The immune system is how the body protects itself from infections and illnesses. Our environment is full of harmful bacteria, toxins, parasites, and viruses. Without a healthy immune system, your dog’s body is at the mercy of all these disease-causing agents.
If your pet’s immunity is not at its best, their ability to defend themselves against these agents is compromised. Even minor infections that would otherwise not result in any symptoms may pose a threat to your dog.
Adult, healthy dogs have an efficient immune system. However, the system has to be maintained and cared for to be able to function properly. This is where the natural immune booster for dogs kicks in.
How can I Boost My Dog’s Immune System?
For a strong healthy immune system, feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet. Ensure to use only high-quality dog food with high-quality ingredients. A balanced diet must provide all nutrients including carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins in the right amounts.
All nutrients are essential for a healthy immune system but some are especially crucial like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
Probiotics are another component of the diet that greatly affects the immune system. Try to incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt into your dog’s diet to boost her numbers of good bacteria, also known as the microbiome.
In addition to probiotic-rich foods, you should also provide foods rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods that support the lives of probiotics. These are mostly fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
Exercise can protect your dog’s immune system by helping them get rid of excess body fat. Too much body fat increases the levels of inflammation and oxidative damage to the body.
Oxidative damage results in the destruction of body cells including immune cells.
Encourage your dog to take part in some form of exercise like running, walking, or playing games. If done right, exercise can be an enjoyable activity for your dog especially if we consider that dogs are naturally active animals.
Sometimes natural means may not be enough to keep a dog’s immunity strong and healthy. In this case, a supplemental immune booster for dogs can be of use.
Immune-boosting supplements include CBD, herbal supplements like mushrooms and turmeric, vitamin supplements, and fish oil supplements.
To get the most out of your dog’s supplements, use only high-quality immune boosters for dogs from vet-approved reputable brands.
What Causes a Weak Immune System in Dogs?
The causes of a weak immune system in a dog can be grouped into two: genetic and environmental causes.
Genetic causes are the type that a dog is born with. Usually, a dog will inherit these from one or both of the parents. There are many types of genetic immunity conditions including:
- Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency. This is a condition where a dog’s white blood cells are not able to stick to invading cells to destroy them.
- Immunoglobulin Deficiency. This is where a dog is unable to produce immunoglobulins or antibodies against diseases.
- Selective Immune Deficiency is a condition where a certain breed of dog cannot respond adequately to a specific disease. For example, Rottweilers are very prone to Parvovirus because of this.
In many cases, genetic immune deficiencies are fatal in the first years of life. This is because puppies are especially prone to infections which can kill them if they cannot defend themselves.
Environmental causes of weak immunity include anything in a dog’s environment that compromises her immune system. This can be diet, hygiene, living conditions, stress, and other diseases like cancer.
What Foods Act Like an Immune Booster for Dogs?
Bananas for Dogs
Bananas are a great snack option for dogs. They can boost a dog’s immunity by providing fiber which is a prebiotic and other micronutrients like potassium and magnesium. They are also very convenient as they are affordable, available all year round, and easy to transport.
Carrots for Dogs
Carrots are rich in vitamin A which is one of the most important nutrients for a dog’s immune system. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and also protects the health of all body cells including white blood cells. You can give your dog raw or cooked carrots. Cooked carrots however give more nutrients as they are easier to digest.
Pumpkin for Dogs
Similar to carrots, pumpkins are also rich in vitamin A, Be sure to only use fresh or high-quality canned pumpkins for your dog. Some brands may add sugars and other preservatives to their canned pumpkin. Therefore, either prepare the pumpkin at home or choose plain, unsweetened canned pumpkin versions.
Blueberries for Dogs
Berries, particularly blueberries, are one of the best sources of antioxidants in nature. Oxidative damage is a great threat to the immune system. Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries can protect your dog’s immune cells from oxidative damage. Not to mention that they taste amazing and dogs love them.
Bell Peppers for Dogs
Bell peppers are rich in all three of the most important nutrients for skin health: vitamin A, C, and E. Dogs do not need dietary vitamin C but need both A and E. What many of us forget is that the skin is the first line of defense against disease because it protects the body from the environment. By keeping it healthy, we are protecting the immune system of the body.
Apples for Dogs
Apples are a good source of fiber for dogs which acts as a prebiotic and improves gut motility. Plus, dogs are in love with the apple taste and texture. However, do not feed your dog the core or seeds as they contain trace amounts of cyanide which can poison your dog. Also, avoid the peel as it is hard to chew.
What Supplements are Good for Dogs’ Immune System?
Turkey Tail Mushroom
Turkey tail mushroom contains beta-glucans which directly activate body cells during an immune response. The mushroom is also very rich in antioxidants which protect immune cells from damage.
The Honest Paws Turkey Tail Blend not only contains Turkey Tail mushrooms but also Reishi, Maitake, and Shiitake medicinal mushrooms. The Reishi mushroom protects skin health, the Shiitake mushroom is an anti-inflammatory, and the Maitake supports the health of the liver. All in all, the supplement is the perfect immune booster for dogs.
A high-quality probiotic can act as a potent natural immune booster for dogs. Probiotics support the immune system by providing direct competition to bad bacteria for resources like food.
The Honest Paws Pre+Probiotics for Dogs not only boosts probiotics numbers in the gut but also provides prebiotics for them to feed on. It is a 2-in-1 solution to both digestive and immune health. Plus, the supplement is straightforward to use and comes in pre-packed single-dose sachets.
Nicknamed as nature’s greatest antioxidant, turmeric fights oxidative radicals that damage body cells and organs. You can choose to add turmeric to homemade recipes or purchase high-quality turmeric-flavored dog food.
If you need a delicious way to boost your dog’s immunity, try The Honest CBD Bites With Turmeric which combine the deliciousness of peanut butter with the wholeness of turmeric in one. The turmeric component acts as an immune booster for dogs and the peanut butter component ensures palatability.
What Vitamins to Use as an Immune System Booster for Dogs?
Like we said before, all nutrients are essential for a healthy immune system. However, some play a more direct role in the health of the immune system. If you need an immune booster for dogs, go for one of these vitamins:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- B Vitamins particularly vitamin B6