When it comes to your pet’s health and wellness, it turns out that you can teach an old dog some new tricks! The key is to take good care of their brain health starting from day one. From the playful puppy stage to senior dogs enjoying their golden years, there are functional supplements that can support your dog’s cognitive health to keep them living life to the fullest.
One of the best ways that pet owners can support their dog’s cognitive health throughout all life stages is with a supplement like krill oil.
While there are several sources of marine ingredients that can be added to pet food and supplements to improve overall health, these sources are all delivered into the body in different ways, which is the same for animals and humans alike.
Omega-3s in krill, for example, are attached to phospholipids, a very efﬁcient way to deliver vital fatty acids to the brain.
Krill - one ingredient, many beneﬁts
Did you know that krill supports more than just skin and joint health for dogs? Antarctic krill offers multiple beneﬁts and is delivered to the body and brain cells in an efﬁcient way.
Krill is naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), choline, astaxanthin and marine proteins:
Omega-3s (EPA/DHA) are vital for the maintenance of cognitive function, especially during a dog’s early and senior years.
Choline is essential for brain health and is vital for carrying neuro signals through the brain, among other functions.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that protects all the cells in the dog’s body, including the brain. In fact, studies show that astaxanthin supports the immune system, improves vaccine response, and has anti-inflammatory properties (Chew et al, 2011), important for keeping brain cells healthy. It has also been shown to be more than 100 times more powerful than vitamin E (Miki, 1991).
“Consumers are seeking out healthy foods and supplements with functional ingredients and proven health benefits such as Omega-3 fatty acids for their pets,” says Tonje Dominguez, Director Specialty Animal Nutrition Products, Aker BioMarine.
“Ingredients that are of high quality, or even those of human-grade level, are becoming the ‘norm’ and we are seeing this at all stages of life for our dogs, not just with senior pets. And while krill is a super ingredient with whole health benefits, we can see that it is very important for brain health and that is something that more pet owners should be aware of."
The health benefits of omega-3s and choline for pets
Lifelong preventative brain care (from good nutrition) is a MUST
Just like humans, the brains of puppies are underdeveloped when they are born, with most major brain growth happening during the ﬁrst 3-4 months of a puppy’s lifetime. The brain itself is composed of 50 percent fat, and DHA makes up 10-20 percent of all fats and more than 90 percent of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the brain.
This explains why DHA is widely believed to play an integral role in the proper development and functioning of the brain, impacting attention, memory, and trainability.
The long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids in krill can help pups during development and support an older dog’s cognitive functions, making krill an ideal brain food for all age groups.
Treating senior dogs to extra cognitive TLC
Aging dogs can sometimes show early signs of brain disorders that can be similar to human aging and Alzheimer’s Disease. (Vite et al, 2014). In fact, like humans, dogs can also experience age-related pathological changes in the brain.
That is why it’s important for pet parents to support their dog’s health with functional supplements and ingredients that support brain health, such as marine-based Omega-3s.
Incorporating Omega-3s (via krill) into your dog’s diet may help address those pathological changes earlier on. The question then becomes... which krill-based supplement should you try to support your pet?
*This article first appeared in the Pet Age Magazine