Pet owners that have dogs in the family enjoy the unconditional love they receive from these amazing animals. Not only that, but our canine companions are good for our mental and physical health. It’s no wonder that we strive to do our best for our pets!
One easy thing we can do to promote the overall health and well-being of our fur babies is to protect their immune system. By proactively taking several simple steps, we can help our pups to be more disease resistant and have greater longevity.
Are you sold on these reasons for boosting your dog’s immune system? Great! Let’s take a closer look at what dog owners can do to achieve these benefits for their canines.
The Importance of a Healthy Immune System
For humans and animals alike, a healthy immune system is critical. This is how the body protects itself from infections and illnesses – it’s the first line of defense, in other words. There’s no shortage of bacteria, toxins, pathogens, parasites, and viruses in our environment. Immune systems are designed to root out and expel harmful substances that invade the body.
This makes it essential to support a healthy immune system for your pooch. If your pet’s immunity is compromised, they’re much less able to fend off diseases. Even minor infections that may otherwise have healed without incident can be a challenge for your pup to recover from.
The troubling part is that with each new virus or stress that your dog’s weakened immune system is unable to handle, your pet will become sicker. You may not see this right away. However, over time, the toxic effects of various harmful substances can lead to allergies, digestive problems, cancer or diseases of the heart, liver or kidneys. An autoimmune disorder is also a possibility.
How Does a Dog’s Immune System Work?
A dog’s immune system functions optimally when cells and tissues are healthy. If there’s damage to any part of the dog’s body, the immune system’s job is to assist in restoring health. It does this by using substances like antibodies and white blood cells to guard against infections, and remove pathogens and foreign matter.
Antibodies, or immunoglobins proteins, have specific functions. For instance, some immunoglobins protect the skin, respiratory passages and other exposed areas from a build up of immediate invaders.
Many organs throughout the dog’s body have a role to play in the immune function. These include the thymus, spleen, liver, lungs, and intestines. These are referred to as lymphoid organs, essentially because they produce white blood cells called lymphocytes that help fight infection and disease.
When a dog has an infection in one part of their body, messages are sent to bring enough of these immune cells from elsewhere to the site. Unwanted microorganisms and other invaders are then collected and cast out.
Ways to Naturally Boost Your Dog’s Immune System
Now that you have an idea of how crucial a strong immune system is, are you wondering what you can do to encourage it? The good news is there are a number of ways to boost your dog’s immune system naturally. Here are things you can get started on right away to improve your canine’s immunity.
It shouldn’t surprise you that dog food is the first on our list to talk about. Take care to feed your pup a balanced diet with high-quality ingredients. This means looking for content like carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Some dog foods include ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, echinacea and vitamin C that can support immune function.
If you’re not too sure what dog foods are the best for Bonnie or Butch, or what ingredients are best, ask your vet for their advice. They know your pooch and can tell you what nutrients your pet can benefit from in their diet and may suggest a particular product.
The main reason that it’s so important to give your pooch good food is that gut health is critical for a healthy immune system. Would you believe that 70% to 80% of your dog’s immune system is in their gastrointestinal tract?
The stomach has something called a microbiome. It’s made up of good bacteria that’s responsible for digesting food and extracting the nutrients for the body to use. These bacteria, in turn, are fed by the nutrients in food, so a balanced diet is necessary.
It’s no secret that dogs love to run and play. While all dogs differ when it comes to exercise needs, they do have to be active on a daily basis. Regular walks are a good place to start. Add to that a little off leash time, retrieving a ball or running with you along a trail.
If your doggo is into it, you can introduce them to a few dog sports. Of course, there’s sometimes inclement weather that makes getting outside difficult. That’s when play time indoors is a must.
A dog that gets regular exercise with activities that are appropriate to their age and health conditions, will have a strong immunity. Exercise is a really straightforward approach that has great rewards. It can help reduce inflammation, assist with weight management, improve mood and provide a host of other health benefits. What’s more, exercising with our fur babies has health advantages for pet parents too!
Keeping Snoopy or Stella well hydrated is another tip for promoting immune system health. Since water makes up almost 80% of a dog’s body, it’s a critical component of a properly functioning system. Most dogs need to drink roughly 12 ounces of water each day for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Granted, the amount will depend on a few factors. Warm weather and a higher activity level will increase your canine’s water intake. In addition, a dog’s breed and age influences how much hydration is needed. Regardless, be sure that your fur baby always has a full bowl of fresh water accessible to them.
