Does your dog have itchy skin, seasonal allergies, mobility issues, digestive problems or general lack of pep? You may be surprised to hear it might be a problem with their immune system.
Your Pup’s Immune System
Your dog’s immune system is made up of organs and cells that communicate with each other to decide how to keep the body healthy and in balance. Even your dog’s skin is part of the system, along with the gut, and the respiratory system, tears, the spleen and white blood cells.
A healthy immune system – one that isn’t overactive or underactive – understands when it is being attacked by pathogens (germs) and mounts a defense. If the system is underactive, it is not able to defend the body against these foreign pathogens. And if it is overactive, it sees even friendly normal cells as a problem and may attack them. This is known as an auto-immune response, and it can happen in both humans and pets.
What Harms Their Immune System?
Several things affect your dog’s immunity:
- Emotions, both positive and negative
- Poor nutrition, which weakens the system
- Seasonal allergies, which activate certain antibodies and wear down the immune system
- A toxic environment, whether the toxins are:
- Physical, such as chemicals used in household soaps, carpet cleaners, pest control sprays in the house, or even the chemicals on a flea collar
- Audible, such as constant loud noises
- Airborne, such as unclean air in the house from pollution, smoking, etc
- Chronic stress, which depletes the overall effectiveness of a dog’s immune system. Stress in dogs can be caused by:
- Repeated trips to the vet
- Interruptions when they are eating
- Changes in routine
- New additions to the family
- Loss of a companion, whether animal or human
Antibiotics – The Good and The Bad
When a dog’s immune system is unable to mount an effective enough defense, they may need antibiotics. We are fortunate to have antibiotics available when we really need them.
But for dogs, as for humans, the downside is that often these medicines are so powerful they not only kill “bad” bacteria, they can also kill “good” bacteria at the same time.
The best thing to do after your dog has been on a course of antibiotics is to support his immune system, and that means fortifying healthy gut bacteria.
Try adding some or all of the following to your dog’s diet after a course of antibiotics:
- Milk Thistle
- Yogurt made from grass-feed cow milk
- Dandelion Greens
- Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchee
Other Ways to Support Your Dog’s Immune System
- Exercise: getting enough daily exercise is key to keeping a dog’s cells turning over properly, burning off excess energy and improving mood.
- Massage: not only does this help increase lymphocytes (natural killer cells found in the canine lymphatic system) in your dog, but the physical touch can also improve a dog’s emotional health.
- Keeping a Healthy Weight: for all kinds of reasons, including joint health, heart health and general health. A healthy immune system can be overtaxed by having to deal with these preventable issues.
- Antioxidants: if you are not feeding your dogs fresh organ meat, herbs, fruits and vegetables, they may not be getting enough antioxidants, and as a result their immune system can malfunction.
Finally, the key ingredient in our All-in-One Dog Chew’s, OxC-Beta, is the cornerstone of our chewable no-wheat-added treats that contain digestive and immune-supporting ingredients to promote a healthy response to seasonal allergies. It strengthens your dog’s natural defenses to keep your pet healthy and happy.