Why your dog needs Antioxidants

You will have noticed that many dog food brands now advertise that their foods contain antioxidants, but what are they, what do they do and why does your dog need them? We have the answers!

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are a natural occurance in the bodies of mammals and many plants and include vitamins, A, C and E as well as compounds known as Carotenoids, examples include beta-carotene and lutin. These important nutrients assist the body's immune system in maintaining optimum health and also slow damage to the cellular molecules caused by aging as well as reverse decreases in immune cell functioning and are therefore an important nutritional consideration in older dogs.

What do they do?

Normal cell functioning results in damage to molecules caused by free radicals which are extremely unstable and rob adjacent cellular molecules of important components like protein/DNA or fat, this causes the spread of damage across other cells and eventual cell death.

This process is known as peroxidation and while it may sound completely detrimental to the body, it does help the body to rid itself of cells that are no longer necessary while also killing parasites and germs. That said though, if peroxidation is left untreated it may also lead to the damage or death of healthy cells and the risk of infection.

Antioxidants assist in preventing rampant cellular destruction by stabilizing free radicals without damaging any cellular components.

Role in Immune response in dogs

Due to their ability to minimize the damage to the cells that comprise the immune system, numerous studies have been done to research the role that they play in helping to ensuer a strong, healthy immune system in dogs.

Not only did the findings indicate that they are exceptionally beneficial to dog's immune response, but also revealed that each individual antioxidant played a unique role in the process. This means that high levels of one antioxidant were not as effective as a group acting in unison.

Antioxidant Source Function

Vitamin EPlant oil extract and TocopherolsBoosts T-Cell activation in immune system
LuteinMarigold extractIncreases B-Cell activation within the immune system and assists in vaccine recognition in dogs.
Beta-carotene    Chicken Fat, by product and corn meals, Vitamin supplements,Enhances blood cell function, enhances antibody levels within the blood, optimizes vaccine recognition in dogs.

Antioxidants in puppies

Providing nutritional support with the enrichment of antioxidants may be vital for puppies due to the fact that their immune systems are still in the developmental stages and are also being challenged by disease causing agents in small doses due to vaccinations. A high quality diet infused with added antioxidants can assist in building a puppy’s immune system, providing added protection against parasites, viruses and bacteria.