Here’s what hydration does for your pooch:
- Aids digestion
- Flushes away harmful toxins
- Promotes breathing and oxygen processing
- Regulates body temperature
- Supports blood flow to muscles, brain and organs
Keep up on Vet Checks
It goes without saying that booking regular assessments with your vet is one of the best things you can do for your doggo. Veterinary medicine continues to uncover new research all the time. If there’s anything to new, it stands to reason that your vet will know. Add to that the fact that your veterinarian is familiar with the health history of your pooch and how to best improve their immunity.
All dogs need regular baths and clean surroundings. Keeping their food and water bowls clean and washing toys frequently is necessary. While a little bacterium can actually help strengthen immune system function, you do need to do some cleaning.
As you know, dogs aren’t very discriminating when it comes to what they get into. They’re apt to roll in all kinds of dirt outdoors and lick anything they find interesting. So, they definitely need a little assistance with hygiene!
Supplements to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System
As mentioned, the best canine foods contain vitamins and minerals necessary for immune system health. They often include different nutritional supplements too. That said, the amount of these substances in foods is usually not enough for your pup’s needs.
This is where giving your dog a separate nutritional supplement is a great idea. There are a wide range of natural, holistic high-quality supplements available that can pack a powerful nutritional punch. Plus, these are quite affordable. When deciding which immune system booster to use, here’s what to know.
Canine probiotics are a solid immune booster for dogs. Considering that such an overwhelming percentage of your pup’s immune system is based in their gut, this makes sense. Probiotics support the gut’s production of good bacteria responsible for ingesting food and extracting essential nutrients your pup’s body relies on.
Your dog’s microbiome, or good bacteria, depends on the probiotics as a food source. With the production of enough of these beneficial bacteria, your pet’s immune system is able to more effectively deal with the invading bad bacteria, pathogens and other unwanted substances. A robust gut microbiome is really a necessity for your pet’s health and overall well-being.
The benefits of dog probiotics are as follows:
- Alleviates diarrhea and nausea
- Helps with nutrient absorption
- Promotes digestion
- Restores balance to gastrointestinal tract
- Supports immune system function
Turkey Tail Mushroom
Mushrooms have been studied for years for their health-giving properties. Turkey Tail mushrooms contain a variety of antioxidants. They also have helpful compounds called beta-glucans and Polysaccharide K (PSK).
PSK is beneficial when cancer is present. It has been demonstrated that beta-glucans promote activation of immune cells, stimulating a robust immune response. This substance in Turkey Tail has been given to immune-compromised dogs with rewarding results.
In short, the immune-boosting characteristics of these mushrooms contribute to the body’s success in fighting harmful free radicals and controlling inflammation. This natural product assists in protecting your furry friend from bacteria like E. coli, yeast infections, viruses and other invaders. Furthermore, if you’re dealing with an event like cancer, it can also assist.
Omega Fish Oils
A fish oil supplement is something you may already have heard of. These products contain omega-3 fatty acids known to assist a dog’s immunity. In addition, a fish oil supplement will help in other ways such as:
- Boost joint health
- Increase overall strength
- Promote healthy skin
- Reducing shedding and keep coat shiny
- Soothing dry itchy skin
- Support brain function
Why Use Supplements to Boost a Dog’s Immune System?
When you think about the incredible importance of a dog’s immune system to their overall health and longevity, offering a supplement might sound like a no-brainer. Supplements give your doggo a nutritional advantage, plain and simple.
All-natural dog supplements are specifically designed to boost your pup’s immunity. They assist with controlling inflammation, alleviating stress and much more.
As a devoted pet parent, you probably make sure that your doggo has all the required vaccinations and scheduled veterinary check-ups, right? You also purchase high-quality foods for your pet and look after them in so many other ways. Including a supplement in your dog’s diet is simply another very worthwhile step to take to provide the best in doggie care.
Our Final Thoughts
There are quite a number of methods you can employ to a give your dog’s immune system a boost − some of them, you’re likely already doing. Take time today to investigate further a few of the steps we’ve suggested.
Decide how you’ll incorporate them into your care-taking routine for your pet. The resulting gleam in your dog’s eyes and the healthy spring in their step will be well worth your efforts!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I boost my dog’s immune system?
The good news is there are a number of ways to do this naturally. Offering a high-quality diet, enough exercise, clean water, proper hygiene, veterinarian check-ups and supplements are all good practices.
What vitamins are good for dogs’ immune system?
Vitamin C is good for your dog’s immune system. Supplements like omega fish oils, probiotics and Turkey Tail mushroom are also helpful.
What can I give my dog for a low immune system?
The natural compound called beta-glucan, found in Turkey Tail mushroom, has been given to immune-compromised dogs with beneficial results. Turkey Tail has a variety of helpful antioxidants too.
What is the strongest immune booster?
The strongest immune booster is the one that will meet the needs of your particular pet. Talk to your veterinarian for their advice.