Aside from maintaining your cat & dog oral health, keeping their immune system strong is a part of your responsibility as a pet owner. A strong immunity helps your beloved animal companions ward off infections and diseases.
The following are helpful tips on how to keep your pet’s immune system healthy:
1. Feed Them a Nutritious Diet
Give your cats and dogs the best chance at a strong immune system by feeding them a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Look for pet food formulas that contain high-quality ingredients and are appropriate for your pet’s age, breed, and activity level.
They can also get nutrients and vitamins from whole food sources. Below are some immune system-boosting human foods safe for your pets:
- Canned pumpkin: This is a good source of fiber, which can help with digestion. It also contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can help boost the immune system.
- Sweet potatoes: These root crops are packed with beta-carotene and fiber. They also contain vitamins A, C, and B6, which are important for a healthy immune system.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants to help boost the immune system. They’re also a good source of fiber.
- Spinach: Your pets can get vitamins A, C, and E from spinach, which are essential for a healthy immune system. It also contains antioxidants and carotenoids, which can help protect cells from damage.
- Salmon: Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B6, and protein.
Make sure to let your veterinarian know before changing your pet’s diet.
2. Get Them Regular Veterinary Checkups
Regular veterinary checkups are important for keeping your pet’s immune system strong. Your vet can identify any underlying health problems that could weaken your pet’s immunity.
Internal medical conditions can sometimes make your pet more susceptible to infections. Go to this page for more info.
3. Have Their Vaccinations Updated
Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Vaccinations help protect them against diseases that could weaken their immune system.
Some of the most important vaccinations for cats and dogs include:
- Canine distemper
- Feline panleukopenia
- Canine parvovirus
- Feline calicivirus
These vaccines are typically given as shots when your pet is a puppy or kitten. Once their initial vaccinations are complete, they will need booster shots every one to three years, depending on the vaccine. Speak with your veterinarian about which vaccines are appropriate for your pet and how often they should be given.
Moreover, you may want to find a spay & neuter clinic for your pets. According to studies, spaying and neutering can help avoid certain diseases and cancers. This, in turn, can help keep their immune system strong.
4. Give Them Supplements
Various supplements are available on the market that can help boost your pet’s immune system. However, not all of these products have been proven to be effective.
Some of the most popular supplements for boosting immunity include:
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Before giving your pet any supplements, you must talk to your veterinarian first. They can tell you if a supplement is safe for your pet and whether or not it will be effective.
5. Keep Them at a Healthy Weight
Obesity can weaken your pet’s immune system and make them more susceptible to diseases. That’s why you should keep your pet at a healthy weight.
The best way to do this is to feed them a nutritious diet and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Exercise not only helps them maintain a healthy weight but also helps boost their immune system.
Discuss your concerns about your pet’s weight if this bothers you. They can also help you create the right diet and exercise plan for your pet.
6. Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene aids in preventing the spread of germs and keeping your pet’s immune system strong. The first thing you should do is always wash your hands properly before and after handling your pet, food, or toys.
You should also regularly clean your pet’s bedding, bowls, and toys. Use hot water and soap for washable items, and disinfect non-washable items with a solution of bleach and water. Be sure to dry items completely before using them again.
7. Limit Their Exposure to Toxins
Keep your animal companions away from areas that may be contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, cleaners, or other chemicals.
When using chemicals in your home, follow the safety instructions on the label. Store all chemicals out of reach of your pets, and Ventilate the area well after using them.
8. Give Them Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is important for keeping your pet’s immune system strong. It helps to reduce stress, which can weaken immunity. It also helps to keep their weight down, improving overall health.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day for dogs and 15 minutes per day for cats. This can include walks, runs, games of fetch, or playtime with toys. Speak with your veterinarian about starting any new exercise routine with your pet.
9. Reduce Their Stress Levels
Stress can hurt your pet’s immune system. It can make them more vulnerable to infections and disease.
There are several things you can do to help reduce your pet’s stress levels, including:
- Providing them with a peaceful, safe place to rest
- Giving them plenty of exercise
- Playing calm music or using an air diffuser with calming essential oils
- Avoiding changes in their routine
- Speaking to your veterinarian about ways to reduce stress
The Bottom Line
A healthy lifestyle is important for keeping your pet’s immune system strong. Inform your vet about any changes you plan to make in your pet’s diet or activity level. They can also help you create a plan that’s right for your pet’s individual needs.