Antioxidants are any substances that impede oxidation in the body. That’s the literal meaning of “antioxidant,” but these molecular compounds are important because they protect cells from damage by “free radicals.” Those are atoms with odd numbers of electrons, formed when certain molecules and oxygen interact. Free radicals form a chain reaction and harm cells, but antioxidants can stop the chain reaction before damage is done. The most common antioxidants include:
- Vitamins A, C and E
- Alpha lipoic acid – sources include kidney and liver
- Co-enzyme Q10 – a compound made in the body
- Curcumin, or turmeric
- Grape seed extract
- Lignan – found in plant material such as flaxseed
- Lutein – found in plant leaves and egg yolk
- Lycopene – a carotenoid found in tomatoes
- Selenium – a lack of selenium impairs antioxidant protection, but it is toxic in high doses
- Silymarin – the active ingredient in milk thistle.
While any pet benefits from antioxidant-rich pet foods or supplements, animals suffering from chronic inflammation are in greatest need. That includes dogs or cats exhibiting arthritis symptoms, combating skin ailments, or fighting immune disorders. Quality foods filled with antioxidants can help delay age-related cognitive impairment in canines and felines and improve eyesight.
Top Antioxidant-Rich Pet Foods
Acana – Only fresh, local, sustainable ingredients go into Acana’s dog and cat foods, and nothing is ever outsourced. Available only as dry food.
SoJos – All dog and cat foods contain human-grade ingredients and no chemical additives. Order freeze-dried food or the pre-mix, to which you add homemade dog and cat food. The pre-mix ensures your pet receives all the necessary antioxidants when you make his meals.
Orijen – This Canadian company produces biologically appropriate food for dogs and cats from fresh, regional ingredients. Orijen does not offer canned pet foods, but its dry foods contain freeze-dried ingredients, and completely freeze-dried dog food is available.
Stella and Chewy’s –This company offers freeze-dried or frozen raw meals for dogs and cats, all containing premium meats and organic fruits and vegetables. Thaw raw meals before feeding.
Taste of the Wild – These grain-free canine and feline foods mimic the animal’s ancestral diet. Taste of the Wild is available in canned and dry formulas.
Wellness – Wellness foods for dogs and cats consist of real meat, vegetables and fruits, and are full of antioxidants. Wellness pet foods also contain probiotics and omega fatty acids. Canned and dry foods are available.
Top Antioxidant-Rich Supplements
NaturaVet Aller-911 Skin & Coat Soft Chews – These tasty soft chews provide natural sources of antioxidants and help to support a healthy canine and feline immune system. They assist in ridding the body of environmental pollutants and aid in eliminating allergy-based coat and skin problems. http://animalconnectionva.com/product/naturvet-aller-911-skin-coat-soft-chews/ NaturVet Aller-911 Skin & Coat Tabs – The same product in tablet form. http://animalconnectionva.com/product/naturvet-aller-911-skin-coat-tabs/
Dr. Harvey’s Coenzyme Q10 – Coenzyme Q10 supports cardiovascular health and is especially recommended for older dogs and cats. https://www.drharveys.com/products/dogs/121-coenzyme-q10-supplement-for-dogs
Grizzly Krill Oil for Dogs – This powerful antioxidant supplement contains astaxanthin, a natural substance found in wild krill in Arctic waters.
Life Line Organic Ocean Kelp Dog and Cat Supplement – This kelp-based supplement contains antioxidants along with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Mountain Spring Antioxidant Vitamin Pet Chews – These U.S.A.-made chews – and treats – are made from the finest natural ingredients using the company’s proprietary extrusion process.
Nu-Pet Feline Granular with Antioxidants – Even finicky cats will like this product, which helps boost the immune system.
Nutro Ultra Antioxidant Blend Adult Dog Biscuits – This blend contains whole brown rice, oatmeal, flaxseed, salmon meal, blueberries, pomegranate, oat fiber, dried pumpkin and more. http://www.amazon.com/Antioxidant-Dog-Biscuits-Blueberry-Pomegranate/dp/B005J3XI2A
Primo Pet Products “Essentials” – A digestive enzyme/probiotic/vitamin/mineral blend that brings back balance to the diet and overall well being of dogs or cats. We recommend anyone feeding a dry or canned food add this supplement to bring back valuable “life force” to processed food.
Always consult your animal care provider before giving your pet supplements. Even though antioxidants are generally safe, there is always a possibility of over-supplementation and possible toxicity, depending on the animal’s diet or overall health. Pregnant or lactating animals should not receive certain supplements, nor should pets undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Always tell your animal care provider if your pet experiences any side effects from a supplement, and discontinue the supplementation until the animal has an examination.