We know as humans that having healthy immune systems can help us fight off colds, flu and other illnesses.  More than ever, we all want to strive to stay as healthy as possible. But what about our dogs?  Is it really that important to keep their immune system healthy?  Dogs can’t get the common cold or flu, right?

Well yes, actually they can.  Dogs can get their own form of a cold.  More importantly, they can be susceptible to a multitude of diseases and disorders unless they have a strong, healthy immune system to act as the protective force field to defend their body against bacteria, viruses, toxins and any foreign material that is trying to invade.

The Immune System’s Role

Components of the immune system like lymph nodes, bone marrow, white blood cells and antibodies are located throughout a dog’s body. 

This system has two big jobs:

  • Recognize foreign substances, and
  • Protect against invaders like chemical substances or microorganisms that cause infectious diseases.

If a dog’s immune system is compromised, it has less ability to fight off those invaders. Illnesses that can result from weakened systems include viruses, bacterial infections, allergies, diabetes and osteoarthritis. The is where supplementation for dog immune systems can help.

How to Support It

The gut contains about 70% of the dog’s immune system, so the best way to help strengthen it is through diet and supplementation.  When The Missing Link® supplements were developed, extensive clinical studies were reviewed to best understand how we could support a healthy immune system based on the most effective ingredients available.

Dog Immune System

Flaxseed

Flaxseed, which is in all of The Missing Link formulas, is a health and nutritional superfood powerhouse, offering these benefits:

  •  It contains abundant arginine and glutamine which are very important in supporting the immune system as well as supporting heart health.
  • Flaxseed also contains bioactive peptides which have strong immunosuppressive activities.  
  • The most powerful benefit of the freshly ground flaxseed in The Missing Link products is the healthy balance of Omega Fatty Acids it provides.  Many studies reveal the benefits of fatty acids, including reducing inflammation related to digestive issues and disease.  Fatty acids are also known to accelerate recovery from surgery.

Antioxidants

Research indicates that a healthy functioning immune system depends on the intake of micronutrients which can act as antioxidants.

  • Antioxidants have an ability to destroy free radicals, which in turn protects the structural integrity of cells and tissues. 
  • These key micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants are also in plentiful supply in The Missing Link® Pet Kelp® formulas which combine the natural nutritional power of kelp with the proven benefits of flaxseed.

Vitamin C

If all that great support via one simple spoonful of powder a day isn’t enough, there’s even more good news in easy supplementation for great immune health.

The Missing Link® Smartmouth® Dental Chews not only include flaxseed, but also have Stay-C ™*, a bioavailable patented form of Vitamin C. Although it is mainly included for oral care support, it also supports the immune system. Published evidence has indicated that Vitamin C plays an important role in gum health AND supports immune function, which is important for protecting against implications of dental disease.

Taking important yet easy steps towards supporting a strong, healthy immune system is a valuable part of our role as pet parents. Activity, nutrition, and the addition of necessary vitamins and minerals all combine to make the right formula to live happier and healthier lives together.


*Stay-C™ is a trademark of DSM

References:

National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Flax and Flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Importance of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease.” 

DSM:  “Special Vitamin C for Pet Oral Care”

PetPlace: “Structure and Function of the Immune System in Dogs”

PetMD: “Natural Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Immune System”

This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms of illness or discomfort.

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