an ideal ratio of around 4:1. Clearly, in order to get closer to that proper ratio we need to ensure plenty of marine sourced Omega-3 in the diet.
Omega-6 and omega-3 produce eicosanoids (signalling molecules) with the eicosanoids from Omega-6 causing inflammation but not the ones from omega-3.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both use the same enzymes and pathways so a strong presence of omega-3 derived eicosanoids will block the production of inflammatory Omega-6 ones.
The health benefits of omega-3add
Brain and eye development: DHA omega-3 fatty acids are the main building blocks of the brain and retina and play an important role in building brain cell membranes and the promotion of new brain cell formation
Coat and skin condition: Omega-3 supports the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process helping to relieve the distressing itching. In addition, fish oils are involved in the production of sebum, an oily waxy substance
that lubricates the skin and coats the hair with a protective oily layer to give it a shine
Joint Mobility: Key to joint pain is degradation of the Cartilage. In a normal healthy body the ends of bones, where they meet at the joints, are coated with Cartilage, a smooth rubber like tissue. This cartilage protects the ends of the bones and provides shock absorption allowing for easy movement of the joints.
Cartilage is constantly broken down and replaced and, in a healthy body, the rate of rebuild matches that of breakdown.
However if the rate of rebuild is slowed, by factors such as old age, disease or genetics, or the rate of breakdown too high, as a result of factors such as vigorous exercise or excess weight, then the cartilage layer between the 2 bones is degraded allowing the ends of the bones to move over each other resulting in pain, irritation and inflammation.
By inhibiting the production of inflammatory eicosanoids Omega-3 from fish oils can help with the inflammation
Colitis: By supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes omega-3 can help maintain remission in ulcerative colitis – an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon
Cardiac health: High level of omega-3 fatty acids can support maintenance of lean body mass, appetite and normal cardiac rhythm
Urinary Crystals: Increased dietary fatty acids can lower the risk of urinary stones forming in cats
Fish and sustainabilityadd
All food production has an environmental cost but there are a number of advantages to fish
- Fewer methane emissions from fish – a major environmental impact of livestock farming
- Feed conversion ratios (the amount of food eaten by an animal relative to the amount of food produced by the animal) are better for fish.
- Fish are cold blooded so don’t use energy maintaining body temperature. In addition, fish are supported in water, meaning fish expend less energy moving and staying upright
- Fish don’t use valuable arable land
TO HELP REDUCE THE ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF FISH AT SPECIFIC WE:
- Only use caught fish from certified fisheries in our dry diets reducing the risks of overfishing
- Our salmon comes from highly regulated Scottish and Norwegian farms where use of hormones for growth promotion is banned and where strict rules on seabed pollution, cage size and stock density apply
We use a number of different sources and types of fish and marine ingredients in our diets.
Fish meal – a ground powder made from cooked fish providing a concentrated protein source. Our fish meal is made from various wild caught Atlantic white fish, mostly Blue Whiting.
Hydrolysed salmon protein – made from Norwegian and Scottish farmed salmon
Fish oil – Fish oil is a natural product and so will have variable amounts of EPA & DHA Omega-3. At SPECIFIC we use a specially blended fish oil made from cod liver oil and anchovy oil to ensure consistent and high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Krill – our newest ingredient - a superb source of omega-3, water soluble and present as phospholipids (rather than triglycerides) providing significantly improved bioavailability. Krill is also rich in astaxanthin and choline. Our krill comes from MSC certified sources.
Fresh sardine – used in some of our diets is a fresh whole MSC certified sardine caught off the Cornish coast by small boats using ring netting – a catch system that significantly reduces by-catch, fuel usage and seabed damage
Algae – not fish but aquatic plants and a rich source of omega-3. Algae provides a highly sustainable form of high quantities and consistentlevels of omega-3. Algae grow incredibly fast and can be grown on non-productive, non-arable land so use fewer environmental resources. It was a NASA programme, looking how to feed mars colonists, that drove the modern commercial algae production.