Antioxidants

Several of my past blog posts have contained the word ‘antioxidant’ and I’ve realized I haven’t really explained what they are. So, this is my perfect chance to enlighten you, the people of the dog world, to what antioxidants are and why your dog needs them in their diet.

First things first, there are many chemical reactions like digestion and metabolism, that go on in the dog’s body 24/7. Without even trying to, the body produces little leftover molecules from all of these chemical reactions called free radicals. Those radicals are allowed to roam free, and cause oxidative damage to cells which can cause diseases like cancer, and can lead to death.

The body has a few defense mechanisms to combat free radicals, but they can’t keep up with the environmental stressor a dog faces every day. For example, UV rays from the sun, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, industrial fumes and even breathing can increase free radicals formation. Also, age has a factor on free radical destruction. The aging dog has fewer defense mechanisms to combat free radicals and is one explanation to why older dogs have higher cancer rates.

This is where antioxidants come into the picture.

Antioxidants take high energy free radicals, and dissipates their energy so they cannot cause damage.

Let’s make it simpler: Antioxidants are like oven mitts and free radicals are like a hot potato. If you take a hot potato out of an oven with lots of heat and hold it, it will burn your hand. But, if you take it out of the oven with oven mitts and pass it around from place to place while the heat dissipates, there will be less to no damage to your hand.

All in all, free radicals can cause a lot of damage to our dog’s body but our dogs can be protected easily by supplementing antioxidant rich foods in their diet! Stay tuned for next week when I highlight one of my favourite antioxidant-rich foods!


Happy Eating!

 

Dogs and Carbohydrates

There are so many different opinions on grain-free diets for dogs and it can be rather confusing. Some veterinarians say that complex carbohydrates are good, others say they are bad. What is the deal?

THE TRUTH IS:

Dogs DO NOT NEED carbs at all in their diet because they can get the same nutrients found in carbs from meat and fat!

Let’s break it down even further:

From a digestive system standpoint, dogs are considered omnivores, which means they can eat just about anything; plant or animal. We all know the dog was evolved and domesticated from the wolf, who are considered strict meat-eaters. Honestly, our dog’s digestive system is not drastically different from the meat-loving wolves, so why are grains usually the number one ingredient in most commercial dog foods? That’s an easy answer: grains are cheap. They cost exponentially less than meat and create a binding agent for kibble. Most dogs can digest these grains and live their lives in fairly good health, however, the increase rise in cancer rates and obesity are believed to be caused by grains in their diet. Several studies have been done to try to figure out if dogs could process grains and the results were pretty shocking. Grains in a dog’s diet can lead to poor gut health, decreased immune function, and chronic inflammation, which in turn leads to some very sick puppies.

Although dogs don’t necessarily need carbohydrates in their meals, some fruits and vegetables have been found to have multiple health benefits. Fruits and vegetables contain essential and accessible vitamins and minerals that dogs require in their diet.  Adding digestible fruits and vegetables can create a balanced diet, especially if you cook for your dog!

Dogs can efficiently digest certain carbohydrates found in their diet, which is why they are considered omnivores. However, more research has led to scientists believing complex carbohydrates, like grains, lead to damaging inflammation in the gut. The constant inflammation can lead to overall ill health and has been linked to the rising cancer rates. Dogs can greatly benefit from a grain-free diet, and be healthier for it!

Why I Only Feed My Dog Homemade Dog Food

Why I Only Feed My Dog Homemade Dog Food

For almost a year now, I’ve been home-cooking for my two-year-old Golden Retriever, Ainsley. Home-cooked meals are such a controversial subject, and believe me, I’ve heard of all the excuses, like: How do you know if their meal is balanced? I hardly have time to cook for myself! It costs way too much! I can tell you that all of these excuses are just that - excuses. It hardly takes any effort at all to feed a home-cooked meal, and Ainsley is living proof of its benefits.