Linoleic acid is an essential polyunsaturated, omega-6 fat. In addition to being an excellent energy source and providing integrity and function of cell walls, linoleic acid provides an important role in skin health and maintaining the skin water barrier. Linoleic acid is also a precursor to important molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are important in regulating the body’s immune response, inflammatory reactions and skin cell activity. Adequate dietary levels of linoleic acid allow the maximum cell health and immune function. Corn oil has the greatest amount of preformed linoleic acid of any other grain or seed oil.
Linoleic acid can be converted from other types of polyunsaturated fats in the diet. The efficiency of this conversion varies with pet age, sex and health. Inefficient conversion requires larger amounts of fat in order to ensure the conversion to the required amount of linoleic acid. Providing preformed linoleic acid avoids possible conversion problems. Using corn oil maximizes preformed linoleic acid in the diet without adding unnecessary fat calories.
Substituting 2 teaspoons of corn oil for 2 teaspoons of other oils to every 1000 calories of homemade diets will provide the necessary daily amount of linoleic acid without adding any extra calories.
The fat quality in commercial dry dog food diminishes with the length of time that the bag is open. Adding ½ teaspoon of corn oil to every 3 cups of dry food (approximately 1000 calories) can help replenish lost linoleic acid while adding only 20 extra calories.
~Dr Ken Tudor
THE DOG DIETITIAN