- What are Antioxidants?
- What Do Antioxidants for Dogs Do?
- What Are The Best Antioxidants For Dogs?
- What foods contain a natural antioxidant supplement for dogs?
- How Can I Be Sure My Dog is Getting Enough Natural Antioxidants?
- DAILY ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS AND MORE
- What to Look For in Dog Supplements
- Strengthen Your Dog’s Defenses
Antioxidants are nature’s way of keeping the byproducts of your metabolism in check. Too few can cause major health issues, both chronic and acute, for humans and pets alike.
They are found by the handful in many plant foods, but you have likely also seen them on store shelves packed into pills or powders.
You may even have some in your kitchen cabinet right now.
You may have considered the idea that your pet needs to be eating better. Or maybe you are toying with the idea of supplementing his already healthy diet with something more, perhaps to boost his immune system or encourage birthing healthy puppies.
There are many products on the market that will convince you that they do just that: that they ensure optimal health for your dog.
But what does he really need? What will actually make the biggest difference? How can a dog's health needs utilize balanced supplements into their nutrition and dog food?
One answer is antioxidants.
What are Antioxidants?
It's easy to understand why we all think of antioxidants as some sort of special nutrient. Antioxidants are any substances that inhibit oxidation, which is the process by which oxygen breaks down food and other cellular material into smaller molecules. For this reason it seems like keeping free radicals at bay would be a good thing- but let me tell you about these pesky little guys...
The name 'free radical' refers to one type in particular - an atom or molecule with unpaired electrons on its outermost orbital level; they can cause damage when present in excessive amounts because they steal electrons from neighboring cells. It may seem strange for anything containing oxygen (which oxidizes) to have negative connotations associated with it, but there you go!
What Do Antioxidants for Dogs Do?
Your body is constantly working to maintain balance in all its systems, all the way down to its subatomic particles.
Essential metabolic processes constantly being performed in your cells often break oxygen molecules for use, which may leave an unpaired electron floating around your body. These electrons are called free radicals and too many can throw your body out of balance.
Your body needs free electrons to fight infection, so small numbers are helpful. Too many free radicals, however, can cause oxidative stress and can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and premature aging process. Long-term, oxidative stress can damage DNA and kill cells.
A multitude of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to excessive free radical formation:
- Air pollution
- Cigarette smoke
- Drug and alcohol usage
- Ingesting toxins and chemicals
- Intense and prolonged stress
- Long term or untreated bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
- Sustained high blood sugar levels
- Too much or too little oxygen in the body
- Too much fat or too much sugar in the body, or not enough fruits and vegetables
- Pesticide and insecticide residue
- Industrial chemicals
- poor nutrition
Free radicals can damage and deteriorate cells. Antioxidants stop the process before it has a chance to harm you or your pet.
Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body by inhibiting oxidation, which is the chemical reaction that releases the electron, turning it into a free radical.
There are two main types of antioxidants: water-soluble, which perform their functions on the inside and the outside of cells, and fat-soluble, which work primarily in the middle in the cell membrane. Both are essential to an optimal healthy immune system.
Your body creates its own antioxidants, such as glutathione, but the best way to fight free radicals is to consume foods high in antioxidants. Be advised, however: excessive intake of antioxidants, particularly of one single isolated type, can be just as harmful as a deficiency.
In humans, it is suggested that we eat a varied, well-balanced diet full of organic whole grains and produce. Dark chocolate, berries, coffee, green tea, and extra virgin olive oil are all popular food sources of antioxidants, as are many herbs and spices like turmeric. Red wine is often touted as an amazing source of antioxidants, and it is often made into tablets and sold as concentrated polyphenols for heart health.
But what about your dog? None of those choices are really safe for him. No responsible pet owner would pass their pooch a bowl of dark chocolate and coffee for the sake of eliminating free radicals.
Side note: your dog can NOT have grapes in any form. Raisins are out as well. Red wine may be a lovely drink for a human dinner party but keep it far from Fido.
