Due to their biological roles, omega 3 fatty acids are used in food for sports dogs, ageing cats and dogs, and animals suffering from chronic inflammatory disorders (osteoarthrosis, chronic renal failure, inflammatory diarrhoea, skin diseases).
Omega 3 fatty acids form a specific family in the class of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This family is derived from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid containing 18 carbon atoms and three double chemical bonds. Two other longer but very important fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are derived from ALA.
The essential functions of omega 3 fatty acids make them interesting in many respects :
Some vegetable oils (linseed, rapeseed, soy) contain a non-negligible quantity of EPA/DHA precursor ALA. EPA and DHA are only found in concentrated form in fish oil (the actual concentration differs according to the fish) and in algae.