dog treatThe market is flooded with supplements that promise to improve our over-all health and well being, help us look younger, age slower, live longer, and keep us fit and well. And this not only for us humans, but for are canine companions as well.

Dog supplements are exploding in the market, making pretty much the same claim as human supplements do. So before you jump into the Pro dog supplement band wagon, there are somethings you have to know first.

Your dog’s age

Dog’s age way faster than humans. About seven times faster. Do not be surprised if some major health changes seem to happen overtime. Dogs mature between their first and second birthday. Dr. Denham Harman’s Free Radical Theory of Aging says that aging is a process in which the body’s systems deteriorate faster than the body can repair them.

Free radicals are harmful compounds that are toxic, electrically charged and unstable. They cause changes by causing oxidative damages to the body. Free radicals are produced faster with age and weaken your dog’s natural defenses. Experts also associate free radicals to the development of almost 90% of age-related chronic conditions associated with aging, such as :

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Premature aging

Thus, what we feed and supplement our dog are very important.

A healthy diet for your dog

Most pet nutritionists suggest a fresh home-made diet. Some would suggest that a diet of vegetarian or raw foods are the best option for a healthy diet. To know what kind of diet is appropriate for your dog, consult with you veterinarian. Also, practice giving your dog healthy treats or snacks, preferably those that are rich in antioxidants, such as:

  • Oranges – rich in Vitamin C
  • Tomatoes – lycopene
  • Sweet Potatoes – Vitamin E and Beta Carotene
  • Carrots – Beta Carotene
  • Cantaloupe – Beta Carotene
  • Asparagus Tips – Beta Carotene

Antioxidants to help your dog live longer

Researchers found that antioxidants are very helpful in boosting your dog’s health as well as lengthening its life. However, researchers also found that rather than giving your dog supplements when he/she is in his/her prime, it is best that you give your dog supplements early – before free radical damage has occurred. Research shows that it can help increase the healthy lifespan of your dog by as much as 20%. Other good sources of antioxidants are:

Bioflavinoids, which help to decrease allergic reactions, asthmatic attacks and have anti-cancer benefits for your dog.

Green Tea, whose antioxidants may decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer and help protect the blood vessels nourishing your dog’s heart and brain.

Melatonin, a potent antioxidant that acts to normalize sleep patterns. It also protects your dog’s brain and has been used successfully with cancer therapy.

Lutein, a plant pigment from marigolds, helps to protect your dog’s eyes and may reduce the risk of cataracts.

Antioxidants are especially beneficial to dog’s (and humans) who have cancer. In more controlled studies, subjects show a better tolerance for treatments, experienced less weightloss and enjoyed a better quality of life. Plus they live longer than individuals who did not take supplements.

Other Important Nutritional Supplements for Your Dogs

Glucosamine – an amino sugar naturally produced in your dog’s body from glucose (present in your dog’s blood sugar) + the amino acid glutamine helps:

  • the cartilage between the joints retain water so the cartilage can act like a cushion to absorb shock and withstand compression
  • decrease joint inflammation and pain
  • promote cartilage repair
  • aid healing of damaged joints
  • increase mobility in dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia

Essential Fatty Acids – are vital to life and support all bodily functions. Researchers suggest a ration of 5:1 of Omega 6 and 3 provide the best benefits. Fatty Acids help in:

  • keeping cell membranes soft and supple, for better nutrient absorption
  • enhancing your dog’s skin and hair coat, relieve flea allergies and bacterial skin infections and food intolerances
  • the normal development of the nervous system and brain
  • preserving mental clarity & decrease risk of Alzheimer’s disease & dementia
  • reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure
  • provide healing effects for arthritis, cancer therapy, kidney disorders, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease

Amino Acids – Glutamin is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is the major energy source for cells that line the digestive system and strengthen the immune system. Amino acids help in:

  • healing the digestive system so there less bowel disorders.
  • Reducing muscle loss during injury, stress or high endurance exercises.
  • Preserving memory and in preventing harmful effects of the hormone Cortisol which is responsible for accelerating the aging process.

Digestive Enzymes – are produced by the salivary, glands, stomach, pancreas, and liver and are released to into the digestive tract. They help:

  • break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates in food so it can be absorbed and used
  • the body recover from illnesses and boost restoration of good health
  • reduce pain, swelling, trauma and help speed up recovery.
  • Support your dog’s immune system and enhance the ability to fight diseases
  • cancer therapy
  • relieve rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis.

Apart from these, there are also a number of other supplements that you may want to consider providing your dog. Combined with the mother’s milk, relaxation, positive mental attitude and clean water, your dog should have a long and healthy life.