Notes from an article about anti-aging in our dogs; by Dr. Matt Nelson, Veterinarian at Maple Ridge Vet Clinic


The article talks about the almost universally accepted Free Radical Theory. Some Experts point toward antioxidants as the answer to free radical damage. Antioxidants slow or even prevent the changes to cells by removing intermediary chemicals in the oxidation reaction of free radicals. Once the intermediate steps are stopped, damage is reduced or avoided. Many of our fruits and vegetables contain high levels of the of these antioxidants. However, diet alone cannot provide the levels of antioxidants needed without seriously affecting caloric intake and causing obesity. As with most things in life, more is not always better and in some cases, excess supplementation can result in adverse side affects. Antioxidant benefits are numerous, but lack of standardization to dosages and clear research is a concern. 

A better way to reduce the damages of the free radicals is caloric restriction, or maintaining lean body weight. Many different models, from mice and rats to fruit flies, have shown that reducing the amount of calories fed can increase life span. Even dogs have benefited. A recent landmark study showed dogs fed restricted calories actually lived almost 2 years longer than their free fed counterparts.

This article goes along with what I have always believed and promoted, the importance of not over feeding our dogs. The importance of exercise is also mentioned in the article. This is all part of being a responsible dog owner. Don’t make up for guilty feelings of not spending enough time with your dog by over feeding, or give extra food thinking your dog will love you more. Truly loving your dog means doing what is right. Don’t over feed and give them daily exercise.

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