Healthy dogs and cats maintain a robust immune system when given high-quality food, a chemical-free diet and environment, and a lifestyle free from stress. Experts agree that immune system support by way of supplementation provides the added boost your best friend needs to stay in the peak of good health.
Immune System Support
There are many different kinds of supplements available, although not all have been well researched. Some evidence is more anecdotal than clinical. A few supplements that modulate the immune system and have stood the test of user scrutiny include:
• Probiotics: These are the ‘good bacteria’ that help move things along the digestive tract. Probiotics are showing up everywhere in people food. It bears noting that they contribute to healthy dogs and cats as well. Probiotics can help a pet through any illness, ward off Candida infections, and help with irritable bowel syndrome.
• Astragalus: This is an herb similar to Echinacea that has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine. Astragalus modulates the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory action by inhibiting the release of histamines, lessening a pet’s reactions to allergies.
• Reishi mushrooms: These are definitely not eating mushrooms as they are bitter and mostly woody but so powerful that the Japanese government and medical establishment use them as part of their mainstream cancer treatments.
• Shiitake mushrooms: These have anti-viral and anti-biotic properties, and are often used as an important ingredient in the natural treatment of cancer.
• Maitake mushrooms: Another of the medicinal mushrooms shown to have immune boosting powers. Clinical studies have shown that Maitake is an effective addition to natural cancer treatments.
• Dandelion root: This is useful by itself as a liver tonic, diuretic, digestion aid, and appetite stimulant. Its greatest use for immune support in healthy dogs and cats is assisting the effectiveness and absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
• Licorice root: This is an ancient herbal remedy with worldwide use for beneficial effects on arthritis, asthma, bladder cancer, constipation, depression, fatigue, fever, intestinal inflammation, kidney problems, liver problems, sore throat, spasms, and ulcers.
• Enzymes: Enzymes can be a valuable addition to a healthy dog’s or cat’s diet. Some of the high-quality pet foods contain enzymes like Bromelain that helps with digestion and absorption of vital nutrients.
Advocate for Healthy Dogs
Dr. Shawn Messonnier, host of the radio program Dr. Shawn-The Natural Vet, believes that use of potent anti-oxidants is also a good addition. Anti-oxidants like the vitamins E and C, compounds like co-enzyme Q10 and ginkgo biloba are helpful for maintaining healthy cat and dog immune systems. These anti-oxidants help minimize cell damage, which can be helpful in fighting active disease or for prevention.
Dr. Messonnier also suggests the use of colostrum, the first milk produced by all mammals feeding young, to aid in some auto-immune issues. Colostrum is vital for newborns as it helps them develop initial immunity through their mother. For those pets with immune system problems, it stands to reason that a product with colostrum might be of assistance.
These are a few of the clinically proven ways for helping to boost a pet’s immunity. They should always be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle that includes regular veterinary visits, plenty of exercise, nutritional food, and affection.