Dog Food Essential: Antioxidants
By Jennifer Viegas
Antioxidants are substances or compounds that help prevent oxidation, which forms free radicals in your body. These are rogue oxygen molecules that can dangerously react with other molecules, leading to health problems. The same thing may happen to your dog.
As a result, some dog foods now contain antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetable ingredients, along with extra antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, as well as certain compounds called carotenoids that include things like lutein and beta-carotene. “Antioxidants help to maintain overall health by neutralizing the peroxidation process,” says Dr. Amy Dicke, a veterinarian in Dayton, Ohio, who also works as a technical service veterinarian for Iams. Peroxidation is a normal function where the body destroys cells that outlive their usefulness, but it can also damage healthy cells.
Antioxidants may also boost your dog’s ability to ward off disease and illness. Antioxidants improve immune responses, which decrease as a pet ages. “Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant with proven ability to enhance the immune response,” says Dicke. Be sure then to look for this vitamin, other antioxidants and antioxidant-containing foods in the ingredients list for your dog’s wet or dry meals.
Jennifer Viegas is the managing editor of The Dog Daily. She is a journalist for Discovery News, the news service for the Discovery Channel, and has written more than 20 books on animals, health and other science-related topics.