Dietary fats are required to:
- supply energy: dietary fat provides the pet with 2.25 times more calories per weight unit than protein or carbohydrates
- aid absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A,D, E and K): dietary fat provides a physical environment in the gut that enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Dogs and cats need at least 1-2% dietary fat in their food to absorb fat-soluble vitamins
- supply essential fatty acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The essential fatty acids are needed:
- as constituents of cell membranes to maintain fluid membranes that allow passage of molecules
- for the synthesis of diverse, active substances in the body, i.e., prostaglandins
- to control water loss through the skin.