Pet owners want to keep their pets around for as possible and to help them age well and stay healthy as long as possible they need a strong immune system to prevent illness and damage to internal systems. If we want to understand the root of immunity and what makes our pet healthy we need to understand the immune system at the cellular level.
When our pets age, become ill, or exposed to toxins from poor nutrition their bodies produce an excess of free radicals. Free radicals are natural by products of metabolism and contain oxygen and are missing an electron making the free radical very reactive. Because of this electron shortage they attack healthy cells and take an electron from cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. The molecules that lose this electron also become free radicals and the cycle continues. Having an excess in free radicals can make it difficult for our pets to fight diseases. Antioxidants however, can actually donate electrons to free radicals without becoming one themselves. This breaks molecular and cellular damage cycle keeping your pets immune system strong and will allow you pet to age in a healthy manner.
Antioxidants in food and supplement form are successful in suppression of free radicals. Talk to your veterinarian about the best antioxidant rich fruits and veggies. Diets enriched with antioxidants have been studied by scientists and dogs with these diets tend to learn complex tasks better than dogs with out it. The reason why? Scientists believe that oxidative damage contributes to brain aging in dogs. Owner are noticing that as their dogs age with an antioxidant rich diet they have less cognitive dysfunction. Pets are able to recognize their owners longer, they’re more agile, and overall doing less “senile” behaviors.
- Antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and E help in maintaining overall health and well being.
- Coenzyme Q10 is naturally produced in the body and there is no real suggestion on dietary allowance but may be recommended to pets with heart disease, periodontal disease, or elderly dogs with deficiencies in this enzyme.
- Ginkgo also helps eliminate free radicals, especially those in the nervous system. Supplementing this antioxidant is helpful in pets with some sort of nervous system disease.
- Curcumin is the active compound found in Turmeric and is beneficial in its uses against cancer.
Pet owners are urged to use whole sources when appropriate to supplement antioxidants into the diet like whole fruits and veggies. Whole sources have all of their phytochemical properties are still intact. They haven’t been dried, heated, frozen etc. Supplements like Krill oil or supplements enhanced with the oil are great for palatability and absorption support. Pets should easily want to take the supplements given to them.
A strong immune system is fueled by a healthy diet and body. Work with your veterinarian to create a wellness plan for four legged friend!