Decline in Activity is a prominent sign of aging in companion dogs
A dog’s playfulness and animated demeanor can be a source of joy for pet parents and their families. As dogs age, we typically see a decline in activity which can be disconcerting for pet parents causing them to seek advice from veterinarians (e.g., what foods will give my dog more energy, and what are the best supplements for dogs to maintain vitality?) The quality of the life of a dog is a heavy topic for pet parents.
Veterinary professionals are familiar with the aging conversation and concern surrounding the decline of activity in older dogs. It’s common for dog owners to report signs of decreased activity, delayed responses to their owner’s questions, excessive sleep and general lack of excitement and playfulness.
How do declining NAD+ levels impact activity, and how can NAD+ boosting impact a dog’s vitality?
NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is an important cofactor for almost every biochemical step in the body, regulating vital cellular functions such as cellular metabolism, DNA repair, gene expression and balancing redox chemical reactions. Specifically, NAD+ is crucial for mitochondrial function. A 2018 Cell Metabolism review article about therapeutic potential for NAD+ boosting molecules indicated that NAD+ controls hundreds of key processes from energy metabolism to cell survival. As NAD+ levels decline with age, the result is altered metabolism and increased disease susceptibility. Boosting NAD+ levels has been shown to increase resilience and resistance to disease. (Navas, 2021)
How can the removal of senescent cells help dogs live healthy and vibrant lives?
As dogs age, their cells begin to senesce. Cellular senescence is an irreversible arrest of cell division. The body removes senescent cells naturally via a process called senolysis. This happens routinely in wound healing, for example. However, with age, senescent cells ultimately accumulate and accelerate the process of aging. While senescent cells lose their function, they don’t die. They enter a “zombie-like” state and damage nearby cells via inflammatory secretions. Senescent cells are thought to contribute to organ dysfunction and age-related diseases as well as the visible signs of aging.
Leap Years soft chews are specially formulated for and clinically tested in dogs. The Leap Years cellular health system’s daily regimen includes a combination of an NAD+ booster and senolytic to be administered on Days1 and 2 and subsequent daily dosing of an NAD+ booster over the course of a month. This combination is based on addressing two of the proposed twelve hallmarks of aging. Lopez-Otin et al. (2023) provides an eloquent description of the hallmarks of aging in three general categories: integrative, primary and antagonistic. (See diagram below.)
The 12 proposed in Hallmarks of aging: An expanding universe (2023 Lopez-Otin, et al).
Case Study: Improved Activity on Leap Years®
In a recent Leap Years® case study, Heather Oxford, DVM, MPH, CVA, CCRT reported visible improvement in frailty in a canine patient. Vinny, a 13-yr 10-mos-old, 15 lb, neutered, male Havanese, had a history of moderate lumbo-sacral discomfort and an inability to climb stairs. The working diagnosis was osteoarthritis. Vinny also had a history of moderate mitral valve disease and his owner referred to him as being somewhat cranky with other dogs. His medications over the past year included enalapril, Vetmedin, spironolactone and Nexgard. Vinny also received supplementation with Proviable (probiotic) and Dasuquin. He eats Just Food for Dogs twice daily.
Within two weeks of supplementation with Leap Years®, there was a marked change in Vinny’s mobility and demeanor. He was eager to go up and down stairs. He was also observed easily jumping onto chairs and benches, indicating more comfort in his lower back. Vinny’s mood also changed. With his improved condition, he became playful and engaged with other dogs.
How Leap Years® helps increase healthy activity in aging dogs
While it seems natural for activity to decline in senior dogs, it is possible to slow this aging change by maintaining cellular health with Leap Years® daily chews. Leap Years® is a chewable supplement system that works at the cellular level in two ways: to restore cellular health by boosting NAD+ production and clean out damaged cells to make room for new, healthy cells.
All dogs can take Leap Years® daily, but those middle-aged or older (estimated 50% or more of their breed’s expected lifespan) see the most benefit. It may also improve the cellular health of younger dogs with chronic diseases. For example, if a specific dog breed lives twelve years on average, it would be the right time to start the chews at six years of age.
If you’re interested in learning more about recommending Leap Years® to boost NAD+ and promote increased vitality and engagement in your patients, click here.
Navas, L.E., Carnero, A. NAD+ metabolism, stemness, the immune response, and cancer. Sig Transduct Target Ther 6, 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41392-020-00354-w
Rajman, L., Chwalek, K. and Sinclair, D.A. Therapeutic Potential of NAD-Boosting Molecules: The In Vivo Evidence. Cell Metabol. 27(3):529-547 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.11.001
Lopez-Otin, C., Blasco, M.A., et al. Hallmarks of Aging: An Expanding Universe. Cell. 186(2):243-278 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.11.001