THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS IN PET FORMULAS
Antioxidants play a key role in keeping your pet healthy. They have two important functions: keeping food fresh and controlling the proliferation of free radicals in the body.
Including antioxidants in pet food contributes towards extending the shelf-life of the end product, preventing oxidation and helping to preserve its flavour and nutritional properties.
Oxidation is the process that takes place when food is exposed to oxygen. Oxygen progressively causes the breakdown of nutrients in food. The effects of oxidation range from discolouration to rancidity. An antioxidant compound acts in blocking or reducing the rate at which oxygen causes this breakdown.
In addition to preserving pet food, antioxidants are in charge of controlling the proliferation of free radicals. They are a natural by-product of the metabolism that can serve as a weapon to kill pathogens that invade the body. In excess, they can also be very harmful for your pet’s health. They attack a range of targets in cells, including lipid membranes, enzymes that carry out metabolic processes and even the DNA sequence.
Your pet’s nervous and immune systems are especially prone to oxidation damage. The excess of free radicals is now considered a factor in the progression of illnesses and premature ageing in dogs and cats.
The main source of antioxidants in dogs and cats should be a complete and balanced diet based on high quality ingredients. Vitamin E, vitamin C or ascorbic acid, citric acid, vitamin A and taurine, among others, are all powerful antioxidants.
They are naturally present in many pet food ingredients to increase the antioxidant content of the diet without creating nutritional imbalances.
It has been proven that antioxidants also help dogs and cats with allergies or skin problems, as well as activating the immune system in young animals, even before vaccination.