7 Ways to Strengthen your dog’s Immune System
7 Ways to Strengthen your dog’s Immune System
As a pet parent, your dog’s immune system should be a top priority. Just like in humans, a compromised immune system leaves the door open to pathogens and illnesses that can negatively affect your dog’s quality of life. What’s the job description of a healthy immune system?
- It acts as a guard against diseases like infections, cancer, wounds, and digestive issues
- It identifies potentially harmful bacteria, pathogens and toxins early on
- If some cells behave abnormally, a strong immune system starts monitoring the situation in order to restore physiological balance
- If the immune system is unbalanced for a significant amount of time, your pet is vulnerable to chronic conditions like inflammation which may, in turn, pave the way for serious disease
There are many influences that can weaken your dog’s immune system. Some are:
- Allergies. Did you know allergies are your immune system overreacting?
- Surgery. Surgery presents your dog’s immune system with a major burden. It must heal and focus on preventing pathogens from entering the body through the incision.
- Infections. Whenever your dog is ill their immune system is weakened.
- Stress can quickly weaken your dog’s immune system.
- Hereditary immunodeficiencies. These can be primary diseases or results of underlying health conditions.
To avoid lifelong health problems, you must focus on a holistic and practical approach to promoting a healthy immune system in your dog. Start as soon as possible to ensure that you are taking preventative measures.
7 ways you can start strengthening your dog’s immune system today are:
A healthy diet full of nutrients is key in supporting immune health! Did you know 70% of your immune system is contained in the gut? Feed your dog a healthy well-balanced diet is one of the easiest ways you can boost your dog's immune system. Read labels and look for high quality ingredients. There are many great foods that you can start adding! (Mushrooms such as lions mane, reishi, shitake, and maitake qualify as a super food that provides numerous health benefits. Berries are low calories, high in antioxidants, and make a great snack. Berries to consider include cranberries, hawthorn berries, and blueberries. Carrots are another great vegetable that is high in potassium and vitamin A.
Adequate exercise. Not only does exercise promote a healthy immune system it is key in your dog’s overall health. Dogs are naturally active and storing excess fat weakens the immune system. Exercise can be so much more than taking your dog for a walk. Activities you should try include doing scent work, retrieving, training such as learning tricks, or mental stimulation through enrichment activities. Your dog’s exercise program should be based on age, breed, and general health.
Keep proper hygiene for your pet and their belongings. Dogs especially sniff and lick just about everything. Washing dishes and toys regularly helps reduce the daily load of bacteria your pet encounters. Always be careful what soaps you are using as some may be harmful to your pet. We recommend washing your dishes in hot water daily.
Be mindful of stressful situations and avoid them when you can. If you are traveling somewhere loud and crowded and your dog has anxiety, consider leaving them at home. If you’re going to have a stressful situation in your home, you need to create a safe space for your dog. Make it so that they can be as comfortable as possible. It is important to understand what causes stress for your dog.
Your veterinarian is your best resource. Taking your dog in for regular check ups is a great way to keep an eye on their immune system. Your vet is going to notice triggers and symptoms that are not obvious to you.
Consider a dog massage if it is available to you! Massages are great for your dog and promote relaxing and healing. Massages can reduce the levels of stress hormones for your dog just like it does for you!
Using supplements is a great way to boost your pet’s immune system. Remember not all supplements are created equally. Purchase your supplements from trusted companies that prioritize high quality ingredients and test for purity. If you’re looking to get started in supplements a great place to start is with a probiotic. Probiotics are microorganisms that help control and balance the digestive system and remember over 70% of your immune system can be found in the gut. Look for probiotics that also contain prebiotics, also known as a synbiotic. Fish oil is another great supplement with benefits that improve skin and coat, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, and the immune system! Look at the amounts of EPA and DHA found in your fish oil, as you will want effective dosing for the best results. Superfoods are not easily accessible in their fresh form making a supplement a better option for most dog owners. Our favorite superfood supplement for the immune system is a mushroom supplement. Watch for mushroom supplements that contain the full fruiting body and high levels of beta-d-glucan.
In today’s world your dog is exposed to more toxins than ever before, and they need extra resources to help their immune systems stay strong. A healthy immune system is a cornerstone of overall good health. What are some ways you will boost your pets immune system?
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