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Essential Fatty Acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat and some are essential, meaning the body is unable to produce them so they must be obtained through the diet.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids provide energy and aid in fat-soluble vitamin absorption and all dogs and cats rely on dietary Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a variety of functions, including vision and brain development, circulatory health, immunity, and skin and coat health.

Quality of Fatty Acids

Good sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in wild-caught fish and seafood, and free-range grass-fed, grass-finished meat protein. Animals that are grass-fed and grass-finished retain twice the level of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, compared to grain-fed animals. All meat used in ZIWI® Peak recipes comes from New Zealand grass-fed and finished, free-range animals, sustainably sourced and ethically managed.

All ZIWI® Peak recipes contain 3% whole New Zealand Green Mussel which is a rich natural source of Omega fatty acids.  ZIWI® also offers a Blue Mackerel recipe which contains naturally higher levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

About Omega-6

The Omega-6 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA). LA is essential for both dogs and cats, whereas arachidonic acid is essential only for cats. Cats require AA due to the lack of delta-6 desaturase, an enzyme required for internal conversion of LA to the longer and more unsaturated fatty acid AA. Deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids can cause skin and coat abnormalities, and reproductive problems.

About Omega-3

The Omega-3 essential fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found primarily in marine sources, including fish oil as well as phytoplankton and other marine plants.

As a result of the poor conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA, the National Research Council (NRC) lists dietary requirements for EPA and DHA for both dogs and cats. However, requirements vary among different life stages; for example, growing puppies and kittens require more DHA than adult dogs and cats. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may result in neurologic abnormalities, such as decreased visual acuity.

All of ZIWI’s recipes meet or exceed the suggested essential fatty acids requirements of AAFCO and the NRC. You can find the full Typical Analysis of all our recipes at

Sources to reference

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