Do your pets need antioxidants, too? You want them to be healthy and live as long and as well as they can, so it makes sense to ensure their bodies are in top running condition. Antioxidants can help especially when their pet food doesn't contain any.
There are several ways of ensuring your dog has adequate levels of antioxidants in his body. Supplements combining vitamins E and C, selenium, and beta carotene are popular options widely available in pet stores and online. They are also often added to commercial pet foods.
Any animal can benefit from antioxidants, but they can also help dramatically reduce the effects of chronic illness.
Ask your vet about introducing antioxidants if your dog:
- Struggles with arthritis
- Needs extra kidney function support
- Has digestive disorders or often experiences nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Has trouble breathing because of respiratory system disorders
- Gets sick a lot because of a depressed immune system
- Is obese or underweight
- Cannot sleep well, or does not recover quickly from athletic activity or injury
- Is prone to infections
- Has a family history of degenerative eye conditions
- Shows signs of poor dental health despite good hygiene
- Has a nervous system or neurodegenerative disorder
- Is pregnant or nursing, or you intend to breed your female dog several times
Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog anything. Make sure to mention any signs of illness before starting him on antioxidants.
What Are The Best Antioxidants For Dogs?
Now that you know the importance of antioxidants, it's time to find out what are the best options for your dog. Let’s take a look at different phases and see which one is right for your pet's diet!
Puppies, of course, come into this world relying on the help they can get. After all their tiny bodies are still learning to adjust to germs and toxins when given everything from vaccinations for protection against disease or illness. These specific powerful antioxidants will ensure that you pup's first days in life go smoothly:
- Vitamin E - is a natural boost to the immune system. It also aids healthy blood vessels and can prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
- Vitamin C - is one of the most important vitamins that a pup needs to stay healthy. Not only does it help with joint pain, but also wound healing and inflammation in your gums! It provides energy as well so you can have more fun playing outside all day long.
- Beta Carotene - is a nutrient that can be found in fruits and vegetables. It boosts the number of certain cells present in the blood, increases antibody levels, optimizes vaccine recognition by dogs - which are all important for puppies to thrive in their young lives!
- Selenium - is a nutrient that's great for the heart and cognitive function. It can also help with asthma symptoms, thyroid health, and cancer prevention!
If you have an adult dog in their prime, then it's vital that they receive a balance of antioxidants on a daily to reduce system-wide inflammation and restore active muscles. The best antioxidant for this is these:
Vitamin E and C - are essential for the immune system in a dog's adult years as they were when it was a puppy. These vitamins provide support to joints, energy levels, and inflammation just like before, which can be helpful if your pup is experiencing any of these symptoms!
Polyphenols - are a wonderful way to keep your canine companion healthy and strong for years. Polyphenols help protect against cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes – preventing them from developing in the first place!
For your senior dogs, their immune system needs a special boost. Here are some antioxidants that can help stave off and in some cases reverse age-related immunity issues:
Vitamin E and C – Older dogs may struggle with their immune system, so it's important to give them a little boost. Vitamin E will help maintain the strength of your dog's natural defenses against invaders such as bacteria or viruses while vitamin C will continue its protection for joints (a common site of wear-and-tear in older pets) and provide extra energy from this powerhouse antioxidant.
Beta carotene - is a great supplement for your dog's diet. When they reach their senior years, beta carotene will help increase the number of antibodies in their blood and provide extra protection against illness.
Polyphenols - offer great benefits to seniors who need help with their health-related issues like cancer or diabetes. Eating more often is just one way they're helping you maintain your vitality as well as prevent serious bodily disorders that may arise during old age.
The perfect time to start your dog on antioxidants is when they are a puppy. There needs to be a balance with these vitamins, minerals, and enzymes for their overall health; so it's important that you continue giving them the proper doses through adulthood too!
What foods contain a natural antioxidant supplement for dogs?
