There is nothing better than coming home to a happy, healthy pup. Shiny coat, wagging tail, wet nose - the whole nine yards. As #petparents, we all want the best for our four-legged pals. At the end of the day, a strong immune system is the key to your dog's health. In this article, you will learn everything about how to boost immune system in dogs.
Table of Contents:
- The Importance of a Healthy Immune System
- How to Boost Immune System in Dogs
- Immune Boosters: Diet, Hydration, Exercise, and Nutritional Supplements
The Importance of a Healthy Immune System
A strong and healthy immune system is like a protective moat around your canine's castle. The immune system is the body's first line of defense against unsavory free radicals, toxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and pathogens.
According to veterinarian Dr. Donna Raditic via PetMD, the canine immune system also acts as a watchdog for proper cell function. In the event cells turn unhealthy, or function irregularly, the immune system will work to return the body to a healthy homeostasis.
When the immune system is not operating at maximum capacity, the body is defenseless against environmental toxins, illness, chronic disease, and even cancer. Additionally, a weak immune system tends to have a snowball effect of sickness. Every toxin that breaks through your dog's immune system, makes your dog less able to fight illness.
How to Boost Immune System in Dogs
Clearly, a strong immune system is essential to your dog's health. Fortunately, as devoted pet owners, there are a number of things we can do to boost our pups immunity.
1. A Balanced Diet
First and foremost, a balanced diet is paramount to a healthy immune system. In fact, the gastrointestinal system makes up a whopping 70% of your dog's immune system. Moreover, the gut contains the microbiome, or collection of healthy bacteria. Correspondingly, the microbiome is largely fed by the nutrients consumed via food.
The Doggie Food Pyramid
There are five basic essential elements to a healthy canine diet:
- (Healthy) Fat
In today's world, we are constantly overwhelmed by options and information. When it comes to selecting your dear dog's desired diet plan, this is especially true. The internet is a deep dark black hole with conflicting information (cough cough, opinions) on what consists of a healthy canine diet. Many people argue that dogs do not need carbohydrates, strictly protein. On the other hand, some information suggests a healthy balance of both.
Bottom line - every dog is different. There is no one-size-fits-all meal plan for dogs. Therefore, it is a good idea to begin your search by talking to your vet about what nutrients your unique dog most needs in their diet. With your veterinarians help, you can determine the appropriate balance of the aforementioned elements for your dog.
In addition to a balanced, nutrient-packed diet, your dog should always have access to fresh, clean water. Like humans, a dog's body is made up of nearly 80% water. Water is an essential element to healthy canine body function. Specifically, regular hydration:
- Encourages proper digestion of food and nutrients
- Aids in breathing and the process oxygen
- Promotes healthy blood flow to the brain, heart, and muscles
- Regulates body temperature
- Flushes harmful toxins from the body
On average, dogs need about twelve ounces of water per ten pounds of body weight daily. For example, a forty-pound dog would need forty-eight ounces of water daily (minimum). Naturally, this number varies depending on various factors such as age, breed, weather, and activity level.
3. Healthy Exercise
Have you ever heard the expression, "people with dogs live longer"? Well, that theory is in large part due to the fact that dogs require an immense amount of physical activity to stay healthy. Therefore, as a dog owner, you are naturally more active as well, hello win-win situation!
When it comes to the immune system, a healthy exercise regime is crucial. Lack of exercise in dogs tends to result in the gaining of weight. In turn, the excess fat secrets over forty different types of hormones that promote inflammation.
On the other hand, consistent (and fun!) exercise helps prevent and reduce the build-up of unhealthy fat. Thus, reducing the chance of inflammation, pain, and the possibility of disease.
Like diet, exercise needs are unique to every dog depending on their age, breed, and general health. Talk to your vet today about how much exercise your sweet pup should be getting to maintain optimal health.
Staying Fit with Your Dog
There are a million reasons having a dog is the best thing ever, but playing with them is pretty high on the list. In the immortal words of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, "exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy". In that case, exercising with your dog by your side is a double whammy of endorphin-promoting happiness.
There are so many ways you can make sure Fido is getting enough exercise. Here are some ideas of how to stay active with your dog:
- A leisurely 30 minute walk around the neighborhood
- Jogging or running (take it easy, work up to longer routes)
- Hiking natural trails
- Playing fetch at a dog park (maybe join a local doggie group!)
- Going swimming in clean, calm water (perhaps a pool or stream along a hiking trail - avoid stagnant water or water with strong currents)
- Agility training at a dog park or canine exercise facility
These are just some of the ways you and your sweet pup can bond over fun physical activity.
4. Nutritional Supplements
Finally, it is a good idea to introduce healthy nutritional supplements to your dog’s diet. Truthfully, most store-bought canine foods do not have sufficient vitamins and minerals to meet your dog's daily needs. Hence, the need for additional supplements.
Fortunately, natural and holistic supplements have made leaps and bounds in the worlds of human, and canine health. Now, more than ever, your sweet pups can get their paws on high-quality and powerful nutritional supplements.
In the case of immune support specifically, there are a number of supplements you can add to your dog's diet.
The almighty probiotic may help support a healthy immune system.. More than likely, you have used probiotics yourself, maybe even eaten yogurt with healthy "active cultures".
Remember when we were talking about your dog’s microbiome? Probiotics are your dog's microbiome knight in shining armor riding upon a shiny white steed. To enumerate, probiotics are chock-full of healthy bacteria that:
With the onslaught of the popularity of canine probiotics, you have more options than ever when shopping for Fifi. Keep in mind that it is important to select a probiotic that is made with natural ingredients, designed exclusively for canines, and free of added preservatives, sugar, or wheat.
Here at Pet Honesty, we are pleased to offer a canine probiotic that meets (and exceeds!) these necessary standards. Our Probiotic Chews contain an unparalleled 6 billion CFU's (colony-forming units), which is double the amount of most other brands. Better yet, the Pet Honesty Probiotic Chews have the added nutritional benefits of enzymes, inulin, and pumpkin. Finally, they come in a tasty treat your dog will love!
Omega Fish Oils
When looking for immune system support in dogs, look no further than omega fish oils. In addition to helping immune system function in the long-term, a fish oil supplement has been known to:
Our Pet Honesty Omega Salmon Chews harness the power of salmon oil, omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, kelp, and vitamin E to maximize effectiveness. Plus, they come in a yummy natural salmon flavored chew. Your dog will gobble them up and beg for more tasty immune-supporting nutrients!
How to SupportImmune System in Dogs: In Closing
A strong and healthy immune system is the foundation of a strong and healthy dog. Talk to your vet today about your dog's individual dietary needs and how best to support their immune system.
From all of us here at Pet Honesty, we wish you and your trusty pup and a healthy day full of adventures!