Dog Immunity

How to Boost Dog Immune System (9 Tips)

The immune system identifies and combats pathogens that threaten a dog's well-being. Factors such as genetics, age, or underlying health conditions weaken a dog’s immune system, increasing its vulnerability to infections and diseases. 

To boost dog immune system, follow the tips listed below.

  1. Exercise Dogs Regularly. Regular exercise stimulates the dog's immune system, reduces stress levels, promotes circulation, and enhances overall health.
  2. Consider CBD Supplements for Dogs. CBD supplements have anti-inflammatory properties that regulate the immune system in dogs by supporting immune function and promoting overall well-being.
  3. Feed Dogs Healthily. A balanced and nutritious diet is essential to support immune function and help prevent nutritional deficiencies that compromise immunity.
  4. Groom Dogs Regularly. Regular grooming helps to maintain dog skin and coat health, reducing the risk of skin infections and allergens that weaken the immune system.
  5. Keep Dogs at A Healthy Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for supporting immune function in dogs. Obesity leads to inflammation and other health issues that weaken the immune system, while being underweight compromises nutrient intake essential for immunity.
  6. Probiotics for Dogs. Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria in dogs, which supports immune responses and helps protect against infections and diseases.
  7. Play with Dogs Often. Regular playtime and social interaction stimulate the dog's mind and body, contributing to overall well-being and immune health. 
  8. Take Dogs to New Places. Exposure to new environments and experiences helps strengthen the dog's immune system by challenging it to adapt to different stimuli.
  9. Clean Dogs' Toys. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting dogs' toys helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria that compromise the dog's immune system. 

Regular exercise improves blood circulation, lowers stress levels, and promotes overall health. Providing the dog with a healthy and balanced diet with essential vitamins and nutrients and CBD supplements bolsters the immunity dog response and preserves its health. 

Additional strategies, such as grooming, administering probiotics, engaging in playtime, encouraging socialization, and ensuring clean dog equipment, help strengthen the dog’s immune system. Implementing these practices and lifestyle adjustments helps improve dog immune system health.

1. Exercise Dogs Regularly

Exercise Dogs Regularly to provide physical activities that engage their body and mind. Regular Exercise includes walking, jogging, playing fetch, agility training, swimming, hiking, and interactive play sessions with toys or other dogs. 

Regular exercise is important for the dog's physical health and boosts their immune system. Exercise stimulates the circulation of immune cells throughout the body, improving their ability to detect and eliminate pathogens. Exercise reduces stress levels, which harm the immune system, stimulates the lymphatic system, enhances respiratory function, and regulates hormonal balance, making exercise a powerful immune booster for dogs. 

Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise daily, depending on the dog's breed, size, and age. Gradually increase exercise intensity to avoid straining the dog’s muscles or joints.

2. Consider CBD Supplements for Dogs

Consider CBD supplements for dogs as immune boosters. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, without psychoactive effect. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including immune function.

Research indicates that CBD is an immune booster for dogs. It modulates immune responses, reduces inflammation, and promotes overall well-being, making it an effective dog immune system booster. There are many different CBD supplements for dogs, such as CBD Oil, treats, gummies, or balms. CBD Oil is usually administered twice daily, with the dose depending on the dog’s body weight.

3. Feed Dogs Healthily

Feeding dogs healthily with a balanced and nutritious diet ensures that dogs receive the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to maintain optimal immune function. 

Choose a premium dog food brand that uses real meat as the main ingredient to provide a healthy dog diet. Incorporate natural immune boosters for dogs, such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, carrots, and spinach. These foods are rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients that support immune function. Follow the recommended portion sizes for your dog's breed, size, and activity level. Consult with your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to determine the appropriate feeding plan.

Remember to always provide fresh and clean water to keep dogs hydrated and support their overall health.

4. Groom Dogs Regularly

Dog grooming refers to the process of maintaining a dog's physical appearance and overall hygiene by bathing, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and toothbrushing. Regular grooming helps to keep the dog’s skin and coat clean, reducing the risk of skin infections and allergies. Brushing stimulates blood circulation, making it an immune booster for dogs

Bathing removes dirt, allergens, and parasites from the dog’s skin and coat. Bathing is recommended every 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather and the dog's lifestyle. Avoid over-bathing, as it strips the natural oils from their skin, leading to dryness and irritation. 

Overgrown nails cause discomfort that often leads to infections. Trim the dog's nails once a month using a dog nail trimmer, or seek professional help if uncertain about the correct prodecure. Clean the dog's ears once a week to prevent the buildup of wax and debris. 

Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing the dog's teeth daily using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Heavy shedders need daily brushing, but some breeds require less grooming. 

