What if you could give your dog a pill that would help it live longer? A company claims it has developed just such a pill that can slow down the aging process for canines. But local veterinarians are not so sure.
"This is our child, this is our baby," said Paul Villarreal of his pitbull.
In many homes, the family dog is much more than a pet.
"These are my wife's babies," said Steve Mulligan pointing to his dogs.
"She sleeps with us, she travels with us, she 's just part of the family," said Georgia Hurley while holding her Bishon Frise.
Dogs tend to age seven times as fast as humans. Life Vantage, a company that produces supplements for people, has just developed an anti-aging pill for dogs.
Canine Health is a pet supplement that claims to reduce oxidated stress which causes problems we associate with aging.
"The way we combat it is by our bodies producing more for substance for NRF2 activation. Our technology, which is proprietary, helps both humans and dogs produce more NRF2 so they activate a mechanism that will help reduce oxidated stress," said Dr. Darlene Walley, chief science officer for Life Vantage
NRF2 is a protein that helps produce antioxidants.
But local veterinarians we spoke to are skeptical of how beneficial Canine Health could be for dogs — although they agreed some of the listed ingredients have proven helpful in reducing arthritis symptoms.
"Milk thistle is helpful. Also using Omega 3 fatty acids is helpful," said Stone Oak Pet Hospital veterinarian, Michael Woolley.
LifeVantage Canine Health costs $1 a pill, but you can find many of the same helpful ingredients for about 25 to 30 cents a pill. Depending on the weight of your dog, it is recommended to give anywhere from one to four pills a day.
LifeVantage is counting on people willing to spend $30 to $120 a month on anti-aging pills because of the great love they have for their dogs.
"I will do almost anything for them," said Yvonne Hawkins. She has two dogs: Sadie who is five and Ellie, who at the age of eight, is slowing down.
"When she gets up it's uh, uh, how we all feel when we get up in the morning at a certain age," Hawkins laughed.
She is feeding Ellie a special dog food with glucosamine to help with arthritis. And she's already doing what veterinarians say is most important to keep these furry family members living longer.
"I just have to make sure this one doesn't get overweight because she's so little," Hawkins said about Sadie.
"Probably the biggest thing to extend a dog's life is staying lean, and staying lean throughout your life, not just doing it at the end of your life," said Woolley.
A recent study sponsored by Purina Pet Foods looked at two large groups of labradors. One group ate whatever it wanted, the second group ate 70 percent less.
"The second group lived two years longer. And two years in a labs life is like 10 to15 of our life — which is pretty huge," said Woolley.
That's an anti-aging program anyone can put into practice.