Many of the fruits and vegetables highest in antioxidants are safe, wholesome options for dogs, including:
- Kale and spinach
- Red cabbage
- Beans and legumes
- Sweet potatoes
All of these can be occasionally added to your dog’s food (assuming he digests them well and has no food allergies).
How Can I Be Sure My Dog is Getting Enough Natural Antioxidants?
Luckily, there are thousands of sources of natural antioxidants for dogs available. The bad news is that they're often intolerant to fruits and veggies which means you may need to experiment with a few other foods like the following:
- Cooked soybeans - Soy contains genistein (an antioxidant). However, feed your dog cooked beans because raw can cause intestinal problems such as gas or diarrhea.
- Raw honeycomb - This sweet treat has more nutrients than refined sugar and it also gives bones extra calcium too!
- Organic green tea extract- Green tea contain catechins—a type of flavonoid which help fight oxidative stress in cells.
- Cooked yellow squash, carrots, sweet potatoes
- Steamed broccoli, spinach, kale, green beans
- Tomatoes and mangos (in moderation as these may cause diarrhea)
DAILY ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS AND MORE
Did you know that a dog's digestion is not able to handle the roughage of fruits and vegetables? Even if they are healthy, your dog will greatly benefit from an antioxidant-rich diet with antioxidant-rich foods. A high-grade supplement with all-natural ingredients can promote immune system activity.
Antioxidant-equipped foods are essential for the health of your pup. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and cause disease, so you'll want to make sure they're an important part of a balanced diet. The antioxidants in food come from many sources such as lactoferrin, resveratrol, superoxide dismutase, or cysteine – all these ingredients will ensure a well-rounded antioxidant intake on top of other vitamins like A, C, and E which should also be present in your dog's meal plan!
Omega fatty acids - have been found to be an excellent way of helping puppies regulate their mood and sleep cycles. When mixed with tryptophan, omega fatty acid's help in all stages of development.
B-Vitamins - are essential for the development of cells and healthy skin, brain functioning, skeletal structure. They also act as antioxidants to help maintain a strong immune system.
Lactoferrin - is a natural protein that helps your body use iron more effectively, which makes it an essential part of any diet. It also strengthens the immune system and acts as a powerful antioxidant to fight off illness or infection.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) - ALA not only improves cognitive function in dogs of all ages but also enhances the brain's ability to produce energy.
Chondroitin - is a natural supplement that helps senior dogs with joint mobility by lubricating and supporting the bone structure. It can be found in chicken, which makes it an easily accessible food for your pup!
What to Look For in Dog Supplements
If you’ve ever gone supplement shopping for yourself, chances are that you'll be familiar with the frustration of not being able to find one that ticks all your boxes and also doesn't make you feel sick. But unlike humans who can tell us or show us when they're feeling out-of-sorts, our pets can't do either of these things. This is why it's so important to especially vigilant about adding supplements into their diet!
Here are some things to consider when picking out antioxidant supplements for your pup:
- If you want to keep your pup healthy, give them the best vitamins possible. There are many different types of supplements for dogs depending on their age and stage in life so it’s important that they get something tailored just for them.
- Dogs need a healthy diet to stay active and defend against illness, but that doesn't mean you have to spend your hard-earned money on expensive food. Look for bioactive and bioavailable nutrients that will be absorbed into your dog's system instead of ending up all over the lawn!
- When you are looking for a good supplement, make sure it has the right balance of natural ingredients to suit your needs. A blend of vitamins and minerals with prebiotics and antioxidants will get that done. This is why system-delivery technology backed by patents is important.
Strengthen Your Dog’s Defenses
In order to keep your dog healthy and happy, they need plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. No matter how strange it may seem that dogs love licking anything in the house - including dirty kitchen floor corners or filthy sidewalks- their curiosity will never stop them from performing these tasks. To protect against all this germ exposure make sure they have a diet rich with powerful antioxidants so their immune system can defend itself against any potential infections before long-lasting damage is done! If you're worried about whether or not supplements are worth taking for your pup just remember there's no harm at worst!