5. Keep Dogs at A Healthy Weight

Keeping dogs at a healthy weight by monitoring their food intake and controlling their treat consumption is crucial for supporting your dog's immune system and overall health. Obesity leads to a weakened immune response and increases the risk of various health conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. 

Opt for healthy treat options such as small pieces of fruits or vegetables, or choose low-calorie treats specifically formulated for weight management. Treats comprising blueberries or carrots are a source of fun and an immune booster for dogs. A healthy weight benefits a dog's immune system and improves their quality of life and longevity.

6. Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support the health of the gastrointestinal tract and promote a balanced immune response. Probiotics are dog immune system boosters that improve digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health. 

Dogs’ immune system is tightly related to their gut. Seek high-quality probiotics for dogs with beneficial bacterial strains such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Incorporate probiotics into a dog’s diet as a natural source of beneficial bacteria and immune boosters for dogs

Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage and to ensure it is safe for the dog's specific needs. The veterinarian recommends the most suitable probiotic product for dogs.

7. Play with Dogs Often

Play with dogs often to stimulate numerous benefits for their immune system. Engaging in interactive play helps stimulate their mind, reduce stress levels, and enhance overall well-being. Dogs benefit greatly from toys that require mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys, which keep their minds engaged while providing physical activity.

Tug-of-war, fetch, and hide-and-seek are great games that promote physical exercise and mental engagement. Remember to use toys that are clean, safe, and appropriate for the dog's size and breed.

8. Take Dogs to New Places

Take dogs to new places that broaden their exposure to different stimuli. The exposure strengthens their resilience and prevents them from becoming overly sensitive or fearful. Take the dog for walks in various settings, such as parks, beaches, or urban areas. New places expose them to various smells, sights, and sounds, stimulating their senses, enhancing their mental well-being, and acting as a potent immune booster for dogs

Positive interactions with other dogs and people build the dog’s confidence and social skills. Organize playdates with other friendly dogs or enroll them in obedience classes or agility training. Start with low-stress situations and gradually increase the level of challenge when exposing the dog to new experiences, allowing them to adapt at their own pace and reducing the risk of overwhelming them.

9. Clean Dogs' Toys

Cleaning dogs' toys involves washing, removing accumulated dirt and saliva, and repairing damaged parts. Regularly cleaning the dog's toys is an important aspect of maintaining the dog's immune health by removing sources of infections or allergies.  

Different types of toys may require specific cleaning methods. Read the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to clean the toys properly without causing any damage. Using mild dish soap or a mixture of water and vinegar effectively cleans most toys. Regularly inspect the dog's toys and discard any that are worn or damaged beyond repair.

What is Dog Immunity?

Dog immunity refers to the physiological and biological defense mechanisms dogs possess against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Like humans and other animals, dog immunityconsists of a complex system of humeral and cellular immune reactants that interact to protect the host from bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens,” according to the study by Molla, F., titled “Common Immune Mediated Skin Disease of Dog,” 2016.

The immune system of a dog consists of physical barriers, innate (general) immunity, adaptive (specialized) immunity, and lymphoid organs.  

Physical barriers such as the skin and mucous membranes prevent pathogens from entering the body. Innate immunity is the first line of defense and includes mechanisms like inflammation, phagocytosis (engulfing and destroying pathogens by immune cells), and natural killer cells. 

Adaptive immunity is a specialized response involving the production of antibodies by B cells and the activation of T cells. The cells target specific pathogens, reinforcing the immune system's defense against pathogens the dog has encountered before. Lymphoid organs include the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, and mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), which produce and store immune cells that play a crucial role in the immune response. Keep a strong immune system for dog wellness and longevity.

How does the Dog's Immune System work?

The Dog’s immune system works by detecting and combatting harmful invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The immune system comprises various cells, tissues, and organs that collectively protect the dog's body from diseases and infections. 

The immune system needs to distinguish between the body's own cells and foreign invaders. The immune system protects itself from attack by recognizing invading microorganisms or other foreign substances that are not a part of the body. A typical immune response “involves recognizing a foreign antigen, mobilizing forces to defend against it, and attacking it,” according to the article by Tizard, I., titled "Immune System Responses in Dogs," 2022.

Physical and mental exercises, good hygiene, decreased stress, a balanced diet, and keeping a healthy gut with probiotics and supplements such as CBD oil are some of the ways how to boost dogs immune system.

What makes the Dog Immune System weak?

The dog immune system weakens due to poor nutrition, stress, lack of exercise, age, genetic factors, lack of vaccinations, and underlying health conditions.

Poor nutrition, including deficiencies in key nutrients like vitamins and minerals, can compromise the immune response. A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining a strong immune system in dogs. “Nutrition plays a crucial role in immune system function, with undernutrition impairing host protection and influencing physiological changes like ageing and intense physical exercise,” according to the study by Marcos, A., Nova, E., & Montero, A., titled “Changes in the immune system are conditioned by nutrition,” 2003. Providing a balanced diet and sufficient nutrition that is absorbed in the dog's intestines is one way how to strengthen dogs immune system.

