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As the dog owner, we often ask how to boost my dog's immune system? Of course, we want to provide the best quality of life for our best friends.

Dogs are constantly exposed to viruses, bacteria, and parasites everywhere they go. From the parks, streets, vet offices, and even inside your house.

If a dog's immune system is weak or malfunctioning, this can lead to immune disorders, infections, and even cancer. This is why maintaining their immune system is crucial.

A healthy immune system reduces the risks of diseases and contributes to the overall health of your dog. Luckily for you, you can help boost your dog's immune system naturally and with the right supplements.

Carrots for Dogs immune system

How to Boost a Dog's Immune System

Proper Nutrition or Healthy Diet

According to studies, having a proper diet is essential to a healthy immune system for dogs. As pet parents, we should always buy high-quality and high on nutrition foods for them.

Always remember that humans and dogs don't have the same digestive system. This means we should give them food moderately. Below is a list of foods that boost a dog's immune system:

Carrots

Carrots are good dog treats because they're low in calories and they're also great immune-boosters for dogs. It is a source of fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A which helps strengthen the immune system.

Carrots are high on beta-carotene. It is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and maintain the immune system.

Dogs can eat raw or cooked carrots if they're chopped into small pieces. In addition, raw carrots can be beneficial to their dental health.

Apples

For dogs, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is also applicable. But of course, an apple is not enough for your dog.

Apple contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C which are great for immune function. And just like carrots, they are also a great source of fiber which helps regular bowel movements.

Apples can also help with teeth cleaning and bad breath. Remember to remove the cores and seeds before feeding.

Broccoli

Even if it's good for us, Broccoli is a vegetable that is universally hated. But broccoli is likewise great for dogs. But the difference between us and dogs is that puppies love how broccoli tastes.

Feeding them cooked or raw as long as it is given in small portions, broccoli can be a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber for a stronger immune system and healthy digestion.

Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers offer the most nutritional benefits. But it is also safe to give your dogs yellow bell peppers.

Bell peppers are high on antioxidants and important vitamins like Vitamin C. Vitamine C helps protect our immune system by supporting different cellular functions.

Bell peppers can also help reduce inflammation. It also contains beta carotene for healthier skin and coats. A bonus is that it is low in calories meaning it's good to give it to them as a snack.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of Vitamin C which promotes a robust immune system. This fruit is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

Sometimes, vets recommend bananas as an alternative to fatty or salty treats. This fruit is high in fiber which helps with gastrointestinal problems, and magnesium for bone growth.

But just like any other fruits and veggies, bananas should be given moderately.

Pumpkin

This fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit) is filled with vitamins A and C which are known to be beneficial to a dog's immune system function. It is also low in calories so pet owners like yourself have nothing to worry about them adding extra weight.

It also contains iron and potassium that helps defend our dogs from illnesses. In addition, pumpkin also possesses fiber which helps with their digestion. If ever your dog has an upset stomach, canned pumpkin is a great snack to soothe it or prevent diarrhea and constipation.

It doesn't matter if it's canned or cooked, it is still suitable for dog consumption. However, it would be best to stay away from pumpkins with added sugar or other spices.

fruits and vegetables for dogs

Proper Hygiene

Just like us humans, good hygiene can help with our health. It's the same with our dogs, but they have a different way of cleaning things as they lick their skin and fur. However, we should not stop there. There are still other ways to improve cleanliness.

Washing your dog regularly can help fight off germs and bacteria that your dogs may encounter every day.

But regularly doesn't mean you'd have to clean your dog every single day. Too much of this can weaken the immune system. If you are unsure of how much cleaning your dog needs, it would be best to contact your vet for advice.

Achieving proper hygiene doesn't stop there. As I stated above, your pups can still get bacteria in your home.

It is your job to make sure that your home is clean. Also, regularly clean their toys, food bowls, or any other items that they often use day-to-day.

When washing their food bowls, it's important to use warm water and not soap as it can be toxic.

Oh, and another thing, before you give back their bowl or toys, make sure to dry them first. Leftover moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Dog Physical Fitness Through Play

Physical Fitness Through Play

An active dog has a stronger immune system than inactive ones. This is one of the easiest and most natural ways to improve your dog's immune system.

Dogs require a large amount of physical activity to stay healthy. When a dog is inactive or lacks exercise, they tend to gain weight. Excess fats produce different types of hormones that promote inflammation.

Encourage physical activities by playing with them or schedule a 30-minute walk every day. These activities are like “killing two birds with one stone” since you are exercising by engaging in these physical activities.

How much exercise does a dog need?

Generally, puppies have more energy than adult dogs. The age of the dog comes into play to determine how much exercise your dog needs.

