Millions of protozoa, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other enemies of health attack the body of pets every second. Strong immunity in dogs, as well as in humans, is on guard around the clock - protective cells destroy the pathogen before it has time to do harm. But what if the health guards got tired? How to strengthen the immunity of a pet in a safe way?
Immunity is innate (or natural) and acquired (or artificial). If a dog has a viral infection and develops immunity to this virus, they speak of acquired immunity. Viruses are very insidious and dangerous: some can kill, others cause irreparable harm to health. Fortunately, it is not difficult to fight viruses today; you just need to vaccinate your dog regularly. This is the only affordable way to enhance artificial immunity. A vaccinated dog is highly resistant to the diseases from which it is vaccinated - enough to not be afraid of viral infections. Read more about vaccinations in the article "Vaccination of dogs: rules and deadlines."
But with innate immunity, everything is more complicated. It is influenced by a lot of factors - lack of vitamins, poor nutrition and living conditions, heredity, emotional state, chronic ailments, trauma, ecology and much more. Parasites have a negative effect on resistance:
- worms very quickly undermine the immune system, releasing toxins and literally poisoning the pet from the inside;
- fleas and other bloodsuckers violate the integrity of the skin, which, coupled with combs, leads to bacterial infections;
- after a tick that lives on the skin (scabies, otodectosis) or under the skin (demodicosis), even a vaccinated dog can become susceptible to viruses, so these parasites kill the immune system. An allergy is possible on any parasite - a “failure” of immunity, accompanied by chronic symptoms. Allergy, being an immune disease, in itself undermines the immune system even more.
Often, an increase in immunity in dogs is necessary after suffering an illness, surgery, stress, exhaustion or taking medications (antibiotics or toxic drugs). There are several methods to enhance immunity, but they work only in combination. Therefore, you do not have to choose - you need to act on all fronts.
1. Prevention, getting rid of parasites. This is the lifelong duty of every dog breeder. Drops at the withers of blood-sucking reptiles once a month, a tablet for helminths every 4-6 months. Choose quality drugs (cheap insecticides are toxic).
2. Balanced feeding. Bowel problems are always inevitable problems with the immune system. If a pet eats natural food, the menu should include fruits and vegetables, several sources of protein (sea fish, meat, offal of various varieties), sour milk, carbohydrates, vegetable fats (a veterinarian or a breeder will help to make the right menu). Vitamins and mineral supplements are added to natural nutrition on the recommendation of a doctor. Nothing needs to be added to industrial feeds. Of course, the feed should be of high quality, without artificial additives, flavor enhancers, preservatives, dyes.
Almost all feeds whose ads can be seen on TV belong to the lower category (even those that write “premium”, “super-premium”). They are literally made from garbage - vegetable pulp, grain husks, bones, hooves, hides and feathers. Professional feeds - Innova, Acana, Canidae, Orijen, Go Natural. Remember that if the dog does not eat properly, it will be very difficult to maintain its immunity at the proper level.
3. Long walks help boost immunity - The dog needs fresh air no less than people. Of course, you can not overload the pet during the recovery period after a serious illness. In this case, be sure to ask the veterinarian which schedule is preferable. If the dog is physically healthy, alternate daily walking exercise and sports. Try to get out more often on the nature. Walk in the rain and frost, not limited to five minutes on the toilet - this way you will strengthen not only the pet’s immunity, but also your own.
4. Do not smoke in the presence of a dog, especially if she suffers from allergies, respiratory diseases, or the cardiovascular system. Owners rarely think about this, but pets inevitably become passive smokers, resting at the feet of smoking people. And tobacco smoke is one of the main enemies of immunity.
5. Avoid stressful situations. If this is not possible - smooth the corners as much as possible (afraid of large dogs - invite a dog handler or a breeder for advice, panic at the sight of a veterinarian - use sedatives or introduce the dog to the doctor closer). Hormonal stress also destroys the immune system, so it is important to rid the pet of sexual experiences (regular mating under the control of the breeder or sterilization).
In general, nothing unusual - for a dog’s immunity, everything that is harmful to our human immunity is harmful. And you can raise the pet’s immunity in the same ways that we strengthen our own immunity after illness or in the offseason for the purpose of prevention. One “but” - you can’t use traditional methods without consulting a veterinarian, since the most harmless in our opinion foods and herbs are dangerous for dogs. For example, a hundred times proven and confirmed a thousand times that garlic for dogs is toxic, and owners continue to feed them pets. Or orange juice - a storehouse of vitamins for humans, but you can’t give citruses to dogs.
Immune boosting medications
Of course, this method is safe only after consulting a veterinarian. Immunostimulants (or modulators) are required when the dog’s immunity is significantly weakened - after a tick or fungal infection, after and during the treatment of viral ailments, after severe stress or trauma, difficult labor or surgery, during the recovery period. To prescribe a particular drug, you need to take blood tests or consult a veterinarian who has been observing a dog for a long time. The choice is large: Gamavit, Ribotan, Mastim, Baksin-vet, Immunofan, Cycloferon, etc.
It is important to understand that the drug is not chosen at random, but for a specific purpose. Some immunostimulants and modulators help restore protective forces after viruses, others activate the antibacterial "shield", others accelerate the regeneration and recovery from injuries, operations, etc. The dosage is prescribed, taking into account not only the weight, but also the general condition of the dog. If the pet suffers from a chronic ailment that undermines the immune system, stimulants are used in courses and sometimes replaced with other, similar medicines (the body gets used to the same stimulant and stops responding to it). Therefore, if there is a need to strengthen the dog’s immunity with medications, be sure to consult a veterinarian. Do not trust the advice of the "experts" from the next entrance, no matter how convincing they may be.
Always remember that a healthy lifestyle is the best friend of immunity! Anything that adversely affects a dog’s health negatively affects its immunity.