Antioxidants play a double role in dog food, both preserving the food and benefiting the animals’ health. However, the relationships among ingredients and associated changes in the antioxidant levels in dogs’ bodies may be complicated. A collaboration of Colombian researchers observed that dog foods with different antioxidant levels didn’t have the effects on dogs’ blood chemistry that the scientists had predicted.
Dog foods contain fats, oils and other lipids that can go bad or rancid, resulting in unwanted changes in odor, flavor and color. This decreases the dog foods’ shelf life and can cause pets to reject the food. Natural or synthetic antioxidants can help prevent this spoilage.
At the same time, antioxidants in dog food can counteract free radicals and certain oxygen molecules, called reactive oxygen species, in dogs bodies. An imbalance in the reactive oxygen types and antioxidants is called oxidative stress. Within dogs’ bodies, oxidative stress can alter the structure of DNA, proteins and other molecules, leading to cell degeneration associated with aging, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, kidney disease and cancer.
In the Journal of Vetirinary Medicine and Science, the Colombian scientists noted that little research has focused on how variations in dogs’ diets can influence pets’ levels of oxidative stress.
To explore the relationship among dog food ingredients and oxidative stress, the scientists conducted an experiment using six Beagles. Each dog ate one of four dry foods for five weeks, then switched to each of the other formulations. The formulations varied in their antioxidant profiles. Every dog ate each formulation for five weeks, and every week the researchers tested the dogs’ blood for total phenolic content, total antioxidant capacity, reactive oxygen species and cytotoxicity.
The scientists observed that although kibble affected the oxidative/antioxidant profile of blood plasma in dogs, the specific antioxidant levels of the dog food did not appear directly related to those changes. The antioxidant profile of the dogs blood seemed to be influenced by the diet’s nutritional profile and the act of eating it. However, the largest effect seemed to result from the individual dogs themselves. The scientists concluded that the biological process relating dog food formulation to oxidative/antioxidant equilibrium in dogs remains unclear.
Tim Wall covers the dog, cat and other pet food industries as a senior reporter for WATT Global Media. His work has appeared in Scientific American, Live Science, Discovery News, Honduras Weekly, Global Journalist and other outlets. He holds an M.A. in journalism and an M.S. in natural resources, both from the University of Missouri - Columbia, along with a bachelor's degree in biology.
Wall served in the Peace Corps in Honduras from 2005 to 2007, where he coordinated with the town government of Moroceli to organize a municipal trash collection system, taught environmental science, translated for medical brigades and facilitated sustainable agriculture, along with other projects.
Contact Wall via https://www.wattglobalmedia.com/contact-us/
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