What to Look For In a Dog Supplement The market is exploding with products claiming to improve the health and wellness of individuals using vitamins and nutritional supplements. People are now seeking the same products to complement the health of their pets. The benefits of appropriate nutritional supplements are overwhelming and can add several healthy years to your life, as well as your dogs. Dogs Age Faster Than People Longevity is attributed 30 percent to genetics and 70 percent to lifestyle. Up to 90 percent of diseases in dogs are due to the degenerative processes associated with aging. Does Your Dog Act His Age? Because dogs age seven times faster than people, major health changes occur in a short amount of time.
Dogs are considered puppies for about one year, adults from age two to six, and seniors at age seven. Giant breeds, like Great Danes, age even more quickly and are considered seniors at age five. Signs of aging in dogs occur slowly, but generally begin at maturity, somewhere between age one and two. Dr. Denham Harman’s Free Radical Theory of Aging, applies to people and pets, including dogs.
This universally accepted theory states that aging is a process in which the body’s systems deteriorate faster than the body can repair them. The changes occur due to oxidative damage caused by harmful compounds called free radicals. Free radicals are toxic, electrically unstable molecules. As we age, they are produced more quickly. Free radicals damage your dog’s body similar to the way oxygen causes iron to rust. They are detrimental to your dog’s genetic material, his DNA and RNA, his cell membranes and enzyme systems. Free radicals are formed each time we take a breath. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, as well as to environmental toxins, pollution, heavy metals and stress contribute to free radical formation. Your dog’s diet and drugs, such as antibiotics, are also factors. Free radicals weaken your dog’s natural defenses and have been associated with the development of up to 90 percent of the age-related degenerative conditions we associate with aging: Cancer Heart disease Arthritis Diabetes Cataracts Premature aging Our life span, as well as the length of your dog’s life, is ultimately determined by how quickly free radicals cause harmful oxidative changes to occur.
Therefore what you feed your dog, as well as the supplements you choose for your dog are both very important. Help Your Dog Enjoy a Longer, Healthier Life Your Dog’s Diet You are what you eat, and that’s just as important for people as it is for dogs. What you feed your dog directly affects his health and wellness. The longer and more consistently you give your dog an optimally balanced diet, the greater his chances are of living a longer, healthier life. Dogs, like people are omnivores and can naturally exist on a diet of meat, fruit and vegetables. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your dog. Commercial varieties worth looking into include organic, natural diets such as Prairie made by Natures Variety. Homemade, natural diets take more time and effort but in many cases are well worth the extra effort. Vegetarian and raw food diets are another option that, with careful supervision, may provide complete and balanced nutrition for your dog. According to the Guinness Book of Records, a Border Collie in England named Taffy, lived to the spry age of 27 eating an all-natural, organic diet.
Healthy Dog Snacks Fruits and vegetables are healthy, low calorie snacks many pets enjoy. Those rich in antioxidants are especially beneficial for your dog: Oranges Tomatoes Sweet Potatoes Carrots Cantaloupe Asparagus Tips Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, tomatoes are filled with Lycopenes and sweet potatoes are a source of Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. Carrots and cantaloupes also provide Beta Carotene for your dog. Antioxidant Supplements for Your Dog: Sooner Not Later Recent research documents that antioxidants provide very bright prospects for increasing the quality and length of your dog’s life. In addition, scientists have found that sooner is better than later as far as your dog’s potential health benefits. Antioxidant supplementation started as a puppy, before free radical damage has occurred, can increase the healthy lifespan of your dog by up to 20 percent. Antioxidant supplements, including Vitamins A, C, and E, the minerals Selenium and Zinc, and the nutrients Alpha Lipoic Acid and Coenzyme Q10, are the body’s natural defense against free radical damage. They can help to protect your dog by neutralizing free radicals and decreasing the resultant levels of oxidative damage. Other noteworthy antioxidant supplements for your dog include: Bioflavinoids, which help to decrease allergic reactions, asthmatic attacks and have anti-cancer benefits for your dog. Green Tea, whose antioxidants may decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer and help protect the blood vessels nourishing your dog’s heart and brain.
Lutein, a plant pigment from marigolds, helps to protect your dog’s eyes and may reduce the risk of cataracts. Melatonin, a potent antioxidant that acts to normalize sleep patterns. It also protects your dog’s brain and has been used successfully with cancer therapy. The effects of antioxidants are beneficial and act synergistically for people and dog’s undergoing cancer therapy. In well controlled studies, people and pets treated with antioxidants (with or without chemotherapy and radiation) have tolerated treatments better and experienced less weight loss. More importantly, they enjoyed a better overall quality of life and lived longer than individuals receiving no supplements. Nutritional Supplements for Your Dog’s Bones, Joints & Cartilage Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally produced in your dog’s body from glucose, which is your dog’s blood sugar, and the Amino Acid, Glutamine. It helps the cartilage between the joints retain water so the cartilage can act like a cushion to absorb shock and withstand compression. Glucosamine is vital to protecting the health and integrity of your dog’s bones, joints and cartilage.
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