Senior dog health issues in many ways reflect those of their human counterparts. Dogs are individual in the way they age and the issues the senior dog faces are individual as well.
Dogs less than 20 pounds might not show signs of senior dog issues until about 12. A larger dog may begin to show signs of senior dog issues around 8-10 years of age.
Senior dog health issues often involve the senior dog being less able to resist infections and other diseases, and its organs becoming less efficient. Your dog will start to slow down and lose stamina, and the body’s presence of free radicals can begin to take its toll. We, as dog guardians, will find it difficult to watch.
What are free radicals? First you must understand a bit about cells and molecules. Your pet’s body, like the human body, is composed of many different types of cells. Cells are composed of many different types of molecules, and molecules consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements joined by chemical bonds.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with unpaired or an odd number of electrons formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once the free radicals are formed, these reactive radicals can start a chain reaction causing cell damage when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.
If this occurs, the damaged cells will then function poorly or die. To prevent free radical damage, the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism (the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that convert the fuel from food into the energy needed). Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposely produce free radicals to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.
Normally, the body has an ability to handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production is excessive, damage can occur.
Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age and can contribute to diseases like cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. The good news is that antioxidant nutrients in the form of vitamins A, C, and E will help slow down and prevent the free radical damage that speeds up the aging process.
Make every effort to give your animals bright green vegetables like broccoli several times a week in chopped or pureed small amounts. Healthy additions include celery, all kinds of greens, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, bok choy, cabbage, spinach, chard, parsley, cilantro, dark green lettuce outer leaves EXCEPT iceberg, which is not very nutritious, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, asparagus, turnips, parsnips and asparagus spear stalks. All are excellent sources of chlorophyll as are all dark green vegetables. Natural chlorophylls exert protective effects against carcinogenic exposure in both animals and people.
Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective properties.
Bacopa contains flavonols and has mitochondrial membrane stabilizing properties as well as anti-epileptic qualities.
Blueberry, considered one of the miracle curing fruits, is believed to lower the risk of many cancers, reduce inflammation, and slow cognitive decline.
The close cousin to the blueberry is the bilberry which displays the capacity to lower the chances of developing macular degeneration and has anti-cancer activity along with helping to support heart health.
Made famous by red wine, resveratrol activates specific proteins that increase endogenous antioxidants and recent research shows it can help prevent cancer and type II diabetes.
Green tea contains a potent number of antioxidants, as has been shown by recent research, including the highly powerful flavonols to assist with energy, aid the immune system, as well as lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes.
Turmeric root, also known as curcumin, has strong anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates proteins that increase endogenous antioxidants and detoxifiers. Curcumin is credited with the prevention of some of the aging effects on cognition through neuroprotection and has shown to demonstrate strong anti-cancer activities.
Milk thistle flavonols increase endogenous antioxidants, that are believed to help prevent cancer, and aid in the detoxification processes of liver function.
An antioxidant supplement is important to consider in supporting your pet’s health. It is vital that you look for a quality supplement expressly made for pets.
The reason you want to select an antioxidant expressly for pets is because the right dosage is very important and it is just as important that the antioxidant includes only ingredients that are safe for pets to ingest. One must remember that although there are similarities between our dogs and ourselves, there are also some profound differences.
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Related Topic: Senior Dog Issues