Sources of Fat in Dog Food

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imageJust as protein is a crucial component to a dog’s diet, so too is fat, which provides many health benefits as we discussed last week. Talking about fat may not be too “Tasty”, but it is important. So, today we will look at some of the more common sources of fat in commercial dog food products.

The building blocks of fats are fatty acids, some of which dogs require in their diet because their body cannot make them. These are called essential fatty acids and are divided into two groups, the omega-3 and the omega-6 fatty acids.

The Good

Like protein, the fat component of commercial dog food should come from named sources. Below is a list of higher quality fat sources in dog food. You will notice that you can recognize the exact source of each of these.

  • chicken fat
  • herring oil
  • canola oil
  • sunflower oil
  • safflower oil
  • flax oil
  • beef fat
  • lamb fat
  • pork fat

In addition, high quality sources of Omega 3 fatty acids include:

  • flaxseed
  • salmon
  • whitefish
  • herring
  • anchovy
  • sardine
  • menhaden

The Bad

Lower quality, questionable sources of fat are of ‘unnamed’ sources including:

  • animal fat
  • poultry fat
  • vegetable oil
  • mineral oil
  • beef tallow
  • lard

The Ugly

That list looks scary. Let’s take a look at animal fat. According to AAFCO, here is the definition of animal fat:

Animal fat is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering.

The issue with animal fat is that we really don’t know where it comes from. It could be from by-products (which we have written about in the past), slaughterhouse waste, dead or diseased farm animals, and worse (you don’t want to know). Not very appetizing is it? Enough said.

dog fish

Fish is excellent source of fat for dogs

You will notice that fish can provide a rich source of fat (and protein) as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Did you know that there was study done in 2008 that suggested that wolves (dog ancestors) would prefer salmon to other protein sources if it was made available in the wild? I think those wolves are on to something. You can read the article here:

We are big believers in including fish in our dog’s diet – and our own diets– due to the many benefits of omega-3’s including:

  • Improving the coat and skin.
  • Reducing inflammation which can markedly help with arthritis and keep your dog moving about pain free as they age.
  • Regulating the immune system.
  • Improving cognitive function in older dogs.
  • Lowering blood pressure.

We use fish oil supplements in conjunction with a diet that includes fish based food and treat formulas to ensure that our dog’s are getting their omega-3s.



How to Judge the Quality of Animal Fat in Any Dog Food

We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

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  1. Great post!
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Orijen Dog Treats from Product ReviewMy Profile

  2. Oops. The previous post was directed to another blog – my apologies!

    Like your breakdown of the Good & the Bad & the Ugly. Great Info here & simplifying it to help make sense of all those ingredients.

  3. Mom says that whole food issue is a giant maze. Our vet friend with a PhD in dog nutrition advised us on which food to eat last time she was here, otherwise for the average dog it is hard to really figure out.
    emma recently posted…Making The Move | GBGVMy Profile

    • I agree Emma. We’re trying to decipher some of it, but it’s still a lot to absorb…and you can’t really ask the dogs how certain foods make them feel!

  4. I’ve been learning so much about the components in my dog’s food and I know my awareness is contributing to improving her health. Thank you for this info on fats.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…Learning about Life Through Frankie’s EyesMy Profile

  5. This is a great list and wonderful resource! I’ll be referring back to it. Thank you!
    Beagles and Bargains recently posted…Stumbling Upon Max & Ruffy’s TreatsMy Profile

  6. Great post! Ma is always trying to figure out what’s in my food and treats and it can be a bit confusing sometimes. My food is fish based; I love it and Ma says it has the right fats for me.
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…Trying NutriSource Treats on Tasty TuesdayMy Profile

  7. Is that a photo of a fish having a conversation with a dog? Way cool.

    I need to pay more attention to what I eat. It’s effecting what I see, evidently.
    Flea recently posted…JNC Rib Roller – An Extraordinary TreatMy Profile

    • BOL…You aren’t seeing things, they are talking about how good fish is for dogs!

  8. I haven’t taken a close look at the fat sources in dog food but I am assuming that if the food has a high-quality protein source it also uses a similar quality for the fat source. Might I be wrong?
    Jessica recently posted…Dreaming of a Cross-country Bike TripMy Profile

    • Great question. I don’t know the answer! We haven’t done any analysis on this but it is something that we will look at for sure.

  9. Great information to know and must remember. I eat lots of FISH one reason my coat looks great. Golden Thanks for sharing. Golden Woofs!
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Need Gardening Help?My Profile

    • That fish based diet works wonders for you Sugar. You always look great, happy and healthy!

  10. i Just love this blog and the blog post also. Keep writing for the same.

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