It’s safe to say that improving immune system function has been front-of-mind for many people during recent, post-pandemic years.
But have you considered how to keep your canine companion’s health in tip-top shape? Keep reading to learn some realistic tips for how you can boost your dog’s immune system to ensure a happy and healthy life.
Similar to their owners, dogs are susceptible to many illnesses that can affect overall well-being — in both the short and long term.
A healthy immune system will quickly trigger a response when exposure to bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites and foreign objects. Millions of cells in several vital organs work together to filter and eliminate unwanted matter.
But when it comes to underscoring the importance of the immune system, disease prevention is only the beginning. Consider these additional functions:
- Recovery: Whether it’s a scratch or scrape from playing too hard, or coming into contact with a sick dog, a healthy immune system will help your dog recover faster by reducing the severity of illness.
- Allergy and autoimmune response: A healthy immune system can help avoid severe allergic reactions, which occur when the body overreacts to specific substances such as foods, insects or pollen. Similarly, an autoimmune response is when the immune system attacks its host after misinterpreting a threat.
- Aging well: A dog’s immune system will naturally deteriorate with age, but strong immunity will slow down the process and allow for a longer, healthier lifespan.
- Quality of life: Homeostasis, or the stability of a self-regulating system, is essential for a healthy immune system. When homeostasis is achieved and maintained, a dog is better off — they feel healthier and are more likely to be active.
What Causes a Weak Immune System in Dogs?
A strong and healthy immune system requires the cooperation of white blood cells, antibodies and other substances, along with proper organ function, to fight off infection and attack foreign, harmful proteins.
The immune system will become weaker when there is poor organ function or an immunodeficiency disease. Some of these conditions are hereditary, while others are fed by environmental circumstances.
Remember, you play a big role in the function of your dog’s immunity! Inadequate exercise, poor hygiene and unsanitary living conditions all contribute to a weakened immune system.
9 Ways to Boost your Dog’s Immune System
The following are a few prominent dog immune system boosters to focus on:
- Feed a nutritious diet
The top tip we can provide when talking about pet health is to feed a nutritious diet. To us, that means no rendered chicken fat, potato or grains (used all too often as dog food filler).
- Provide fresh water
Hydration plays a crucial role in strong organ function — a vital component of immune health — and healthy metabolism of energy. But because still water can become riddled with bacteria, it’s important to keep a dog’s water supply fresh. Always keep an eye out for signs of dehydration and seek a veterinarian’s guidance if you become concerned.
- Exercise and play
We can’t say it enough: Physical activity is incredibly important for longevity when it comes to humans and our beloved household companions! Play fetch, take your dog for a hike or enjoy a swim as a fun way to incorporate more movement into your routine.
- Add probiotics
Experts say that 70-90% of a dog’s immune system exists in the gut. Caine probiotics are a way to ensure more “good bacteria” where it’s needed, especially when an illness weakens your pet.
Socialization not only improves mental health, but just like children who attend schools where they interact with others, exposing your pup to others can help build immunity benefits too. (Be sure that your pet is up to date with vaccinations first!)
- Keep toys and bowls clean
Food and water bowls can quickly harvest unsafe bacteria. Be sure to give them a good scrub and rinse regularly to avoid compromising your pet’s health. (Tip: If your pet is avoiding food and water, it could be a clear sign that it’s time for a clean.)
- Consider supplements
Some people rely on vitamins and supplements to stay healthy. This is also a great way to ensure complete nutrition for your dog based on their specific needs. It’s generally a good idea to consult with a veterinarian before adding a supplement or changing your dog’s protocol.
- Avoid stressful situations
Stress can take a toll on a number of bodily functions, including immune health. Make an effort to reduce stressors such as loud noises, exposure to aggressive dogs and other situations that are known to put your dog at risk of distress. It will benefit their overall health in the long run.
- Regular vet visits
Whether it’s for vaccination, monitoring any health changes or ensuring healthy development, keeping annual vet visits goes a long way to optimizing immune function. Early detection of any kind of illness is best.
6 Immune Boosting Foods for Dogs
Wondering how to boost a dog’s immune system naturally? Check out the benefits of these foods:
- Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins C and K, which help with preventing obesity, cancer and heart disease.
- Celery is an ultra-low-calorie snack containing essential vitamins. (Added bonus: It will freshen your dog’s breath!)
- Bell peppers are an antioxidant powerhouse with four times the vitamin C of an orange, aiding cardiovascular health while helping to remove free radicals.
- Carrots are packed with fiber and antioxidants, specifically vitamin A, to boost overall canine health.
- Broccoli is low in fat and calories and contains high levels of potassium, calcium and iron.
- Bananas are actually one of the healthiest treats for dogs, providing a nutritional boost and helping to keep bowel movements regular. Just keep in mind that bananas can be high in sugar, so don’t feed too many. Wait a few days between these sweet treats.
Q: Can a dog’s immune system be weakened?
A: Yes. Inadequate nutrition, stress and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to a weak immune system in dogs. The consequences span from taking more time to heal from illness to a shorter lifespan.
Q: Why is a dog’s immune system important?
A: Like in humans, the immune system in dogs is responsible for detecting, filtering and discarding unwanted substances and sicknesses. A strong immune system will help keep your pet healthy and possibly even extend their lifespan.
Q: How can I improve my dog’s immune health?
A: One of the simplest ways to boost a dog’s immune system is to provide a nutritionally complete diet and supplement with certain fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, bananas and carrots.
Q: How often do I need to take my dog to the vet?
A: Veterinarians suggest annual checkups to keep up with preventative screenings and thorough examinations and to address concerns you may have about certain behaviors. Any potential problems are more likely to be discovered early, and treated accordingly, with annual vet visits.
Improve Your Dog's Health & Well-Being with RAWZ
You’ve taken this time to learn a whole lot about your canine’s immunity. Now, take a few minutes to examine their food and make sure they’re getting the best. Keep in mind that RAWZ is minimally processed with 100% rendered-free ingredients, providing only the highest quality nutrition. You can find our products in a variety of independent retail locations.