Did you know that there are several natural antioxidants for dogs that help support a strong immune system? Better yet, they also make great dog food toppers for picky eaters!
But first things first, what are antioxidants?
Well, they’re molecules that can prevent or slow down cell damage (aka free radicals) in a living organism.
Here’s the thing:
Free radicals (i.e. the damaged cells) are caused by environmental factors such as:
- chemical pest preventatives
- highly processed dry & wet dog food
That’s why it’s important to eliminate them as much as possible if we want to keep our pups as healthy as possible.
Having said that, over the years I have drastically minimized the pups’ exposure to free radicals by:
- (1) eliminating unnecessary vaccinations
- (2) switching their diet from kibble/wet dog food to balanced raw dog food, and
- (3) using natural pest preventatives instead of chemical ones.
Of course there’s not much I can do about air and land pollution.
But what I CAN do is add natural supplements with antioxidant benefits to Missy’s, Buzz’s and Wally’s raw dog food diet as an additional layer of support.
That said, antioxidants are found in specific herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables as well as certain animal products.
You can DIY some of the ones I mention here in this blog post, and purchase others!
Benefits of Natural Antioxidants for Dogs
So yes, we know that antioxidants slow down cell damage and strengthen the immune system, but let’s take a moment to talk about what all that entails.
Natural antioxidants for dogs:
(1) Combat chronic inflammation
(2) Reduce oxidative stress
(3) Support healthy aging
(4) Support joint health
(5) Boost brain health
(6) Boost heart health
(7) Support eye health
(8) Support digestive health
5 Natural Antioxidants for Dogs That Boost The Immune System
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.
1. Bonnie and Clyde Wild Omega-3 Fish Oil
Here’s what I love about Bonnie and Clyde’s Wild Omega-3 Fish Oil.
It sets itself apart from the competition by using only 2 human-quality ingredients to make the oil (as opposed to pet-grade).
Neither have been treated with growth hormones/antibiotics/chemicals. It’s for both dogs AND cats, by the way.
Those ingredients are:
(a) fish-oil extracted from wild-caught sardines, anchovies, and mackerel
(b) natural Vitamin E from non-GMO Argentinian sunflowers (that’s the antioxidant).
By the way: Soy is one of the main sources of Vitamin E.
However, Bonnie & Clyde Premium Pet Goods chose not to source their Vitamin E from soy because many dogs are allergic to it. Love it!
Missy & Buzz would get their respective daily dosage of fish oil with their breakfast. Buzz (74 lb) got 3.5 pumps, and Missy (54 lb) got 2.5 pumps. You can give 1 pump per 20 lb of body weight.
Wally can’t have any sardines, so he doesn’t get any of Bonnie & Clyde’s fish oil. He mostly eats whole raw fish.
You can find out a lot more about this wonderful fish oil in my blog post Invest In Your Dog’s Health With Bonnie and Clyde’s Premium Wild Omega-3 Fish Oil.
Sidenote: Vitamin E can have an effect on blood clotting.
If your dog (or cat) takes blood-thinning medication or has a bleeding disorder, you should consult with your veterinarian before adding the fish oil to your pet’s diet.
2. Homemade Turmeric Paste
Turmeric is an orange spice from Southeast Asia & the Middle East with a plethora of antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-septic and liver-detoxifying benefits.
I used to just sprinkle it over Missy’s & Buzz’s meals until I learned that turmeric PASTE actually increases the health benefits!
That’s because it contains freshly ground black pepper.
Yep, you read that right.
The ground pepper increases the absorption of the turmeric 20 times!
The paste consists of:
You can feed 1/4 teaspoon of the paste per 10 lb of body weight.
My pups got/get the following amounts:
- Buzz (74 lb), 1 3/4 tsp
- Missy (54lb), 1 1/4 tsp
- Wally (38lb), 1tsp
You can read more about the paste and how to make it in my article The 5 Key Benefits Of Organic Turmeric Paste You Don’t Want Your Dog To Miss Out On…And How To DIY!
3. Homemade Bone Broth
Bone broth is a wonderful overall immune system booster because of all the minerals that are released from the bones into the broth.
I pour it over the pups’ raw dog food, but it can also be used as a dry dog food topper to entice picky eaters to eat.
You can also use it for an extra oomph in homemade pumpkin purée.
You can find the bone broth recipe in my post Bone Broth Recipe for You & Your Dog.
4. Bovine Colostrum
Colostrum is a substance in the first mother’s milk on the first couple days after giving birth.
It’s super rich in antioxidants and digestive enzymes, and helps with a plethora of issues such as:
- Leaky gut & diarrhea
- Joint pain & mobility issues due to age and arthritis
- Seasonal allergies
- Skin conditions (applied topically)
In order to apply it topically onto skin rashes, wounds and insect bites, you can mix it with distilled water to make a paste.
5. Green Lipped Mussels (GLMs)
GLMs are rich in iodine, magnesium, calcium and zinc as well as glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Their antioxidant properties help with issues such as:
- Hip dysplasia
- Joint pain
- Poor skin & coat
You can feed GLMs as a powder, add fresh GLMs to your pup’s meals or offer them as a freeze-dried snack.
Raw Paws Pet Food carries Green Lipped Mussel Powder that consists of GLMs, Turmeric and Pumpkin. Save 15% with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.
Souly Raw carries air-dried GLMs.
Caution: Don’t feed your pup GLMs if they don’t do well with shellfish. My pup Wally can’t have any because of that.
Final Thoughts on Natural Antioxidants for Dogs
Boosting our dogs’ health doesn’t require popping tons of pills and endless vaccinations.
While we can only do so much about land and/or air pollution – move and/or be more mindful about the way we live – we can be proactive and try to boost our pups’ immune systems with the help of natural antioxidants for dogs.
The 5 natural supplements I mentioned in this blog post are readily available/easy to DIY and make a great dog food topper too, so give one or some of them a try:
- Bonnie & Clyde’s Fish Oil
- Turmeric Paste
- Bone Broth
- Bovine Colostrum
- Green Lipped Mussels (GLMs)
All are easy to digest, rich in flavor, and have healing properties.
Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!
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