Antioxidants in Dog Foods

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Antioxidants in Dog Foods

The main source of antioxidants for dogs should be a complete and balanced diet made from high-quality ingredients.

Consult our dog food reviews and find some first- class dog foods.

Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, carotenoids and selenium are examples of potent antioxidants.

They are found naturally in many ingredients included in dog foods, but supplements are also used to improve the antioxidant content of the diet without creating nutritional imbalances.

dog food antioxidants

1. What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances that present health benefits and prevent ingredients included in food from spoiling.

They are nutrients found naturally in the body and in plants such as fruits and vegetables.

Oxidation is the process that happens when foods are exposed to oxygen.

The oxygen will cause a breakdown in the nutrients and fats in a food causing discoloration to rancidity.

Additionally, your dog’s body is exposed to the destructive effects of free radicals on a daily basis.

Free radicals are produced when cells are damaged due to the effects of oxidation.

2. What do Antioxidants do?

Antioxidants are very important in preserving your dog’s health.

They are beneficial mainly because they counter the effects of harmful free radicals in the body.

Free radicals are natural by-products produced by cell metabolism and are overproduced when dogs are sick, older, exposed to toxins, or have a poor nutrition.

They attack cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.

Antioxidants are able to break the cycle of molecular and cellular damage.

So, an abundant dietary source of antioxidants is important for your dog to maintain a strong immune system and age in a healthy manner.

Antioxidants have numerous functions such as:

  • Preserve dog food
  • Protect cells from damage
  • Strength the immune system

Thus antioxidants can play a role in the prevention of serious health conditions from developing or worsening.

In puppies, antioxidants provide a boost to the immune system before vaccination has been initiated.

In older dogs, oxidative injury to cells in the brain and organs may be retarded by antioxidants, providing a longer, healthy life.

3. How antioxidants are listed in dog food labels?

There are two main types of antioxidants commonly included in dog foods:

  • Natural antioxidants: vitamins C, E, citric acid, and some herbal sources like rosemary. Vitamin C is present in common fruits and vegetables like cranberries, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, and more. Natural vitamin E is frequently listed as “mixed tocopherols” on the dog food ingredient list. Citric acids are taken from various citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes.
  • Synthetic antioxidants: BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. Find out more about the risks of using synthetic antioxidants consulting our article named “Top 5 Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid”.

Combining specific levels of the key antioxidants vitamins E and C, selenium and beta-carotene help maintain the immune system and contribute to your dog’s health and longevity.

4. Top 7 Antioxidant Food Sources for Dogs:

Dog food companies are required to list antioxidants and their common names.

Antioxidants are also used as dog food preservatives.

When suitable amounts are included in dog food, antioxidants provide two main important functions: keep food fresh and keep dogs healthy.

My advice is:

You should look for vitamins and antioxidants in the ingredients listed in your dog food label. The best resource for advice about a dog is a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist. If you have doubts ask your veterinarian if your dog´s current food provides the antioxidants necessary for a long and healthy life.

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.

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