In the wild, keen eyesight is essential for daily survival. Working and companion dogs need good eyesight to communicate, stay active, and live life to the fullest. The canine eye is adapted for excellent night vision, and depth perception that’s controlled by muscles in the eye, and a crystal clear lens for focus. In the back of the eye, the retina transmits information from light passing through the lens to the optic nerve that processes images in the brain.
Between the ages of 8-10, eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal degeneration, and cloudy lens (nuclear sclerosis) are more common. These conditions are most often the result of low endogenous antioxidant levels leading to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The ocular surface is affected by external sources of ROS triggered by UV, dry eye, and pollution. These environmental stressors are in addition to ROS produced as a byproduct of mitochondrial activity in the very metabolically active photo receptors of the eye.
Filling the Antioxidant Gap in the Canine Diet
Antioxidants can help fight back against rising free radical levels. In pet food, antioxidants can be used as a natural preservative to prolong the shelf life of the food. Alternatively, physiological antioxidants bring additional health benefits by scavenging free radicals and protecting cells of the companion animals enjoying the food. This becomes especially important as dogs age and their internal antioxidant capacity is diminished.