In addition to the importance of antioxidants for humans, they’re also a vital part of your dog’s diet. The body naturally produces antioxidants, but it can’t produce them at a fast enough rate to ward off all of the free radicals that attack cells. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals by donating an electron to them, thus preventing them from reacting with other molecules in the body. This is where antioxidants for dogs in the form of supplements come into play.
Antioxidants may be more important for our pets than we realize, and they’re especially important for adult dogs with pre-existing health conditions or those who are at higher risk for certain diseases.
Antioxidants for Dogs
Antioxidants have been shown to help get rid of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. These molecules are made when the body normally breaks down food and when it is exposed to toxins in the environment. The following are several of the health benefits of antioxidants:
- Help remove damaging free radicals
- Assists the body in combating environmental pollutants
- Helps decrease oxidative damage
- May help protect body cells and tissues
- Supports cellular health
- Promote immune system activity
- Helps support cognitive function
- Helps support normal cardiovascular function by promoting healthy blood vessels
What Does This Mean?
We can say all of the above, but what does this mean for your dog?
- By helping to remove free radicals, you can enhance a dog’s physical and mental well-being
- Combatting pollutants can support and promote long-term health
- Decreasing oxidative damage can help maintain optimal health and well-being
- Protecting the body’s cells and tissues may enhance bone and joint health
Let’s break these benefits down into more digestible pieces of information.
Aging and Antioxidants
The body produces its own antioxidants, but they may not be enough to keep up with the damage that occurs. As dogs age, they’re more likely to develop health problems due to free radical damage in their bodies.
An inflammatory response occurs when immune cells respond to an injury or mobility by releasing chemicals called cytokines into surrounding tissues (such as joints), where they cause swelling and redness as part of the healing process. This can make it difficult for your pet’s body parts like joints and muscles to move smoothly—not only making it uncomfortable, but will show signs of stiff joints.
Antioxidants enhance the immune response and support a healthy inflammatory response. This can support animals with joint tenderness due to everyday activity, like the average aging dog.
Antioxidants and Allergies in Dogs
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to substances that are usually harmless. The immune system then sends an inflammatory response to the body. Antioxidants support a healthy inflammatory response.
In addition to providing a healthy inflammatory response, benefits include:
- Support for animals with sensitive skin
- Helps maintain normal moisture content of skin
- Helps keep animals in peak condition
- Supports the immune system and promotes healthy skin
Antioxidants and Joint Health
Antioxidants are one of the most important nutrients to be aware of when it comes to joint health in dogs. They provide a way to promote healthy joints naturally. In regard to joint health, antioxidants also:
- Helps maintain healthy bone and joint function
- Helps maintain joint mobility
- Supports connective tissue health
- Helps maintain normal healthy cartilage
Foods with Natural Antioxidants for Dogs
Antioxidants can be found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs. Some of these natural antioxidants are more effective than others. While dogs cannot eat certain fruits and vegetables because they contain toxic substances or too much sugar, there are several antioxidant-rich foods for dogs that you can add to your dog’s diet in their daily pet food regimen.
Foods with antioxidants include:
- Berries: Berries are a good source of natural antioxidants for dogs because they contain anthocyanins, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Berries also contain ellagic acid, another type of antioxidant that may help fight free radicals. Blueberries are among the highest in antioxidants.
- Spinach: Spinach contains many nutrients that are beneficial for dogs, including iron and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body.
- Carrots: Carrots contain beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects against cellular damage caused by free radicals. Dogs need beta carotene in their diets because they cannot produce it themselves.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin is high in Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for dogs. Vitamin C supports the biosynthesis of collagen, which is a structural protein that promotes healthy inflammatory pathways. Vitamin C also helps support the structural integrity of joints and connective tissues. Dogs cannot produce vitamin C on their own and must obtain it from their diet or supplements. Like carrots, pumpkin is also rich in beta carotene.
Antioxidant Supplements for Dogs
Many antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, but these foods may not be available to pets on a daily basis, or your dog’s body may not agree with certain foods. Supplementation, in addition to your dog’s diet being balanced, can ensure that your dog receives adequate amounts of antioxidants.
The following are recommended supplements:
- Glutathione: An antioxidant produced naturally by a dog’s liver, but production begins to decrease with age which makes this particularly valuable to senior dogs. Glutathione supplementation helps eliminate free radicals associated with the aging process. Earth Buddy offers a product called Maxx-Life Glutathione that combines glutathione with hemp extract. Although this product provides nutrients necessary for the health of senior animals, it can be beneficial to dogs of all ages.
- Colostrum: Protects against free radical damage. Earth Buddy’s Gut Health contains 1,460mg of bovine colostrum per scoop from cattle free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Add the mixture to dog food to help your dog remain healthy in the fight against free radicals and promote your dog’s digestion.
- Green-lipped mussels (GLM): Green-lipped mussels are from New Zealand and provide antioxidant support when ingested. They’re a good source of bioactive and bioavailable nutrients. They also contain omega fatty acids, vitamins, and enzymes. GLM enhances the functions of joints and connective tissue, which can be beneficial for daily movement. You can use this as a topper on dog food or provide them on their own if your dog enjoys them for a diet rich in several areas of nutrition.
- Decaffeinated green tea: Contains antioxidant polyphenols called catechins that scavenges free radicals, supports cellular health, and eases joint stiffness due to normal daily exercise and activity.
- Medicinal mushrooms: Rich in antioxidants and have added benefits for your dog’s health. Earth Buddy offers Focus & Immune which provides a mushroom blend along with hemp extract. This product offers 5 certified organic mushrooms and mycelium blend. This is commonly recommended for dogs with allergies, but it can also be utilized to help dogs remain at peak health.
Provide Your Dog with the Best Antioxidants
The bottom line is that antioxidants are good for your dog and can help them live longer, healthier lives. If you want to give your pet the best chance at living a long life, then we recommend diving deep into the world of antioxidants and choosing dog supplements that best suit what you’re looking for.
Keep your dog healthy by providing a balanced diet with variety in addition to the supplement you are choosing. Balanced supplements are also important, so if you would like to provide more than one, check with your veterinarian to ensure there are no interactions between them.
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