Selenium is a chemical element needed in the diet, but what exactly are the benefits of selenium and what happens if our pets don’t get enough?
Selenium is not something we should be adding to our pet’s diet unless we know they are deficient, but a deficiency can cause health problems. Be sure to seek professional veterinary or nutritional advice on an individual basis before taking steps to increase your dog or cat’s selenium intake.
Read on for some of the benefits of selenium…
The Beneficial Properties of Selenium
Selenium has many beneficial functions including:
- Anti-cancer properties
- Aiding joint health
- Improved skin condition
- Improved coat health
- Strengthening immune resistance
- Antioxidant properties
We think you’ll agree that the benefits of selenium are quite impressive!
The body needs selenium and if it doesn’t get enough, this can cause serious health problems, such as the weakening of joint cartilage. This is true for both ourselves and our pets.
A deficiency of selenium may also result in premature ageing, heart disease and dry flaky skin.
Other problems caused by a deficiency in selenium include a reduction in the number of white blood cells, a problem that becomes worse if suffering from a vitamin E deficiency as well, and diseases of the muscle tissue.
The Benefits of Selenium
Selenium protects body cells, it can help:
- Prevent free radical generation
- Preserves tissue elasticity
- Slow down the ageing process of tissues
- Treat and prevent dry, flaky skin
Selenium is especially beneficial to animals being treated with steroids as they are known to deplete the natural levels of selenium in the body.
Animals that are stressed are known to lose large amounts of selenium, making less selenium available in the blood and increasing the likelihood of deficiency.
The Benefits of Selenium on Skin Health
Some pets are more prone to dry, flaky skin than others. Poor skin health can lead to hair loss, dandruff, itchy or flaky skin and depression. As the skin becomes sore, pets are more likely to scratch or bite the affected area, making the condition worse!
Selenium can increase the health of the skin and potentially reduce the dryness associated with sore skin. Selenium also plays an important role in hair growth, allowing hair to grow back healthy and strong. Coat quality will also improve, making the coat softer and shiny. Healthy skin ultimately means less shedding and hair loss.
Natural Sources of Selenium
Selenium is a natural element found in many foods, but it is found in some foods more than others. The best natural dietary sources of selenium in the diet include cereals and grains, fish, meat and poultry.
High quality pet food brands will contain all the selenium your pet needs to stay healthy. Fortunately, because of this, selenium deficiency these days is quite rare.
Selenium can be toxic in high doses and there is a narrow gap between a safe dose of selenium and a toxic dose. As such, selenium shouldn’t be added to a pet’s diet unless specifically recommended by a nutritionist or vet.