Dogs are such lovable and smart creatures. They are one of the most commonly kept pet animals. Dog keepers love to see their beloved dogs healthy and sound. Dogs are also prone to many diseases and infections, just like humans. This is why dog owners want to know how to keep their dogs disease-free and fit.
Here we will throw light on the immune system and its correlation in combating diseases in dogs. In addition to that, how does the healthy immune system guarantee a healthy life in dogs?
What is an immune system?
The immune system is like a shield that protects the body from diseases and infections. Like us, dogs must fight against different challenges, including various bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites, along with internal toxins, radicals, etc.
Your dog’s immune system acts as a protective barrier. Experts believe that the immune system works when all the body’s cells are healthy. If the cells are damaged, the immune system will work to return the body to a healthy status.
How a dog’s immune system works?
According to MSD, a trusted veterinary manual, a dog’s immune system consists of white blood cells, antibodies, and other substances that ward off the infection and reject foreign proteins and pathogens.
Moreover, the immune system includes several organs such as the thymus and bone marrow, where white blood cells are produced. Other organs include the spleen and lymph nodes, which trap microorganisms and foreign substances and provide a place for immune system cells to collect, interact with each other and foreign substances, and generate an immune response.
What happens, if a dog’s immune system doesn’t work?
As it is clear that, a dog’s immune system has a pivotal role in their overall well-being. This is a defense line that protects the body from foreign invaders and even cancer.
When your pet’s immune system is not functioning at full capacity, the body becomes defenseless against environmental toxins. Every virus or pathogen that enters the body makes your dog less able to fight disease.
How can you boost your dog’s immune system?
Let’s discuss some valuable techniques which you can easily opt to keep your dog’s immunity at an optimum level.
What role does a balanced diet play in supporting the immune system?
First and foremost, a balanced diet is paramount to a healthy immune system. A dog’s food must contain all essential nutrients that have a crucial role in boosting the immune system.
Actually, the gastrointestinal system makes up a whopping 70% of your dog’s immune system. In addition to that, the gut contains the microbiome, which is an aggregation of bacteria. Feeding your dog a diet that includes probiotics (good bacteria that impart health benefits by modulating the dog’s immune systems) is essential to bring balance in the gut microbiome to keep your dog healthy.
Various probiotic diets/supplements are available, so pet owners can choose any of them by taking advice from a registered veterinary practitioner.
Antioxidants play a magical role in maintaining your pet’s health.
Vitamins and minerals combat free radicals in the dog’s body. These free radicals are harmful to cells; thus, antioxidants play a significant role in supporting your dog’s immune system and help keep your dog healthy.
How can you ensure your dog gets enough anitoxidants?
Antioxidants are readily available in many common foods such as berries, fruits, and vegetables. Some dog foods contain antioxidants, although they are not usually present in sufficient quantities to have a significant impact on your dog’s health.
To increase your dog’s intake of antioxidants, you can give your dog supplements in the form of tablets. Dried beans such as kidney, pinto, and red beans have more antioxidants per ½ cup than fresh berries. Other natural sources include foods such as broccoli, apples, potatoes, cabbage, and barley grasses.
What components does a balanced diet for dogs contain?
A balanced dog’s diet contains these essential five components:
- Good fat
These essential nutrients encourage the dog’s immune system to perform well and, thus, keep your dog healthy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Nutritional requirements vary from one dog to another. Requirements also depend upon genetics, health status, physical activities, breeds, and environmental factors.
To support your puppy’s immune system, you need to choose balanced foods that contain vitamins and minerals. To choose the best puppy food from Puppy Food Guide you need to analyse the information about the brand and compare it to what your dog’s nutritional needs.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which improves the immune system of your dog. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. Ensure a vitamin supplement in your dog’s diet for better health outcomes. You may also consider including rosemary in your dog’s diet as it is a natural antioxidant that will help support your dog’s immune system.
A stress-free environment improves a dog’s immunity
Your dog will love the more personal and safer experience.
Stress is a significant factor that shares a role in damaging a dog’s immune system. Dog owners should know that dogs are highly susceptible to stressful conditions. Stressful situations badly interfere with your dog’s immune system.
Avoiding stressful situations and environments is one of the keys to keeping your dog in good health. Make an exercise schedule for your dog and follow a routine; mealtime, nap times, and playtimes. Lastly, expose your dog to positive experiences and interactions with humans and other pets.
Additionally, regular exercise helps in preventing and reducing the build-up of unhealthy fat. Thus, reducing the chance of inflammation, pain, and the possibility of disease. Finally, exercise plays a significant role in boosting your dog’s immunity.
NOTE: Just like diet, exercise needs are unique to every dog, depending on their age, breed, and general health. Talk to your veterinarian to get a proper exercise plan and advice about how much exercise your sweet dog should be getting to maintain optimum health status.
Good hydration improves the immune system
Like a nutrient-packed diet, the availability of clean and freshwater is crucial for dogs’ immune systems. Your beloved canine friend must have access to clean water. Like humans, a dog’s body is made up of nearly 80% water. Water is essential for an excellent dog’s body functions.
Apart from several prime functions, water plays a vital role in the flushing of toxins and harmful substances from the dog’s body, which ultimately boosts his immune system and reduces toxin burden.
As a rule, dogs require about twelve ounces of water per ten pounds of body weight per day. For example, a forty-pound dog needs forty-eight ounces of water a day (minimum). Naturally, this number varies depending on various factors such as age, breed, weather, and activity level.
A dog’s hygiene can improve immunity?
Maintaining proper hygiene is the number one factor in boosting a dog’s immune system.
Good hygiene is another crucial point that ensures strong immunity in dogs. Keep your dog neat and clean. In addition to that, dogs sniff and lick pretty much anything outside of the house. Then run back in to play with their “personal belongings”.
Microbes from your dog’s mouth will, therefore, be transmitted to whatever he touches. Washing toys and bowls reduce the daily load of bacteria that the immune system has to deal with.
It is recommended to wash the dog’s bowl and toys with warm water and properly dry them. As wet equipment can harbor several microorganisms.
Why is it necessary to stay in touch with a pet expert?
Your vet is your best resource on how to boost your dog’s immune system. Of course, we take our four-legged friends to the vet when they’re sick or injured, but those appointments focus mainly on one particular issue.
‘Checkup’ visits, on the other hand, are more holistic, allowing your vet to check your dog’s immune system and to detect changes in your pet’s overall physical health.
The immune system of dogs shields him from diseases and training your dog to learn healthy habits and lifestyle can lead to the development of a robust immune system. A healthy diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and veterinary assistance, all together can become strengthening hands to your dog’s immune system.