Like humans, a dog’s immune system is its first line of defense against illnesses and infections. If it’s weak, your dog will be prone to various health problems. This is why you should know how to boost immune system in dogs before your pet catches another infection.
In this post, I will share my tried and tested tips for keeping your dog’s immune system in good shape. Take note that this is only based on my experience as a pet owner. Your dog’s veterinarian is still the best person to consult about your pet’s health.
Why you should boost your dog’s immune system?
A healthy immune system is critical for all living creatures. It acts as the body’s defense system against pathogens. For dogs, here are some of the reasons why you should also focus on their immunity:
- It fights off infection. Puppies are highly prone to infections and diseases since their immune system are yet to be developed.
- It allows dogs to adapt well. Dogs with strong immune systems can easily adapt to new environments, changing weather, and other physiological conditions.
- It supports long life. A healthy immune system will help your dog live a longer life. It will delay cell damage as your dog grows older.
How to boost immune system in dogs
If you’re wondering how you can boost your dog’s immunity, here are some of the steps to get you started:
1. Get your dog vaccinated.
The best way to boost your dog’s immune system is to ensure that it receives core vaccinations. Your dog should start getting vaccines in its first weeks of life. This will serve as your pup’s shield against deadly but highly preventable illnesses like parvovirus, rabies, distemper, and hepatitis.
Your dog’s veterinarian will provide a vaccination schedule that you need to follow. This includes booster shots every one to three years, depending on your pet’s overall health condition.
Aside from core vaccines, you can also get your dog non-core vaccines. These are optional, but they will help a lot if your dog is highly susceptible or likely to contract a specific infection. Some of these are Bordetella, canine influenza, and Lyme disease.
2. Provide enough exercise.
Aside from vaccines, it’s also important to keep your dog active. Like humans, ample physical stimulation is necessary to keep your pet’s immune system pumping.
Take note that the intensity of your dog’s exercise should be based on its breed, age, and health condition. For example, Bulldogs will require less physical exercise than the likes of Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds.
If you’re new to dog exercise, daily walks around the neighborhood would be a good start. Playing fetch, Frisbee, and tug of war are also great choices.
As much as possible, make exercise a learning experience for your dog. This way, your pet gets both physical and mental stimulation at once.
3. Invest in proper canine nutrition
Proper diet plays an indispensable role in ensuring that your dog has a healthy immune system. This is why you should always invest in high-quality dog food and treats.
Take note that there’s no one-formula-fits-all when it comes to canine diet. It should be tailor-fit for your dog’s needs, breed, age, and health condition. With this, you should consult your dog’s vet for the best food selection.
Remember that dirt-cheap dog food products are often deprived of the nutrients your dog needs. While you can save upfront, it will cost you more in the long run due to health problems your dog will sustain.
4. Consider canine supplements
Aside from a healthy diet, you should also consider giving your dog supplements. Take note that not all dogs need additional vitamins and minerals. This is why you should get your pet checked for any deficiency before giving any multivitamin.
Most of the time, a complete and balanced diet will cover all the necessary nutrients your dog needs. Still, some canines may need a higher dose due to their increased physical activity, age, or health problem.
Also, you should only give supplements formulated for canines. Never try to share your own multivitamins with your dog since it contains a much higher dose of nutrients.
5. Take the dog to the vet regularly
Regular vet visits are also key in keeping your dog’s immune system in check. This way, the veterinarian can diagnose any health problem before it becomes worse.
In general, dogs need to visit the vet at least once a year for a general examination. Still, the frequency of vet visits vary per dog and will be more prevalent for those with health problems.
Take note that vet visits aren’t only done when your dog is already sick. Being proactive will save your dog from suffering and your pocket from the hefty bill.
6. Don’t forget about proper grooming
Proper grooming also plays an important role in keeping your dog’s immune system healthy. This is because poor grooming can lead to the proliferation of parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites. Some of these parasites suck blood from your dog’s body, which directly steals its nutrition.
Aside from that, improper or lack of grooming exposes your dog to infections. This can be prevented if you give your pet regular baths, brushing, ear cleaning, and so on.
If you don’t have the time to groom your dog, you can always seek the help of a professional groomer. While it costs a fee, you’re guaranteed that your pet is receiving the right treatment.
7. Clean your dog’s stuff
Cleaning your dog’s items is also necessary to remove bacteria and viruses. It’s important to wash your dog’s bed once a month, its toys once a week, and its food bowl daily.
Aside from keeping your dog safe from infection, washing your dog’s stuff will also prevent bad smells from forming inside your house.
8. Keep a stress-free environment
Lastly, you should try to keep a stress-free environment for your dog. This way, your pet can sleep well, which is integral in a healthy immune system.
Take note that stressed dogs don’t eat well and are more prone to health problems than those living in a quiet environment. While it’s won’t directly impact your pet’s health, its long-term effect will surely reflect on the canine’s immune system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What causes a weak immune system in dogs?
A: A weakened immune system in dogs can be due to infections, poor diet, lack of sleep, aging, cancer treatment, and so on. It’s important to address this issue to ensure that your dog’s body will be able to fight off infections properly.
Q: Do dogs have strong immune systems?
A: Dogs tend to have the ability to eat disgusting stuff without getting sick. However, it doesn’t mean that they have a stronger immune system than humans. Canines are still prone to various illnesses if their immune system is weak. And just like humans, they need proper diet, exercise, and care to remain healthy.
Q: What dogs have the strongest immune system?
A: According to experts, Australian Shepherds tend to have the strongest immune system. This is why they can live up to 14 years, with some reaching up to 18 years. Still, this is possible through proper breeding and care.
Q: What dog has the weakest immune system?
A: Some dog breeds are more likely to suffer from immunodeficiency disorders than others. These breeds include Beagles, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, and Jack Russel Terrier. Still, a dog’s breed isn’t the sole determinant of its health. You also have to factor in proper breeding, veterinary care, diet, and so on.
Q: Can dogs live with an autoimmune disease?
A: Autoimmune diseases in dogs are rarely curable, but they can be managed with proper treatment and care. Your dog’s vet can provide guidance as to how you can manage your pet’s condition at home. Still, you should know that autoimmune diseases in canines require life-long care.
Like us, dogs are prone to various infections and illnesses if they have poor immune systems. This is why they deserve proper care, an optimal diet, and regular vet checks.
Overall, knowing how to boost immune system in dogs start by consulting your pet’s veterinarian. This way, you’ll receive proper guidance and advice based on your dog’s condition.
Do you have other tips to add here? Share with us your tried and tested hack in keeping your dog healthy and safe from illnesses!