We examined the effect of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deficiency during development on sodium appetite. Being raised on an ω-3 PUFA deficient diet increased the intake of 0.5M NaCl following furosemide-induced sodium depletion by 40%. This occurred regardless of the diet they were maintained on later in life, and the increased consumption persisted for 3 days. In a second study, animals were administered furosemide and low-dose captopril. Sodium consumption of deficient raised animals was again higher than that of the control raised. Fos immunoreactivity in brain areas associated with sodium appetite and excretion were not influenced by diet. Our findings indicate that inadequate dietary ω-3 PUFA during development results in an exaggerated sodium appetite later in life.