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Why your Dog needs Antioxidants

This month I wanted to chat about Antioxidants and why it's a great thing to be adding to your supplement regime. I started doing research after we got Ripley on ways to help prevent further degeneration of his retinas (He suffers from SARDS - sudden acquired retinal detachment syndrome - which is why he is blind) which lead me down the path of Antioxidants. While learning all about how they can help prevent further retinal damage I discovered all the other amazing benefits they have and decided to add them into all of my dog's routines.

What are Antioxidants and what is their role?

Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental stress and other pressures. Free radicals are waste substances that are made as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. If the body cannot process and remove free radicals efficiently, oxidative stress can result. This can harm cells and body function in numerous ways.

Antioxidants neutralize the effects of chronic inflammation and are very successful in reducing the negative effects of inflammation when used appropriately.

Antioxidants and Research

Thankfully, there is an abundance of the benefits of additional Antioxidants for both humans and dogs. A few stand out to me and I'll site them below so you can take a look at them if you'd like more of a deep scientific dive into things.

Studies have shown that Antioxidants:

  • Improve Cognitive Function – Studies show that oxidative damage impairs cognitive function in dogs and that antioxidant treatment can result in significant improvements in aging dogs

  • Prevents Damage from Oxidative Stress - This study confirms that long-term supplementation with a specific diet enriched with antioxidants is able to regulate the antioxidant status and general health status of working dogs and prevent damage due to oxidative stress before and after their work.

  • Improve Retinal function and retinal improvement in healthy dogs - In regards to my research for Ripley specifically, this study showed that antioxidants not only increased retinal function but also decreased the refractive error change in dogs fed the antioxidant supplements compared with dogs fed the control diets. This suggests that even in healthy dogs with normal eyes, a better retinal response can be obtained with antioxidant supplementation.

  • Reduces DNA Damage - This study shows antioxidant supplementation can achieve sustained increases in circulating levels of antioxidants that exert a protective effect by a decrease in DNA damage, leading to improved immunological performance.

  • Combat Heart Failure - This study concluded that antioxidant (and fatty acid) supplementation can play a major role against oxidative stress occurring during heart failure, avoiding cell disorganization and cellular damages.

  • Improves Skin Conditions and Reduces Allergy Symptoms - This study showed statistically significant symptom reduction with dogs suffering from severe atopic dermatitis.

  • Improves Joint Health and Controls Related Pain - In this study of dogs suffering from Osteoarthritis, antioxidants (in this case Vit E) was effective in decreasing short-term OA pain, aiding in maintaining proper levels of synovial fluid and reduces lesions in articular cartilage that leads to pain.

How can we give our dogs additional Antioxidants?

There are lots of ways you can incorporate healthy antioxidants into your woofer's diet! Natural whole sources of antioxidants are in abundance in:

  • Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries

  • Yellow squash, carrots, sweet potatoes

  • Broccoli, spinach, kale, green beans

  • Mangos

  • Bovine Colostrum

  • Green Tea (decaf is safe for dogs)

Or we can also get antioxidants directly from a supplement such as:

  • Vitamin E and C

  • Coenzyme Q10

  • Selenium

  • Beta Carotene

You can also find whole food sources IN supplement form which makes things super easy with this Blueberry extract from Amazon *I am currently giving my dogs this one* or this Baie Run Bright Life Antioxidant Blend from Amazon, OR often found locally at specialty pet stores.

A quick and easy way to boost your dog's bowl with antioxidants is to use the left over fruit from human meals during the week and blend them into treats! At the end of our week we always have berries that look a little iffy for our taste but the dogs certainly don't mind! Blend them up with some water, coconut oil, coconut water or apple cider vinegar and freeze into cubes for a no-waste snack for your woofer!

Here is an example of putting those end of the week berries to good use with my B-Boost cubes!

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