Chula Veterinary Science recommends how to care for your pets and prolong their lives with antioxidant dietary supplements to help slow down aging and enhance good health in their old age.
Though aging is inevitable in humans and animals, efforts can be made to slow down the process. While humans today consume dietary supplements to slow their aging, pets should also enjoy the same benefits.
“When pets get older, their bodily systems start to deteriorate and cause symptoms such as degenerative joint disease and dementia, which can cause insomnia or uncontrollable bowel movement. Some pets can’t remember their owners. These behaviors may be the result of an increase in free radicals which is a major cause of cell degeneration in the animal body,” Dr. Thita Taecholarn, a resident veterinarian at the Cardiology Clinic, Urology Clinic, Diabetic Clinic, Small Animal Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University described aging in pets.
“Antioxidant supplements may therefore be necessary. This is because the pet’s body cannot synthesize antioxidants on its own,” said Dr. Thita, and advised owners to give antioxidant supplements to their pets because they are currently being used to slow down aging and treat diseases in pets such as dementia, arthritis, skin diseases, etc.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are unstable radicals that steal the electrons of other atoms to stabilize themselves. This occurs in both humans and animals. Free radicals snatch electrons from the organized atoms in the cell causing cells to degenerate and die and these processes induce organs deterioration and aging.
“Normally, the body is constantly getting rid of free radicals. But when humans or animals grow old or fall ill, this automatic removal system also declines and brings about an imbalance in the body. Thus antioxidants dietary supplements are necessary to help counteract the increasing amount of free radicals within the body.”
How important are antioxidants to health?
1. They help slow down the process of aging.
2. They help heal diseases such as arthritis, dementia, dermatitis, or allergies.
3. They help strengthen the immune system, increase response to vaccines, fortify bones and joints, while restoring the muscles and skin condition, reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
How to appropriately use antioxidants supplements?
Veterinarians have been using antioxidants for some time to preserve dog and cat food to keep it fresh longer. It also helps to strengthen the cells in animal’s immune systems. Antioxidants in pet food supplements today are classified into two types:
1. Anti-aging dietary supplements come in tablets to be taken orally in addition to daily meals.
2. Supplements for healing effects and treatment for diseases. These are supplements that contain certain vitamins, such as vitamin E, C, B, selenium, or omega polyunsaturated fatty acids, and are prescribed based on pets’ weight and administered under veterinarian’s supervision.
How to care for your pets for good health and longevity?
Apart from antioxidants dietary supplements, Dr. Thita recommends the following:
1. Create a pet health care program to prevent parasites, ticks, fleas, and heartworms with products the meet the standards to eliminate disease carriers.
2. Take your pet for an annual health checkup and vaccination. If the pets are over 8 years old, they should have a health check every 6 months.
3. Take care of your pet’s weight as obesity is the cause of many diseases in pets, including heart disease, high blood pressure, skin disease, dyspnea, diabetes and liver disease, etc.
4. Choose food that is full of nutrients, balanced, suitable for the age of the pet in the right amount. Most importantly, pay attention to the antioxidant supplements.
“Supplying the right amount of antioxidants is beneficial for pets of all ages, both healthy and sick animals — this reduces inflammation, slows down the degeneration of the body and enhances the immune response, ” Dr. Thita concluded.