6 Ways to Help Boost Your Dog's Immune System
What’s one of the first things dogs do when they meet other dogs? That’s right! They sniff the other dog’s behind! Most dogs are not shy about getting to know other dogs and people. But you never really know what illnesses they might have. As dogs age, their immune systems become less resilient. Here are six ways to help boost your aging dog’s immune system so he can be as friendly as he likes!
1. Eat nutritiously
A dog’s gastrointestinal tract is home to 65% of her immune cells, which means that diet and immunity are very closely intertwined. A diet full of nutrients is essential to maintaining your dog’s immune system. And she may need more key nutrients—vitamins, minerals and protein as she ages.
2. Get moving
Getting outside for regular exercise and fresh air is one of the best things you can do for your dog. As well as releasing endorphins, exercise stimulates the lymphatic system, allowing the body to properly filter toxins. Exercise also relieves stress, which is good because stress negatively affects the immune system. So grab the leash and some treats and explore the great outdoors.
3. Stay trim
After speaking to your vet about your dog’s ideal weight and how many calories he should consume each day, try to stick to this weight. Because the higher a dog's weight is over his ideal weight, the more his immune system will struggle.
4. Put hands to fur
One of the easiest ways to help boost the dog’s immune system is to give him a massage by gently kneading his fur and rubbing the muscles. Massage stimulates the dog’s lymphatic system, and the time out that you take to do it benefits you too!
5. Have a change of scenery
New sights, new smells and new sounds are important to dogs and humans alike. They keep us interested and excited about life. So change your scenery once in a while by doing something new. Take a hike, go for a walk in the woods or visit a friend. Socializing your dog will keep his mind and body active.
6. Keep toys clean
The toys and bowls your dog uses every day can be hotbeds of bacteria. Daily washing of these items with warm water (avoid dish soap because it could be toxic) can help get rid of germs. Also, be sure to thoroughly dry toys and bowls after washing, as bacteria can grow on anything left damp.