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.
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.
Vitamin C 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.
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.