Since puppies are still growing, it is best advised to take several short walks or play sessions per day rather than going for a long walk.

Things are different when it comes to adult dogs. When it comes to adult dogs, their breed is a huge influence to determine how much workout they need.

For instance, dog breeds like Border Collie and Australian Shepherd require more exercise than low-energy breeds like the Basset Hound or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

If you're unsure about how much exercise they need, consulting with your vet is still the best solution.

Here are a few daily activities that you can do with your dog as exercise:

  • Walking or Jogging – This is one of the easiest exercises that you can also benefit from. Start by having a short 20-minute walk then slowly increase the time. Once your dog is comfortable, try to jog or run with them.
  • Playing Fetch – If your dog loves to play fetch, kick it up a notch and try to throw the ball or toy an uphill or maybe try to toss it into the water for a quick swim.
  • Swimming – Many dogs love swimming but not all of them. Firstly, make sure that your dogs like to swim. If not, try to target other exercises. Swimming is a good low-impact exercise and is great for dogs that are suffering from joint problems.
  • Obedience Training – This kind of exercise is not only good for their physical health, but it can also help them learn commands like sitting down, fetching a ball, and handshakes.

Vitamins or Supplements

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals and protects the dog from viruses and other infections. This vitamin can also help with inflammation and cognitive aging.

Dogs however can produce vitamin C on their own through their livers, but in some cases, supplementation of this vitamin can still have a great benefit for their health.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E works great against oxidative damage. This vitamin is also crucial for cell function and fat metabolism.

If your dog lacks Vitamin E, they may experience deficiencies in eye and muscle degeneration or reproductive problems.

Omega-3 Fish Oils

One of the most popular supplements to help aid a dog's immune system are Omega Fish Oils. But these supplements are also known to promote healthy brain function, and skin health and help maintain their joints' health.

An example of this is Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are known to reduce inflammation but they also help maintain the dog's joints, skin, heart, and immune system.

Probiotics

High-quality probiotics can be a potent natural immune booster for our pups and also good for their digestive system. This supplement provides direct competition to bad bacteria or helps prevent outside bacteria that can harm the dog's immune system such as salmonella.

Other vitamins good for dog's immune system
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Prebiotics
  • Direct-Fed Microbials
  • Phytogenics

Avoiding Stress

Yes, dogs can get stressed too and it can affect your pup both physically and emotionally. When a dog is stressed, the dog's body releases Cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is great for fighting off stress.

However, if your dog's stress level continues and goes it goes higher, the production of this hormone can be irregular. This is when your immune system gets weaker.

So if you want to boost their immune system, keep them away from stressful environments. Follow a routine schedule for exercise, playtime, and nap time.

Dog eating dog vitamins

Importance of a Healthy Immune System

Now that we've discussed ways how to improve your dog's immune system you might be asking, what is the importance of all this? For starters, the health of your dog's immune system determines its survival.

If an immune system of a puppy doesn't properly develop after they are born, it can be fatal. Studies have shown that 10-30% of puppies die before the age of 21 days mainly because of septicemia. This disease is caused by a weak immune system.

Commonly Asked Questions

What causes a weak immune system in dogs?

There can be many factors that can cause a weak immune system in dogs. Here's a quick list of these factors:

  • Viral Infections
  • Age
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Medication
  • Allergies
  • Surgery
  • Extreme Stress
  • Hereditary Immunodeficiency

How do you know if your dog has a weak immune system?

Immune-deficiency diseases are a big threat to a dog's health. Dogs with an immune- deficiency illness can be lacking in immunoglobulin or phagocytosis. Below is a quick list of symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Pain with joints or difficulty in walking
  • Seizures

Can I give my dog vitamins every day?

When it comes to giving multivitamins to our dogs, always remember to never give your dog a human vitamin as a substitute. Human multivitamins can be dangerous to your dog's health. Instead, use multivitamins that are specifically made for dogs.

As we all know, dog foods don't provide all the nutrients our dog needs to live a happy and healthy life. This is where these multivitamins come in handy.

But before giving them their daily supplements, it is still best advised to consult with your vet first to know what proper vitamins are needed. With the right vitamins or supplements, it can promote healthier skin, immune system, and overall health of your pup.

Boosting your dogs immune system

How To Boost My Dog's Immune System Summary

Boosting your dog's immune system will take a lot of work. But as pet parents, we'll do anything for our beloved dogs.

You can start by cleaning them and their environment, making sure that they're drinking clean and safe water, and start an exercise routine. These are easy methods to boost your dog's immune system naturally.

Providing them foods and supplements that can help maintain their immune system can also help a lot but make sure to ask your trusted vet first.

The dog's immune system can determine its overall well-being. With a healthy immune system, it can fight off various infections and diseases.

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