~ Maintaining a Healthy Immune System ~
How does one expect their companion's immune system to be properly maintained? Not only do you put faith in what your companion's immune system can naturally do but you also help support it being your companion's care giver.
Household cleaning products, soaps and air fresheners
Along with sanitation comes products used to keep your home fresh and clean.Many cleaning produces, soaps and air fresheners contain various harmful toxins like bleach and ammonia which can be ingested, absorbed, or breathed in by your companion, easily harming your companion, easily harming your sensitive dog.
Many will treat their yard for weed and pests that are also full of chemicals, hard metals and other toxins.They can be tracked in on your shoes or if your companion is supervised outside, they can be ingested, absorbed , or breathed in by your companion as well.
Cleaning and treating your home inside and out with natural plant-based products are the best war to avoid harmful chemicals and other toxins coming in contact with your companion animal that could affect how their body functions including the immune system.
While we should not allow our companions to live in a bubble, one thing that really improve disease control is certainly sanitation.Clean yards and picking up after your dog , food and water bowls and generally a maintained living environment can really prevent a lot of illness and disease.
Be aware of other toxins your companions could encounter such as those found in chemical flea, tick, parasites and worm products and home/yard treatments.Our companions are much smaller and much closer to the ground than we are and unlike humans they lick themselves ingesting many of these products directly from their coat and paws.
In addition to ingestion, these products like flea and tick medications are absorbed into your animal putting stress on the immune system and detoxification organs like the kidney and liver. Deworming and parasite products often harm the gastrointestinal tract.There are many natural products that can be used to prevent, treat and control fleas, ticks, worms and parasites.
This also applies to pharmaceutical medications like antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines and more. While these may be required in extreme situations, overuse or use when it isn't necessary can cause damage to your companion, resulting in more serious health concerns.The best thing you can do is continue to support a healthy immune system, use proactive health care, attempt to determine the root of the problem and treat with natural methods first before resorting to pharmaceutical drugs.
As discusses in all our vaccine related posts, vaccines are a huge stressors on the body including the immune system.They are associated with various side affects including chronic disease, cancer, kidney disease, and death. They contain harmful chemicals, adjutants and other ingredients that contribute to various illness and disease and do not support the immune system as they are intended. To learn more please view the various posts on the topic which includes a plethora of scientific resources and studies.
Species appropriate diet
This is one of the easiest things you can do for your companion. Not only are commercial kibble and canned foods highly processed they contain toxins, chemical preservatives , dyes , texturizers, ingredients like carbohydrates and grains that not only impair the immune system but are just not appropriate for an obligate carnivore. Just like humans a raw whole food diet is the best way to maintain a strong immune system.
Diet is one of the most important components of a healthy immune system because the gastrointestinal tract is the prime location for immunity. The nutrients your companion ingests not only helps your companion thrive but also the beneficial bacteria and enzymes will aid the immune system.
Stress ultimately hampers the immune system.This can include territorial issues among animals, unsettling noise, pregnancy, nursing, veterinary trips, illness, disease , surgery, moving, the birth of a new baby and much more, by reducing stress or keeping it at a minimum your companions body can focus on other things versus trying to cope with things that may not be in their control or otherwise are compromising their immune system.
Exercise and weight control
Not only does exercise reduce stress it strengthens out immune system and keeps our weight ar a controlled level.It is a well known fact that being overweight greatly increases an animals chances of disease and infections as well as stressors the body and its immune system. Dogs can be walked on leash, run or hike along side , play fetch , swim, are all great options for getting that blood pumping.
Antioxidants are responsible for dealing with oxidative damage and destroying free radicals they boost the immune system and have been found to prevent infections, cancer and much more. Many whole foods contain antioxidants. Antioxidants contains vitamins A, C, E that can easily be supplied with a raw species appropriate diet witch includes a plethora of scientific researches and science.
Herbs and nutraceuticals
There are so many herbs and natural foods that have wonderful medicinal benefits.
Antibiotics work by affecting bacteria cells in several ways. Beta-lactam ( penicilin) kill bacteria by interfering with the process they use to build cell walls. Macrolide antibiotics ( erythromycin) block bacterial specific ribisomes and prevent them from building proteins. Since proteins do all the cell's work, a bacterium that cannot build proteins cannot survive.Quinolone antibiotics ( ciprofloxacin/levofloxacin) work by causing bacteria DNA strands to break and then prevents the breaks from being repaired.
The good news is that antibiotics don't affect human cells because although there are similarities between human and bacterial cells there are also differences.The bad news is that antibiotics will harm your dog's beneficial bacteria. These friendly bacteria play a role in digestion by producing enzymes and some vitamins, and also immune activity by preventing opportunistic pathogenic bacteria from multiplying. For example, colostidium bacteria are part of the internal environment and do not normally harm healthy animals.However,when antibiotics kill to many friendly bacteria in the intestine, this bacteria multiplies and produces toxins that can make your dog sick with symptoms like fever, nausea and diarrhea.
What should you do ?
Use antibiotics only when necessary! Taking antibiotics " just in case " or ineffectively against a virus can hurt your dog by damaging colonies of beneficial microbes.Damaging these important "resident" bacteria can lead to their replacement with opportunistic bacteria that can lead to underlying health issues in your dog that last their lifetime.So instead of "killing" think "building"by strengthening your animal's immune system and replenishing probiotics on a daily basis. If necessary, provide a safer, less damaging alternative to antibiotics.