The effects of dietary fatty acids on serum and cutaneous fatty acids of healthy dogs were evaluated under controlled conditions. Beagle puppies (n = 12) were fed a standard diet supplemented with sunflower oil (group A), olive oil (group B) or no supplementation (group C) for 12 weeks. There were no significant differences in food intake or growth rates between the three groups. Dogs in group A had significant increases (P < 0·05) in serum 18:2n6 (linoleic acid) and 20:3n6 (dihomogamma-linolenic acid), and cutaneous 18:2n6 with significant decreases in serum 20:4n6 (arachidonic acid) and cutaneous 18:1n9 (oleic acid) and 18:30 (alpha-linolenic acid). Dogs in group B had significant increases in serum 18:10, 20:3n6 and cutaneous 18:10 with decreases in serum 20:4n6, 22:4n6, 22:50 and 22:5n6, and cutaneous 18:2n6, 18:3n3 and 20:4n6. There were no significant changes in serum or cutaneous fatty acids for the dogs in group C. This study demonstrates that fatty acid supplements can be used to alter the serum and cutaneous fatty acid compositions of dogs.
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