Your dog needs antioxidants to help promote a healthy immune system. This is why every IAMS™ dog formula contains optimal levels of these nutrients.
Antioxidants are important naturally occurring nutrients that help maintain your dog’s health by slowing the destructive oxidative process of cellular molecules. IAMS research is advancing antioxidant nutrients for senior dogs — and the benefit is improved immune function.
Discover how the antioxidants in IAMS products can benefit your dog’s health in a number of ways.
The Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are 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). When antioxidants are part of a dog’s complete diet, they can provide the following benefits:
- Slowing the oxidative process of cellular molecules
- Reversing decreases in immune-cell function in senior dogs
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 it kills germs and parasites. However, when left unchecked, peroxidation also destroys or damages healthy cells.
Antioxidants help prevent widespread cellular destruction by willingly donating components to stabilize free radicals. More importantly, antioxidants return to the surface of the cell to stabilize rather than damage other cellular components.
When there are not enough antioxidants to hold peroxidation in check, free radicals begin damaging healthy cells, which can lead to problems. For example, free radical damage to immune cells can lead to an increased risk of infections.
Antioxidants in IAMS Adult Dog and Puppy Foods
Recent research has examined the benefits of certain antioxidants on the immune response of dogs, and the results of these studies indicated that antioxidants are important in helping dogs maintain a healthy immune system.
IAMS adult and puppy formulas contain optimal levels of antioxidants such as:
|Vitamin E||Plant oil extract and tocopherols||Optimizes immune system’s T-cell activation|
|Beta-carotene||Vitamin premix, corn meal, chicken by-product meal and chicken fat||Optimizes types of cell present in the blood,
increases antibody levels in the blood
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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