The Benefits of Antioxidants for Senior Dogs
Antioxidants have a wide variety of health benefits throughout the body. Their role in lowering inflammation to improve mobility and manage pain is most beneficial in older dogs.
Senior dogs often require different needs compared to their younger counterparts. Here are several benefits of antioxidants that may help your old dog move and feel better.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds that can inhibit oxidation from occurring within the body. Oxidation produces free radicals, compounds that are involved in reactions that damage cells. While oxidation is a natural process that happens all the time, overproduction of free radicals can play a role in cancer, chronic pain, and inflammation in humans and dogs.
Antioxidants can combat the oxidative process by neutralizing free radicals. This, in turn, acts as a “switch,” breaking chain reactions that can affect numerous cells within the body and promoting healthy cells (1).
While some antioxidants can be consumed through supplements, the risk of overdosing or blind supplementing can be high. A good option is to increase antioxidant levels naturally within the body by incorporating more antioxidant-rich food. Common antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, most of which can be taken in via vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Benefits of Antioxidants for Senior Dogs
Numerous studies have shown a correlation between increasing age and the accumulation of oxidative damage (2). Aging increases muscle injury incidence, therefore providing an inflammatory response, giving muscles higher rates of oxidative stress. Likewise, regeneration of muscle and repair is limited at an older age, enhancing oxidative damage across cells (3).
Because of this, oxidative damage can be physically manifested in senior dogs by reduced mobility, joint pain, and inflammation. All of these symptoms can severely affect your older dog’s quality of life and may even accelerate the aging process. To combat this, the consumption of antioxidants can provide benefits to their overall wellbeing.
While inflammation is a typical immune response to illness or injury, chronic inflammation can have long-term harmful effects on your dog. Common symptoms of inflammation include pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints, leading to osteoarthritis. This can make walking and running even harder for your senior dog.
Because antioxidants help protect tissues within the body from oxidative damage, they can prevent unwanted inflammatory responses. This happens because infections or injuries trigger the body’s natural immune response, which results in the overproduction of free radicals (4). These free radicals can then damage healthy body cells, leading to inflammation.
Due to the aging process, senior dogs aren’t able to fight infections or injuries as well as younger dogs. This results in an increased risk of inflammation, especially in internal tissues, skin, and joints.
Promotes Heart Health
Antioxidants can promote a healthy heart in several ways. Firstly, studies have shown antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene to have slight blood-pressure-lowering effects in humans (5). While not many studies linking antioxidant intake with blood pressure have been carried out in animals, the overall mechanism remains the same: antioxidants are seen to affect the endothelium, a layer of arterial blood vessels that can expand or contract in response to blood flow.
Recent studies have also suggested the role of antioxidants in reducing cholesterol levels. While research is still somewhat limited, many have pointed out the ability of antioxidants in preventing specific changes that turn cholesterol molecules into plaques. Lowered production of plaques in artery walls means less of a chance that blood flow will be blocked when flowing to and from the heart (6).
Both reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels are seen to be highly beneficial for the health of your senior dog’s heart. While many factors can also influence cardiovascular health, antioxidants are a factor that can be controlled externally to some degree.
Incorporating More Antioxidants into Your Senior Dog’s Diet
An easy and effective way to get more antioxidants into your dog’s diet is by incorporating more antioxidant-rich food. A good option is choosing a dog food supplement packed full of fruits and vegetables, all of which are good sources of antioxidants.
AppleLove Fruit & Vegetable Blend contains apples, carrots, and pumpkin, all of which are packed full of antioxidants that help support your senior dog’s immune function and digestion.
To help fight against inflammation that may affect their joints and mobility, choose AppleLove Healthy Joint & Senior Blend.
This blend is formulated to help maintain healthy joints and connective tissues with broccoli, spinach, and omega-3 fatty acids from chia seeds.
The Bottom Line
Antioxidants are packed full of benefits for your senior dog, ranging from anti-inflammatory properties to their protective effect on the heart. These may then work to improve mobility, manage pain, and improve the cardiovascular health of your dog, leading to a more excellent quality of life.
Incorporating more antioxidants into a diet can be simple with the addition of more fruits and vegetables. An easy way to introduce them into your dog’s diet is with blends packed full of antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are they a tasty treat your dog will be sure to love, but their numerous benefits give you great peace of mind as an owner.