Chances are you’ve heard a lot about the health benefits of antioxidants lately. Their main benefit is that they help prevent cellular damage (oxidation) caused by free radicals. This damage can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including disorders caused by immune deficiencies, allergies, and even cancer. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from many of these same disorders, and depending on the specifics of their health, antioxidants for dogs can be beneficial.
Antioxidants for Dogs – Combatting Free Radicals
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are a group of molecules made up of certain vitamins, minerals and various other nutrients. Specifically, Vitamins A, C and E, as well as zinc, copper, selenium, carotenoids and alpha lipoic acid (as well as many others) are antioxidants. They can be found naturally in common foods like blueberries, carrots, salmon, spinach, nuts and beans.
What Foods Contain Antioxidants for Dogs?
Many antioxidants are found in plant-based foods that are not typically included in a dog’s diet. There are some foods, however, that are commonly found in dog foods that are especially rich in antioxidants. For instance, liver, organ meats, eggs and salmon are familiar dog food ingredients that are loaded with beneficial antioxidants. Giving carrots as treats can also provide valuable antioxidants for dogs.
Does My Dog Get Enough Antioxidants?
Although dog foods don’t always contain the raw ingredients to give dogs the amount of antioxidants they need, they are often supplemented or fortified to deliver a well-balanced, nutrient complete diet. Be sure to select a dog food that is labeled as “Complete and Balanced” so that you are assured it contains the amount of antioxidants for dogs that are needed for healthy nutrition.
Should I Give Antioxidants for Dogs Supplements?
In certain specific cases, your veterinarian may recommend treating your dog with supplements to deliver a higher amount of antioxidants than he is receiving in his daily diet. Some of these maladies may include skin conditions, thyroid disorders, vision impairments and cancer. Never give your dog supplements, however, without first seeking the advice of your veterinarian.
Adequate nutrition for our dogs is vital to their overall health and well-being. Especially as they get older, their nutritional requirements can change in response to the natural effects of aging or the onset of disease. The proper balance of the precise amount of antioxidants for dogs can help offset any negative effects or conditions caused by cellular oxidation by free radicals. Treatment, however, should always be prescribed and monitored by your dog’s veterinarian to ensure a safe and wholesome nutritional regimen.
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