Corn and canola oils are excellent oil choices for homemade dog food. For many reasons, some dog owners prefer to use other sources for fat. Unfortunately, there are few oils that meet the necessary fat requirements for dogs. Soybean oil is the exception. The combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fats in soybean oil makes it a good oil alternative for homemade diets.
Necessary Fatty Acids for Dogs
Dogs have a daily requirement for 2 major fatty acid groups. They need the omega-6 fat called linoleic acid and the omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid. Soybean oil contains both fatty acids. Like, corn and canola oil, these acids are in a preformed condition. This means they are in the chemical form that the body needs without any modification.
This is not true of oils like flaxseed, palm, cottonseed, olive or sunflower which must be converted to usable fats. Fat conversion is the most inefficient cell function. The actual amounts of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids converted from these other oils cannot be determined.
Soybean oil contains about the same amount of linoleic acid as corn oil and only slightly less alpha-linolenic than canola oil. When compared to the combination corn/canola oil, soybean oil has twice as much linoleic acid and about the same amount of alpha-linolenic acid. This makes soybean oil perfect for dogs with chronic pancreatitis that need less fat in their diet. The fat content of a recipe could be reduced by one-third if soybean oil were substituted for corn/canola oil.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN