The immune system acts like a nonstop housekeeper, It identifies potentially harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, then works to eliminate them before they can do harm. And a dog’s immune system monitors cells to ensure they’re working properly. When other cells are aging or functioning abnormally such as a cancer cell reproducing too rapidly the immune system attempts to step in and maintain proper physiological function and balance.
A malfunctioning immune system in dogs can open the door to a host of diseases, such as infection, Demodectic mange, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer. Keeping your dog’s immune system balanced can help reduce these risks, and contribute to overall health and well-being, according to veterinary experts.
When this system is compromised, your dog may become increasingly vulnerable to illness. An immune system that’s off-kilter for an extended period can lead to chronic inflammation, which, in turn, can forge a path for disease. Diabetes, osteoarthritis, some liver and heart conditions, asthma, and cancer are just some of the diseases connected to inflammation.
Fortunately, there are some simple, natural steps you can take to strengthen your dog’s immune system. Here are five winners:
1. Minimize vaccines
Sometimes too much of a good thing can go bad. When the immune system responds appropriately, the proper use of vaccinations can help prevent disease. However, when dogs are over-vaccinated, the risk of an inappropriate immune response increases, posing danger to the animal. Inappropriate immune responses can cause immediate allergic reactions, or chronic problems such as autoimmune disorders and even cancer. Most dogs are able to mount effective immune responses to minimal vaccinations. A simple and inexpensive blood antibody test called a titer can determine if and when your dog may require a vaccine after completing the first adult booster vaccination visit. Dogs with serious and chronic diseases or immune disorders should never be vaccinated following diagnosis, or they risk condition worsening, adverse reactions, immune system damage, coming out of remission from their diseases, etc.
2. Minimize chemicals and medications
Overuse and misuse of chemicals and conventional medications can harm the dog’s body in numerous ways, and that includes causing adverse effects on his immune system. The veterinary industry is prone to over-prescribe chemicals and medications. Sometimes it’s because of incorrect diagnosis, a lack of knowledge of safer natural therapies or, unfortunately, practice profitability. At any rate, many times drugs, chemicals, and toxins silently harm the immune system on a cellular level in many ways. When your pet is prescribed any medication, treatment, or therapy, ask yourself if there is a safer approach. If you’re unsure, you can always defer and buy time to do your homework. If chemicals are your only option, ask what is the lowest dose possible.
3. Feed a great diet
No matter what else you do to keep your dog healthy, feeding him a great diet is critical, and it’s the one thing you totally control. Many pet foods are, in my opinion, full of unhealthy ingredients that may not be healthy for your dog’s immune system. Animal and plant by-products, which typically are scrap from the food processing industry, provide little if any positive health benefits and may actually be harmful to your dog. Added chemicals, flavorings and colorings have no specific health benefits and may harm your pet’s DNA through oxidative damage, resulting in various immune problems such as cancers.
Holistic vets recommend feeding a good natural diet, either homemade or purchased from a reputable company that specializes in healthy natural foods. Please note that we are not dieticians and do not provide nutritional advice however, pet nutritionists can be found locally and online.
4. Exercise and massage your dog
Exercise is easy-to-implement activity that has proven, direct benefits for the immune system. In addition, the muscle activity helps cleanse the body of toxins and helps to move important components of immunity from one part of the body to another.
The easiest and most enjoyable way to enhance your dog’s immune system is to put your hands to fur. Massage has been proven to increase lymphocyte numbers and to enhance lymphocyte function. The relaxation that comes with a good massage is good for emotional health, which has also been proven to be good for the immune system. The best part of massage is that it benefits the giver as well as the receiver; you enhance your own immune system as you help your best buddy enhance his or hers.
5. Supplement your dog
Immune compromised dogs are in the red zone and usually need outside help to stop the tailspin and turn things around. A depleted immune system leaves the dog with no tools to self-repair and climb up to a healthy level of immune function. Not all supplements are equal — such as mushroom supplements with no actual mushrooms or the probiotics with inactive strains — so it’s buyer beware.
Be careful to buy from well-known companies that use high-quality ingredients and whose products are tested for purity. The presence of a National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal on a label is a good indicator that the product you’re buying is genuine.
With regards to Demodex, Demodicosis and Demodectic Mites, immune support is recommended on several levels, including digestive remediation, redundant antioxidants, detoxification and yeast control. Some top immune supplements choices include:
- Probiotics – Our favorite NASC option
- Fish oil – Our favorite NASC option
- Medicinal mushrooms – Our favorite NASC option
- Bovine colostrum – Our favorite NASC option
- Vitamin C – Our favorite NASC option
- Herbs such as echinicia, Pau d’arco, garlic, peppermint, astragalus root, rosemary, turmeric and Oregon grape root are known immune supporters. Dr, Harvey’s E-mune Boost contains these and more!
Learn more about the canine Immune System and it’s relation to Demodex, Demodicosis and Demodectic Mite over-population.
6. BONUS! Thymic stimulation
Immune Support Bundles
Includes 3 immune boosting products selected for Digestive Support and Overall Immune Support.
Includes 6 immune boosting products selected for Digestive Support, Yeast Reduction and Overall Immune Support.
Includes 9 immune boosting products selected for Digestive Support, Yeast Reduction, Overall Immune Support and System Detox.