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Why Your Dog Needs Antioxidants
Why Your Dog Needs Antioxidants

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Why Your Dog Needs Antioxidants

Where Are Antioxidants Found?

Antioxidants are nutrients found naturally in the body and in plants such as fruits and vegetables. Common antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and certain compounds called carotenoids (like lutein and beta-carotene).

 
How Antioxidants Work

As cells function normally in the body, they produce damaged molecules called free radicals. These free radicals are highly unstable and steal components from other cellular molecules, such as fat, protein, or DNA, thereby spreading the damage.

This damage continues in a chain reaction, and entire cells soon become damaged and die. This process is called peroxidation. Peroxidation is useful because it helps the body destroy cells that have outlived their usefulness and kills germs and parasites. However, peroxidation, when left unchecked, also destroys or damages healthy cells.

Antioxidants help prevent widespread cellular destruction by stabilizing free radicals. More important, antioxidants return to the surface of the cell to stabilize, rather than damage, other cellular components.

When there are not enough antioxidants to keep peroxidation in check, free radicals begin damaging healthy cells, which, in turn, can lead to problems. For example, free-radical damage to cells of the immune system can lead to an increased risk of infections.

 
Antioxidants and Immune Response

Because antioxidants play a key role in minimizing damage to human cells, such as those that make up the immune system, research examined the benefits of certain antioxidants on the immune response of dogs. The results of these studies indicated that antioxidants are important in helping dogs maintain a healthy immune system.

  • Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

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    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

    How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.

     

    1. The Ingredient Panel

    This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
     

    Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.

     

    2. The Guaranteed Analysis

    Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.

     

    3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address

    This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.

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