How to Help Your Pet Live Longer. Steve Monahan, Green Pets America
HOW YOUR PET AGES
Free radicals cause altered gene expression and damage to our pets. This damage leads to oxidative stress and inflammation, which is associated with our pets aging and disease.
Fortunately, however, Mother Nature provides a very powerful weapon against this free radical aging process in the form of antioxidants. Simply put antioxidants neutralize the effect of free radicals and help to protect your pets heart, brain and other organs from oxidative stress.
If you pay attention to matters of health and aging, you’ve heard the term free radicals, which are unstable molecules that travel around the body looking to bond with stable molecules in order to steal an electron and stabilize themselves. When they are successful, they create new unstable molecules.
Free radicals are unavoidable because they’re produced during normal metabolic, cellular and immune system activity, as well as by external factors such as strenuous exercise, a poor diet, stress, pollution and even sunlight.
ANTIOXIDANTS TO THE RESCUE.
Antioxidants Provide Huge Health and Longevity Benefits for Pets. Antioxidants are molecules that gobble up toxic free radicals floating around in your pet’s body before they can harm healthy cells and tissue, thereby reducing oxidative stress and DNA damage.
Antioxidants play a key role in longevity, and high levels of circulating antioxidants are commonly seen in the “oldest old” among us. Several studies of older dogs have proved the benefits of an antioxidant-rich diet for canines.
Additionally, the results of a seven-year study of 90 kitties aged 7 to 17 who were fed an antioxidant-rich diet showed fewer decreases in lean muscle mass; improved body weight, lean body mass, skin thickness and red cell quality; decreased incidence of disease; general improvement in quality of life; and significantly longer life span.
The same is true for dogs. The more free radicals the body makes, the more antioxidants the body requires, and research shows puppies may have antioxidant deficiencies.
WHAT FOODS HAVE ANTIOXIDANTS.
Unfortunately, most commercially available pet foods, even those of very high-quality, contain synthetic vitamins and minerals that provide only minimal nutrition, not optimum nutrition.
Your dog’s or cat’s body is designed to absorb nutrients from fresh whole foods very efficiently.
Antioxidants are contained in the vitamins in fresh foods, including:
- Vitamin A and carotenoids, which are found in bright colored fruits and veggies like apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, peaches, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes
- Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and strawberries, as well as green peppers, broccoli and green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin E, found in nuts, seeds and whole grains
- Selenium, found in protein sources like fish, chicken, beef and eggs
Phytochemicals also contain antioxidant properties:
- Flavonoids/polyphenols are in cranberries and tea
- Lycopene is in tomatoes and watermelon
- Lutein sources are dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale
- Lignan is found in flax seed and certain other grains
ARTICLE RECAP – How to Help Your Pet Live Longer
- Pets age because free radicals cause altered gene expression and damage to our pets. This damage leads to oxidative stress and inflammation, which is associated with our pets aging and disease.
- Mother Nature. Nature provides a very powerful weapon against the aging process in the form of antioxidants.
- Studies of older dogs have proved the benefits of an antioxidant-rich diet for dogs.
- A seven-year study of kittens fed an antioxidant-rich diet showed fewer decreases in lean muscle mass; improved body weight, lean body mass, skin thickness and red cell quality; decreased incidence of disease; general improvement in quality of life; and significantly longer life span.
- Your dog or cat’s body is designed to absorb nutrients from fresh, living foods very efficiently.
- Antioxidants are contained in the vitamins in fresh foods.
I am not a Vet. While I have over 12 years’ experience rescuing, feeding and advocating for pets and have 4 rescues of my own I do not, and cannot advise anyone how to feed their pet. I can only share with you what I do to help my pets eat healthy, be healthy and live as long as possible. And that is this: I feed my pets quality dog food, and supplement it with fresh, whole living foods daily. Steven Monahan, Executive Director Founder Green Pets America Charities