You have probably heard about people turning to diets rich in antioxidants to boost their immune systems and help them prevent age-related degenerative diseases. These substances can be found in various types of teas, fruits, dark chocolate, and even red wine. What you may not know, however, is that veterinarians and animal lovers have started to take interest in the benefits of the use of antioxidants in pets. Antioxidant supplements have now been formulated to help prolong your pet’s life and promote his quality of life. So, what makes antioxidants so important?
What do antioxidants do?
As the name suggests, an antioxidant is any vitamin, mineral, or enzyme that counteracts the process of oxidation by neutralizing harmful molecules in our cells. To fully understand the benefits of antioxidants on our bodies, you must first understand what these harmful molecules, called free radicals, are.
The Damage of Free Radicals
Free radicals are a result of normal reactions in our bodies, but can also come from environmental factors like smoke, radiation, and environmental toxins. These molecules have unpaired electrons and cause damage by stealing electrons from important molecules in our cells. The cell deterioration caused by oxidation of our vital molecules accumulates over time and can cause serious problems in cognitive and physical wellness.
Antioxidants help protect our DNA and protein molecules by giving up electrons to free radicals. By reacting with these harmful molecules, they stop the chain reaction of free radical formation. However, once the antioxidant is used up, it needs to be replenished. This is why it’s important to have a diet rich in antioxidants. Unfortunately, most commercial dog foods are very low in antioxidants, so pet owners have turned to supplementation.
What are the benefits of antioxidants for dogs?
Dogs, just like humans, need antioxidants! As much as we would like to think we can protect our canine companions from everything, they are exposed to a wide range of harmful toxins. Dogs inhale air pollution, like smoke, and sometimes walk through grass that contains fertilizers and pesticides. Oftentimes, the water they drink is polluted and toxic, and even commercial dry dog food contains harmful chemicals due to its processing at high temperatures. These chemicals cause free radicals to be released and create the same problems for our pets that they cause for humans.
However, a lot of these types of health concerns can be addressed or prevented by supplementing different types of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E. Dogs with debilitating problems, like arthritis, allergies, cataracts, asthma or cancer, can also benefit significantly from these supplements. Research has even shown that antioxidants given to older dogs can really improve cognitive function!
Vitamin A can help dogs that are susceptible to infections, have eye or teeth problems, or bad respiratory health. Vitamin C is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and is extremely important for managing the health of a dog having chronic diseases. Vitamin E can help prevent the onset of degenerative heart conditions and cancer for your dog, and also helps with certain forms of autoimmune disease, such as Lupus.
Though there are many other types of antioxidants, the vitamins listed above are the primary dietary antioxidants. There are a lot of different ways to give your dog antioxidants. Our Antioxidant Formula supplies ten times more antioxidant activity than using Vitamin C alone. It’s a good place to start in getting your pet on the road to health.