How to promote a healthy immune system in dogs
For dog owners, there’s nothing worse than worrying about your dog's health. In fact, most of us would do anything to make sure our dog is protected.
A healthy immune system increases our quality of life as humans, and the same is true for our furry friends.
We’re exploring why it’s essential to support your dog's immune system, and the steps you can take to protect your pup’s health.
Why is a healthy immune system important for your dog?
Your dog’s immune systems play a pivotal role in protecting them against pathogens (that’s nasty bacteria to you and me) and foreign invaders. In fact, the immune system plays the role of a stern security guard, dictating what can and can’t enter our bodies.
However, when our immune system is weak, it’s not able to hold up its duties. This leaves our body susceptible to a range of pathogens that can come and go as they please, potentially wreaking havoc in our body.
The same is true for dogs, as with a weakened immune system, your pup will be more vulnerable to infections and diseases.
Which dogs need immune system support?
Although every dog could benefit from a bit of proactive TLC in the immune health department, some are at higher risks than others.
- Puppies and young dogs with immature immune systems
- Seniors to help them from possible inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that come with old age
- Immunodeficient dogs & dogs recovering for illness or on drugs that may weaken their immune system (eg. chemotherapy).
Having a healthy immune system is important for dogs of all ages. So, no matter how old your dog is, it’s important to strengthen and support your pup's immune system.
What are some factors that can contribute to a weak immune system in dogs?
Here are some possible causes for weak immune systems in dogs:
- Poor living conditions
- Stress and anxiety
- Lack of sleep
- Hereditary conditions
- Poor diet
Benefits of a healthy immune system
As dog owners, we want our dogs to be their healthiest, happiest and strongest selves. Supporting a healthy immune system will help:
- Reduce the likelihood of illness and disease
- Reduce the occurrence and symptoms of disease
- Defend the body against foreign invaders
- Return the body to a healthy homeostasis
- Improve your overall pup’s quality of life
- Aid your dog’s digestion and nutrient absorption
How to promote a healthy immune system for your pup
Keep your dog moving
Physical fitness is just as essential for our furry friends as it is for their owners.
It’s important that your dog is getting enough movement into their day, as the storage of excess fat can lead to inflammation, which then weakens your pup’s immune system.
To ensure that your dog is getting plenty of exercise, it’s recommended that you walk them for between 30 minutes and 2 hours a day, depending on their age, breed, size and activity level. However, we know that there are many factors that could get in the way of your daily walk, including poor weather, busy work days and a misbehaving dog. So, if you can’t squeeze in a walk, there are many other ways to keep your dog active, including:
- Hiring the services of professional dog walkers
- Getting the whole family & kids involved
- Running around the garden
- Teaching your dog tricks
- Making your dog jump around
- Playing fetch
Walking and playing with your pup daily has benefits for you too, so set some time apart each day to get in some movement, you won’t regret it.
Make sure your pup is drinking enough water
It’s important to make sure that your dog is properly hydrated, as this has many benefits for your pup’s immune system including getting rid of toxins and wastes.
For a moderately active dog in normal conditions, it’s recommended that they drink 40-65ml / kg of body weight in 24 hours (so that’s between 600ml to 1 litre of water for a 15kg dog per day). If you find that your dog isn’t drinking enough, it can lead to dehydration, which is harmful for the immune system, and in extreme cases, can lead to organ failure or death.
To prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated, make sure they have access to fresh and clean water at all times.
Feed your dog a balanced and healthy diet
Your dog’s diet is directly linked to their immune system. This is because “the gut contains about 70 percent of your immune system”, so feeding a balanced diet is key for protecting your pup’s health.
A diet full of nutrients and antioxidants is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. Although it may be a bit overwhelming, it is important to know the basic principles of canine nutrition and understand about the ingredients and inclusions in your dog food.
You may also wish to consider a raw / fresh feeding system for your pup but it is a good idea to consult with a specialised canine nutritionist or a holistic veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet for your dog.
When it comes to diet, meal size matters. Ensure that you’re feeding your dog the correct amount, as overfeeding or underfeeding could also lead to additional health issues.
So, make sure your dog is getting the perfect amount of nutritious food, as maintaining a healthy weight is pivotal for supporting your pup’s immune system.
Make sure your dog is regularly visiting the vet
Regular check ups are a must when it comes to protecting your dog’s immune system. Vets will be able to determine whether something is wrong with your dog that you may not have detected.
They’ll also be able to help you stay on top of any issues, keeping your dog as healthy as possible.
Look into supplements for your dog
If you want to go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s health, try looking into nutritional supplements.
For example, Nectar Immune + Wellness has been specifically formulated to help dogs maintain a healthy immune system. It contains a clever ingredient called Wellmune for Pets™, a unique yeast based beta glucan that ‘binds’ with immune cells and strengthens them against infection and disease.
But that’s not all, it is also boosted with organic Astragalus, a powerful immune tonic herb and medicinal mushrooms.
As a well balanced microbiome plays a huge part in the health of your pup’s immune system, you could also consider adding Nectar’s Gut Brain + Digestion to your dog’s diet. It contains a potent blend of probiotics, postbiotics and prebiotics to help your dog’s gut (and immunity) stay in tip-top shape.
We all want our dogs to be around for as long as they can and be as healthy as they can. With a supported immune system and healthy habits, you can help your dog and keep them strong.
Ready to support your dog’s immune system? Try Nectar’s Immune+Wellness formula.