Fats provide the most concentrated source of energy in the dog's diet. They also supply the fatty acids that are building blocks for important substances and essential for maintaining normal, healthy cells. Along with protein, fats contribute to a diet’s palatability, plus aid the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K. Fats are either unsaturated, or saturated fats. Animal-based fats, which are the most important sources of fatty acids, are usually saturated. Plant-based fats are usually unsaturated.
The most well-known omega fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6, which can be found in many common food sources, like vegetable oils and fish. You can find the more rare omega-7 and omega-9-fatty acids for example in sea buckthorn berries.
Like protein’s essential amino acids, fat has its own essential fatty acids (EFAs). The fatty acids can be divided into different types and sub-types. The only real essential fatty acid for dogs is omega-6 Linoleic acid (LA), because the dog's body isn't able to produce LA by itself. Therefore LA has to be yielded from food. From Linoleic acid, the dog's body can produce other fatty acids, like omega-3 Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-6 Aracidonic acid (AA).
The most common omega-3-fatty acids are ALA, Icosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are mainly found in fatty seafood, like shellfish, salmon, mackaerel and herring. ALA can be found for example in nuts and vegetable oils. ALA can be metabolized into EPA and further DHA.
A dog's body is around 80 percent water, just like us humans. Water is crucial for e.g. healthy metabolism and body temperature regulation. If a dog's body loses 2 - 5 % of its water, the operational functions begin to deteriorate. This scenario can happen for example in hot summer days, or when the dog is working intensely and doesn't drink enough or refuses to drink due to an illness. A loss of over 20 % of the body's water content can cause sever complications or even death. Therefore, it is critical to always ensure that there is fresh water available to your dog at all times.