Treating Allergies in Cats with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Allergies in cats are caused by a number of factors and new research shows that feline allergies can be treated with natural remedies such as supplements and omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids improve the cat's skin and can help to control the effect of allergens.

Symptoms of Allergies in Cats

Signs that your cat is suffering from allergies include:

  • itchy skin
  • chewing of the skin
  • licking
  • hair loss
  • skin lesions
  • runny nose
  • sensitive, twitching skin

Allergies in cats can be caused by an ingredient in their food, insect bites or something they inhale like pollen or dust. Food allergies can generally be easily relieved by eliminating the problem ingredient, which can include chicken, corn, soy or wheat, from your cat's diet. Inhalants are the most common cause of allergy symptoms and are more difficult to control. Omega-3 fatty acids provide relief for allergy symptoms by working affecting the skin and reducing the effect of allergens like pollen, grass, mites or fleas.

Using Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Treat Allergies

Omega-3 fatty acids are a necessary part of feline diets and cats cannot survive without them. Deficiencies in fatty acids result in dull, greasy coats, dry skin and poor immunity. A cat with the right amount of fatty acids in his diet will improve skin health and also reduce the effects of histamines and chemicals, which are released during allergic reactions. Fatty acids need to be given each day for at least a few weeks before any results will be noticeable. Some cats will not be helped with fatty acids while others experience effective relief of allergy symptoms.

Sources of Fatty Acids

Proper nutrition is essential to keep your cat healthy and active, and can even help prevent feline allergy symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in plant sources, animals such as fish, and the animals that eat these fish and plants. Your cat's diet should include these fatty acids and consist of high quality ingredients of mainly proteins and lower levels of carbohydrates. Fatty acids supplements are often recommended while also feeding your cat a diet low in fat. Talk with your veterinarian before changing your cat's diet.

Supplements are also available that provide omega-3 fatty acids for cats and can be very effective in fighting allergies. Supplements often contain fish oil or flaxseed oil as the source of omega-3's. Biotin is another supplement that works well with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce allergy symptoms in cats. Omega-6 and other fatty acids can worsen allergy symptoms, so any new supplements should be approved by your veterinarian, especially if your cat is taking any other medications or undergoing other medical treatments.

Potential Side Effects

Fatty acids generally have few side effects in cats. Some animals will experience diarrhea but this isn't common. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements should be stored correctly to prevent the fatty acids from breaking down. Always follow your veterinarian's dosage amounts and instructions on administering the supplements.