What makes fish so valuable in our products?
Fish has very high-quality, highly digestible muscle meat. In principle, dogs can be fed all types of fish. However, each type has its own characteristics, especially with regard to fat and vitamin content. Fatty fish like the herring used in ICEPAW dry food, for example, are rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. While seawater fish are rich in iodine, for example, freshwater fish tend to be low in iodine.
Fish as a source of vitamin D
Unlike humans, dogs cannot produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D themselves. For this reason alone, it is very important that dogs get vitamin D from their food. Vitamin D is actually only found in very few foods, for example in some types of fish, in egg yolks and dairy products and in cod liver oil. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is mainly stored in the liver and fatty tissue. It plays a very important role in regulating bone metabolism, as vitamin D controls that calcium and phosphorus are absorbed and processed by the body as needed.
Types of fish with particularly high levels of vitamin D:
Fish as a supplier of omega-3 fatty acids
In addition to vitamin D, oily fish such as herring provide the valuable omega-3 fatty acids. As a rule of thumb, the fattier a fish and the colder its habitat, the more omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Omega-3 fatty acids are so-called essential fatty acids. This means that they are vital for the organism, but the body cannot synthesise them itself from other nutrients - the dog must absorb the substances from the food.
A distinction is made between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The dog takes in sufficient omega-6 fatty acids through the meaty components. However, to ensure that the dog also gets enough omega-3 fatty acids, the diet should be supplemented with a high-quality fish oil, such as ICEPAW cod oil, a rather low-fat oil, or ICEPAW salmon oil, a high-fat oil containing the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is very important to know that the ratio of the fatty acids to each other must be optimal. The higher the proportion of omega-3 fatty acids and the lower the proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, the more optimal the oil. Thus, a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 5:1 to a maximum of 10:1 should not be exceeded.
Here is an overview of the omega-3 fatty acids:
- Linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Linseed oil contains mainly linolenic acid, while fish oils such as salmon oil or cod oil contain mainly eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the organism and take over vital tasks in the body (anti-inflammatory, brain development, learning ability etc.). Most omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are contained in: Tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel and sardine.
Fish as a source of iodine
Fishes are a natural source of iodine. As a rule of thumb, one can remember: Sea fish have a significantly higher iodine content than seawater fish, as they already consume iodine-rich algae in their diet. Iodine plays an important role in thyroid function and thus in energy balance. The daily iodine requirement of an adult dog is about 15 µg per kg body weight. Puppies, young dogs, pregnant or lactating dogs need correspondingly more iodine. Iodine-rich fish: pollock, haddock and cod.
Be careful when feeding raw fish:
Some types of fish such as herring, anchovy or sprat contain thiaminases when raw, an enzyme called thiaminase which breaks down and destroys vitamin B1 - thiamine. This enzyme does not play a role in fish in a cooked state or in dry food. In fish, the exposure of sea fish to mercury is particularly problematic. Predatory fish such as tuna or swordfish can sometimes be heavily contaminated with mercury. With fish varieties such as herring, cod, pollock, hake or farmed fish, the heavy metal contamination is absolutely harmless.