Poor nutrition “influences the pathogenesis of canine atopic dermatitis by causing derangements in lipid metabolism and altering epidermal barrier function and antigen presentation,” according to the study by Pucheu-Haston, C. et al., titled “Review: Innate immunity, lipid metabolism, and nutrition in canine atopic dermatitis,” 2015. 

Stress suppresses the immune system in dogs, making them more vulnerable to infections. Stressors include changes in routine, environmental stressors, social stress, or illness in the household. “Stress from transportation and instrumentation/hospitalization in dogs blunts immune function, increases neutrophil apoptosis, and blunts peripheral blood mononuclear cell cytotoxicity function,” according to the study by DeClue, A. et al., titled “Transportation and Routine Veterinary Interventions Alter Immune Function in the Dog,” 2020.

Lack of exercise in dogs leads to weaker immune systems.  Several research studies were conducted to determine how to strengthen dogs imune system with exercise. “Moderate-intensity endurance exercise in dogs reduces white blood cell levels and inflammatory cytokine expression in leukocytes, potentially improving immune health,” according to the study by Lee, H. et al., titled “Effect of Moderate-Intensity Endurance Exercise on Inflammatory Cytokines in Leukocytes of Dogs,” 2022.

Puppies and elderly dogs have weaker immune systems. Puppies' immune systems are still developing, while older dogs may experience “age-related changes in lymphocyte subset distributions, antibody production, and mitogen-induced lymphoproliferative responses occur in dogs,” according to the study by Greeley, E. et al., titled “The influence of age on the canine immune system,” 1996.

Dogs have genetic predispositions to immune system disorders or deficiencies, which affects their ability to fight off infections effectively. “Genetic markers can explain phenotypic variance in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and cellular immune responses, including antigen presentation, in dogs,” according to the study by Vasconcelos, T. et al., titled “Canine susceptibility to visceral leishmaniasis: A systematic review upon genetic aspects, considering breed factors and immunological concepts,” 2017.

Lack of vaccination makes dogs vulnerable to preventable infectious diseases. Dog vaccines “train the dog immune system on how to respond to pathogens before the dog encounters them, thereby protecting the dog from an infection,” according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Underlying health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, hormonal imbalances, and chronic diseases like diabetes or kidney disease, weaken the immune system in dogs. Critically ill dogs “develop immune system alterations, resulting in reduced respiratory burst function and cytokine production despite upregulation of TLR-4,” according to the study by Hoffman, D., Amorim, J., & DeClue, A., titled “Immune Function in Critically Ill Dogs,” 2017. 

Dog owners should provide a supportive environment, proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and attention to overall wellness to help maintain a strong and healthy dog immune system. Consult a veterinarian for appropriate evaluation and guidance on how to strengthen dog immune system if the dog exhibits frequent illness or weakened immune response.

Does Autoimmune Diseases Kill Dogs?

Yes, autoimmune diseases kill dogs, depending on the severity of the condition and the organs or systems affected. “Two dogs died during the initial episode of autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) in dogs, according to the study by Day, M., titled “Serial monitoring of clinical, haematological and immunological parameters in canine autoimmune haemolytic anaemia,” 1996. Dog autoimmune disease occurs when the dog's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, leading to inflammation, tissue damage, and dysfunction of affected organs, hence the need for early diagnosis and medical guidance in boosting dogs immune system

Is Autoimmune Disease Common in Dogs?

Yes, autoimmune disease is common in dogs. The appearance of autoimmunity in dogs “such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), autoimmune hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia, autoimmune myasthenia gravis, and diabetes mellitus, are now fairly common due to dog breeding and selection,” according to the study by Gershwin, L., titled “Veterinary Autoimmunity,” 2007. 

Swann, J. et al.'s 2019 study, titled “ACVIM consensus statement on the treatment of immune‐mediated hemolytic anemia in dogs,” advocates for the use of immunosuppressive and antithrombotic drugs in treating immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. The study’s authors state “immunosuppressive and antithrombotic drugs are recommended.” Consulting a veterinarian regarding the use of dog immune system booster is recommended.

How can Honest Paws help you Boost your Dog's Immune System?

Honest Paws helps you boost your dog’s immune system by offering a variety of natural supplements and products designed to strengthen the dog's immune response. For instance, the Immune Support Soft Chews contain a blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and other nutrients that support immune health. Honest Paws is a company that offers a variety of CBD-based products and supplements for pets, including dogs. CBD helps reduce inflammation and support overall wellness.