Have you ever thought about the immune system health of your dog? Perhaps you’ve never considered it. Oh, but how important it is. Like you, your dog relies on its immune system for overall daily health.
To make sure your dog is living their best life, let’s take a look at some easy ways—and perhaps some ways you’ve never considered—to enhance your dog’s immune system health and keep them healthier and livelier than ever before.
Get Up and Move
Ahh exercise—you love it; you hate it; you love to hate it. Luckily for your dog, they most likely love it! Exercise is a magic pill when it comes to your dog’s immune system health, helping them in many ways.
- Maintaining an ideal body weight is the wonderful byproduct of daily exercise and will put less inflammatory stress on your dog’s immune system.
- Daily exercise negates boredom and acts as mental stimuli to improve your dog’s outlook on life and reduce stress, just as it does for you. This reduction in stress is known to boost the immune system in dogs (and people).
- Want to lower your dog’s blood pressure, increase circulation, and promote joint health and well-being? All of these are byproducts of exercise and lead to a more robust immune system for your dog’s health.
Reduce Toxin Overload
Just like you, your dog is exposed to toxins from a walk in the park, their water, their food, and even in the air they breathe. Help mitigate toxin overload and strengthen your dog’s immune system and promote good health with the following measures.
1) Give Them the Water You Would Drink
Yes, dogs are considered scavengers. No, that doesn’t mean you should let them drink from the lake, the puddle, or the rain spout. Water is one of the main vehicles by which we, and our canine sidekicks, flush toxins out of our systems. It is imperative that you provide your dog with fresh, clean water!
An easy rule to follow? Give your dog the same water you drink—whether it’s bottled, filtered, or purified tap water.
2) Say No to Chemical Pest Control Around Your House and On Your Property
Dogs love to play, lie, and roll around in the grass. Unlike you, however, your pet probably doesn’t get washed daily. Therefore, the toxins and pesticides on your lawn and flower garden may stay on your pet’s coat and absorb into their skin until their next bath. Be mindful of using only organic or natural pest control remedies in and around your home.
This tip proves double for dogs who like to eat grass and garden plants. You know who you are… (*raises paw, slowly, ashamed*).
3) Not Spot-On!
Similarly, the flea and tick treatment you put on your dog’s neck will sink into their bloodstream. You may have heard of, or even used, these common liquid pesticides—typically referred to as “spot-on.” These have caused over 600 pet deaths and 40,000 major adverse health effects before the EPA began to take notice in 2010.
And although alterations to the products have been put into place, spot-on products still remain toxic to your pet and can compromise their immune system.
Show Some Love
Petting your dog comes naturally, so we don’t need to mention it. Except that we do. That 5-second pat on the head when you come home doesn’t count toward the immune-boosting stress relief that a dedicated hands-on session provides.
Here are a few suggestions for the immune-boosting power of touch:
- Brushing – Skin is the largest immune organ. Regular brushing sessions will relax your dog, keep their coat and skin healthy, and brush away environmental toxins that may have settled on them.
- Pet massage – Massage therapy will help promote healthy circulation and knead out toxins stored in the muscles. If you have an anxious dog, a massage will calm them and lower their overall stress response.
Supplement Their Diet
One of the most beneficial ways you can support your dog’s immune system is through supplementation. Again, your dog is exposed to more toxins than ever before, and they need extra resources to combat and flush these out of their system.
Even if you’re hyper-vigilant with your dog’s diet, they may be missing out on essential vitamins and minerals. Consider choosing a nutritional supplement to make the following nutrients bioavailable:
- Antioxidants – These help slow the aging process, eliminate free radicals, and reduce inflammation.
- Omega-3s (or fish oil supplement)– Essential for taming inflammatory responses that lead to a compromised immune system.
- Pre- and probiotics—After the skin, the next largest fortress of the immune system is your dog’s gut. Prebiotics and probiotics ensure your dog’s gut is full of healthy immune-boosting bacteria.
A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog
Yes, your dog’s immune system is intricate and complicated, just like your own. But with these helpful tips and a supplement to boot, strengthening it doesn’t have to be. Be mindful, be proactive, and always treat your dog like a precious member of the family… We know you already do!
- EPA. EPA Evaluation of Pet Spot-on Products: Analysis and Plans for Reducing Harmful Effects.
- Vetericyn. Products. https://vetericyn.com/all-in/
- Whole Dog Journal. Supporting Your Dog’s Immune System. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/care/supporting-your-dogs-immune-system/
Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield-Davis, DVM, WCHP-AH, brings over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is the Technical Services Veterinarian with Innovacyn, Inc., parent company of Vetericyn Animal Wellness. She received her DVM from Oklahoma State University and now resides in Southeast Kansas with her husband, two children, four dogs, and six horses. Prior to working with Innovacyn, Dr. Mayfield owned and operated the Animal Care Center in Columbus, KS.