7 Simple Steps to Boost your Dogs Immune System!
We always want to ensure our pets are in the best health they can be in, and health starts with a powerful immune system. There are many great ways you can help boost your dog’s system, and, unsurprisingly, the secrets are not all that different than how you would boost your own immune system as a human. A powerful immune system is important to limit the risks of unwanted health conditions, and of course to contribute to overall well-being. These are some effective tips to assist you in either jump-starting, or maintaining, your dog’s immune system.
- A good diet with balanced nutrition
It may seem obvious that first on the list of a healthy immune system would be a nutritional diet, but nothing can replace the value of good food. The essential elements that contribute to an overall healthy diet are protein, fat, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. Vitamin C rich foods are especially beneficial to promote a healthy immune system. Ensure that you have selected a reputable brand of dog food, or targeted ingredients, and have researched the components of the food to give your dog the best balance of the elements their system needs. An excellent diet for a dog will typically be mostly meat-based, but will include vegetables, fruit, legume starches such as potatoes and lentils, and limit some of the other grain-type starches. Their diet should contain plenty of fiber and live bacteria from fresh food.
Antioxidant rich foods are very important for the immune system. The most common antioxidant rich foods are vegetables and fruits, and you may realize that this isn’t necessarily the most common ingredient in dog food. Supplementing your dog’s diet with Vitamin C rich food like broccoli, antioxidant dense food like spinach, mangoes, and berries is a great way to assist the immune system. You may want to try an antioxidant supplement like our AHCC® Mushroom, which enhances maintenance of gut health and long-term wellness, especially cellular health because antioxidants are directly related to the health of cells in the body. There are many other great supplement options for immune system health, and probiotics can be especially beneficial, which we’ll cover below and discuss supplemental support in more depth. The best way to ensure that your dog’s diet is optimal when it comes to their immune system is to consult your vet, especially as all dogs are different and have different needs when it comes to the food that is ideal for their specific system.
A proper diet for your dog is important but can be balanced with additional supplemental support to ensure they are receiving vitamins that could further assist their system. Our Hemp with Alaskan salmon oil provides a great source of omegas to include in your dog’s already healthy diet. Omegas are an excellent ingredient to incorporate in the routine to support cellular health, as well as contributing some benefits in terms of coat and skin, and enhancement of mental well-being.
A probiotic is also a great option for those looking to offer more immune support to their furry friend. Probiotics help provide proper gut flora, contributing to a healthy immune system, as well as fostering healthy digestion overall. Probiotics are full of live cultures that support the intestinal tract, and they are already present in the stomach, so adding an extra supplementation can contribute to further support. Our probiotic chew is great for possible tummy challenges, and a wonderful way to assist your dog’s immune system!
Similar to humans, healthy dogs need an adequate amount of exercise to continue maintaining their heart health, function of muscles, joints, and of course to limit boredom and any excess fat they may be storing. Fat can increase the amount of inflammation-producing hormones in the body, which is one of the biggest contributors to a weakened immune system. Ensuring your dog is fit is one of the best immunity boosters you can give them because exercise burns excess fat. Dogs are naturally playful and active creatures, so exercise never has to be a chore—it can and should be fun! Exercise also acts to reduce occasional stress and stimulate dogs mentally, and when we have less stress and feel more fulfilled—mentally and physically—we have higher immunity. Some great and enjoyable exercises you can try with your dogs are retrieving, nose games, play with other dogs or humans, and learning or reinforcing tricks. Exercise plans should be devised according to the breed, age, and current health of the dog, and consulting with your vet about the correct exercise regimen is always a good idea.
Proper hydration is very important for overall health. As humans we constantly hear how much water we should be drinking and all the possible ailments and health concerns it can aid in—this is no different for dogs. Ensure that your dog is taking in an adequate amount of water, and that their water is healthy. Dogs should be drinking the same water that we would drink. If you know there are possible contaminants in the faucet water such as elevated chlorine or lead levels and you prefer to filter the water or drink from bottles or a dispenser, then serve your dog that water as well to give them the best chance for a healthier immune system.
- Mental enrichment and love
We prosper in environments where we feel love from those around us, and where we are not bored or disinterested. Dogs need a certain amount of stimulation to work their minds. This includes activity such as scent work, doing training exercises whether it be behavioral or tricks, and working on tasks. They prosper when they are able to exercise both their bodies and brains. It’s helpful to look into what is particularly stimulating for their breed and give them tasks to do that will ensure they feel accomplished. Mental enrichment is a form of love you can provide your dog, but make sure to give them plenty of scratches, rubs, kisses, and snuggles, too! Methods of touch and massage have indicated a promotion of healing, relaxation, and the reduction of stress, which in turn could possibly promote enhanced immunity. When our pets feel the adoration, it translates into their system—so everyone can benefit from a doggie embrace!
- Hygiene and cleanliness of environment
Keep your dog clean and practice a hygiene routine, as well as maintaining their possessions such as their food and water bowls, toys, collars, and anything else they might come in contact with regularly. If their bodies or belongings are not clean, then they will ingest bacteria that could linger whether they lick or eat it, or simply inhale it. This will impact the immune system in one way or another, even if not severely, and your dog will have the best possible chance for boosted immunity if they are tidy and clean. This also includes paying attention to the sorts of chemicals you put on their bodies or around their environment, like flea treatments, and pest chemicals in the house or yard.
- Minimize stress
We are certainly aware of the dangers of too much stress in our everyday lives, we hear about its long-term effects regularly. And we are constantly looking for ways to limit stressors so that we do not impact our own health over time. Dogs can occasionally get stressed as well, and limiting their intermittent anxiety is equally important for their immune health as it is in humans. Scenarios that could sometimes be stressful to your dog are situations such as: travel, strange environments and people or animals, loud noises, weather, and being left alone. If there is a stressful situation arising that you know will contribute to your dog’s occasional anxiety, do your best to ease them in gently and by practicing for when these times occur. As well as our Hemp with Alaskan salmon oil providing a great source of omegas, the hemp in the oil also supports calmness. This supplement is excellent for physical health aid and for mental health.
We hope that you have gained some new information about how to better maintain and support your dog’s immune system for a healthier and happier lifestyle! Our team is always happy to assist if you have any questions about our supplement line; we can’t wait to help your best friend live their best life.
Shay Siegel is a young adult author, freelance writer, and editor from Long Island, NY. She has a BA from Tulane University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Always a lover of animals, Shay had several cats growing up. She's now a dog mom to the snuggliest rescue pit bull, Bernie. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and sharing her love and knowledge of animals with others!