Could French Grape Seed also be used on pets?
Q. Dear Terry, “I have read your article on the benefits of French grape seed extract that is rich in OPCs. Could this ingredient also be used on pets, such as my small senior dog?” — Stacie A., Jacksonville, FL
A. Dear Stacie, I am an animal lover myself, and my dogs are two of my favorite companions. We want the best for our pets when it comes to diet, care, exercise, and also supplementation. While it is advised to not feed fresh or dried grapes to dogs (or cats), grape seed extract is a different story.
In humans, grape seed extract is used for a variety of health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and many other chronic diseases that are often attributed to the aging process. Fortunately, many of the same health benefits to humans apply to our four-legged friends as well. As dogs age they can have memory and learning issues, eye problems, and arthritis symptoms that are very similar to humans. A 2008 cellular study (using cultured cells so no animals were harmed) demonstrated that grape seed extract can protect canine lens epithelial cells from the oxidative stress and inflammatory changes that can progress to cataracts.
So I think adding French grape seed extract is a great way to keep your senior pet healthy. As you may remember from the grape seed article, the best grape seed extract is standardized to contain only OPCs that are small enough to be absorbed. Many extracts contain tannins, which are too large to be effectively absorbed and don’t contribute to you or your dog’s health the same way that OPCs do.
Because grape seed extract is water soluble, you could put 75-150 mg in your dog’s water bowl, or sprinkle it over food.
For additional support, you could also add curcumin to your pet’s daily regimen. Curcumin is great for the brain and neurological system because it decreases inflammation that can adversely affect your pet’s health. I would give 200 mg per day of an enhanced absorption curcumin that has been scientifically studied in dogs.
Please remember to discuss any supplement usage with your veterinarian, as they may have additional insight.
Terry . . . Naturally