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Clement Lochner
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

How Oxidative Stress Affects Our Pets


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Our pets dedicate their lives to making us feel happy, and pleasing us with their silly actions. But as our pets age, they can develop age-related problems the same as humans do. It’s heartbreaking to watch our pets mentally decline with age.

Oxidative stress in our pets is a major cause of degenerative conditions such as arthritis and other ailments that plague aging animals. By definition, oxidative stress is the destruction to cells caused by free radical molecules. This happens when there aren’t enough antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals.

Oxidation is a normal process that occurs everywhere in nature.It happens within the body every day, and it has a cumulative effect over the years. This is why so many conditions in humans and animals have their onset in middle and older age.

What Stress Can Do to Your Pets

If your pet is stressed for a long period of time, you might start noticing changes in his health or behavior, some of which can lead to serious problems if not addressed quickly and properly. Here are a couple of ways stress can affect your pet.

Loss of Appetite

Any type of stress can cause a loss of appetite, but prolonged stress can cause weight loss from decreased food intake.

Some dogs suffering from stress may start chewing or eating non-food objects. Like toys, doors, and window sills. Stress in pets can also lead to obsessive licking, even to a point of injury.

Weakened Immune System

When pets are stressed, their bodies release the hormone cortisol as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. Cortisol helps the body respond to a stressful event–for example, by directing blood flow to the muscles— but when stress becomes a chronic problem, cortisol also causes problems, such as a weak immune system. Accordingly, it is important to minimize your pets stress levels; otherwise, over time, a mild problem can potentially become a major issue.


When a pet is in a stressful situation, the body will release adrenaline, another fight-or-flight hormone. Like cortisol, adrenaline can help a pet survive an immediate threat. For example, adrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure, but these temporary benefits also come with downsides. Adrenaline causes a decrease in blood flow to the intestines and stomach, which can result in diarrhea in many pets.

Some Statistics:

More than 1 out of every 5 suffer from hip dysplasia and /or some form of osteoarthritis. Pets can suffer from various types of cancer, and autoimmune diseases are becoming more commonly diagnosed. pets can suffer from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCF) or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) and it can start to show as young as age seven. Your pet can start to show the same cognitive decline as elderly people. Some signs can include disorientation, a reduced ability to interact socially, house soiling, destructive behavior, lethargy and disturbance in sleep patterns.

When Your Pets Age:

When your pet’s body ages, it’s going through metabolic changes. Normal cell activity produces by-products that build up in the body like toxins. Destructive enzymes attack healthy cells. An excess of fat due to poor diet weakens the immune system. The free radicals can disrupt the cell’s functions, preventing them from building vital issues such as cartilage. As this is happening, there are also external stresses to a pet’s system. Pollution, chemicals and cigarette smoke will all speed up the oxidative process

When your pet experiences oxidative stress, his body may start to exhibit the signs of age that we all recognize. The entire aging process, in fact, is due in large part to the effects of oxidation. Protecting your pet with antioxidants is one of the measures that can be taken to help protect them against the ravages of the oxidative process. While it’s not possible to prevent aging, it is possible to lessen the painful process of it.

A diet rich in antioxidants can help counteract the effects of free radicals but that still may not be enough. Some other brain-boosting/free radical neutralizing ingredients include:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids benefit your pets from head to tail! DHA and EPA can help fight obesity, decrease inflammation, combat arthritis and cancer and promote overall health. You will want to make sure that the Omega-3 you are giving your pets is high quality, free of contaminants and heavy metals.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has a high level of medium chain triglycerides and has many other therapeutic qualities. It has also shown to have the ability to improve the brain function in older pets and people.

Milk Thistle: Milk thistle shows tremendous promise as a therapeutic agent as well as preventing impairment of short and long-term memory and recognition memory.

Bottom Line:

The biggest thing here is keeping our pets active, and healthy, for as long as possible.I hope the suggestions above will help benefit your pets.

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