Have you thought about how you can strengthen your dog's immune system? And is that even necessary? Today we explain the function of the immune system and when you should support your dog’s defenses.
The job of the immune system
The dog's immune system has the task of protecting the organism from intruders, pathogenic cell changes and pollutants. It is the body's defense system that works on several levels and must fend off a large number of germs, bacteria and viruses every day.
A strong immune system works very effectively. While it protects its own intact cells, it attacks dead cells and pests and destroys them before they can harm the body. An intact immune system in dogs is the organism's resistance to illness as many diseases can only develop if the dog has an immune deficiency. Various organs, cells and endogenous substances are involved in this complex interplay. It consists of two defense mechanisms, the unspecific defense and the specific defense:
Unspecific defense (innate) - every dog is born with an unspecific defense. These immune cells, also called "phagocytes" or "killer cells" intuitively attack pollutants, germs and other pests.
Specific defense (acquired) - this defense is acquired over the course of life when the immune system learns and specifically produces antibodies against pathogens that it has already got to know. The specific defense is usually getting stronger as the dog matures.
Both defense systems of the body are closely linked and support each other. If the systems are intact, they are the first barrier to effectively ward off possible pathogens.
When Does the Immune System Need Support?
When dogs suffer from an immunodeficiency, they are more likely to be affected with parasites or infections, and external influences can trigger an immune deficiency in the dog. Watch out for signs of weakening defenses in your furry friend and take countermeasures at an early stage. The following factors can negatively affect the immune system of our dogs:
- Young animals have a weakened immune system from the start. Puppies are therefore much more susceptible to various infections and parasites. The immune defense is mainly limited to the innate immune system. Nevertheless, the puppies are coming into contact with many pathogens. Dog school, puppy play lessons and walks are proven activities for a lively exchange of bacteria and germs. Natural support strengthens the young immune system and makes it more resistant.
- The immune system is also attacked or even suppressed by some drugs, especially antibiotics. Although this side effect is desirable in certain diseases, the consequences can still be infections and inflammations in the body. Therefore, after taking medication, both the dog's gastrointestinal tract and the dog's immune system should receive an extra portion of immune-boosting supplements.
- Parasites also have an impact on the immune system. The pests attack the intestinal flora and feed on your dog’s body. A mite infestation in dogs is often the result of a weak immune system. Therefore, you should not only eliminate the parasites as quickly as possible, but also do something to boost your dog’s defenses.
- Unfortunately, our furry friends are also getting older. Not only do they lose strength and agility with age, but the immune system is also no longer as stable as it used to be. Organs and metabolism shift down a gear. Therefore, old dogs need special support in that area.
- If your companion has chronic infections or chronic diseases, the immune system has to work harder. It runs at full speed trying to fight the infections and heal the organs. Additional support with immune-strengthening agents helps the organism counteract chronic infections.
Strong gut - strong immune system
One of the most effective organs of the immune defense is the intestine, in humans as well as in dogs. Around 70 - 80% of the immune cells are located in the longest organ in the body. Basically, one can say that the intestine is the central point for an intact immune system.
The intestinal mucous membranes protect the body from undesirable pathogens and binds them so that the attackers can be flushed out of the body. This is also one of the reasons why adequate hydration is essential for a healthy body.
In addition, the intestine has its own microbes that play an important role in combating harmful substances and other pests. The more “good” bacteria colonize the dog's intestines, the fitter the digestive tract and the immune system are. A one-sided diet, insufficient nutrients or poor quality food lead to the death of the valuable intestinal bacteria and at the same time weaken the immune system and consequently the dog’s health.
In order to build up the immune system, feed an appropriate diet. Prebiotics like Bio Morosan are the food for good bacteria in the dog's intestines. Such natural prebiotics should be fed for several days.
Another proven home remedy for building up intestinal health is Aniforte Healing Moor Mud for dogs. It contains high levels of humic acids, which are known to aid digestion and stimulate gastrointestinal activity. This organic mass acts like healing clay and also has immune-boosting properties.
The basis for a healthy and active intestine is still the right food. The composition of individual nutrients is particularly important.
The right food for building the dog's immune system
The basis of a species-appropriate and vitamin-rich diet for dogs is dog food as it plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the stomach and intestines as well as supporting a strong immune system. Nutrient-rich food strengthens the gastric mucosa, good bacteria and immune cells can multiply and nutrient deficiencies are prevented.
With synthetic food, on the other hand, there may be a lack of important nutrients. Synthetic substances in the feed that cause illness attack the intestinal mucosa and the intestinal wall becomes more permeable. The immune system can no longer fight intruders and they penetrate the organism more easily and cause infections.
We therefore recommend using high-quality natural dog food without any synthetic vitamins and minerals, flavour enhancers or preservatives. Natural substances have a much better bioavailability and can be optimally utilised by the organism. In addition, the food for dogs should contain valuable fiber, which serves as food for the good bacteria in the intestine.
The dog food should be easy to digest and, of course, be tailored to the dog's needs. For example, if your darling is a Labrador, we recommend a food for Labradors that considers the tendency to become overweight and consists of lean meat.
For Australian Shepherds, on the other hand, the high energy requirement must be taken into account. If the dog food for Australian Shepherds does not meet the animals' nutritional needs, this can lead to a weakened immune system, malnutrition and secondary diseases.
Naturally strengthen your dog's immune system
In order to strengthen your dog's defenses in a natural way, you can do several other things besides offering a nutrient-rich food:
- Regular walks
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Avoid of stress and overexertion
- Sufficient water intake
- Immune-strengthening feed supplements
- Regular health checks at the vets
Stress and excessive demands have an effect on the immune deficiency in dogs. Sufficient rest breaks between activities, an appropriate supply of fresh water and natural food supplements support the dog's immune system.
How does our AniForte® Colostrum support your dog's immune system?
Premium Colostrum is a supplement for dogs and cats made from 100% pure bovine colostrum. Colostrum is a mammal's first milk, produced within a 72-hour window after giving birth. It can be used to support immunity, appetite and reduce stress in both young and mature pets. It can also support and maintain the gastrointestinal tract.
Recent research has shown that bovine colostrum is valuable in helping balance the vitals, primarily serving to naturally regulate the immune system. The natural composition ensures problem-free digestion and optimum utilisation in cats and dogs. It is filled with essential vitamins, essential and non-essential amino acids, as well as indispensable immune regulators, such as Lactoferrin and PRP (proline-rich polypeptides).
Our 100% Natural Colostrum from German grazing livestock has a high level of acceptance and has been developed in cooperation between animal health practitioners, nutrition experts and veterinarians.