If you’re even slightly health-conscious, you’re probably well aware of the importance of having a healthy immune system. Yet how often have you thought about your pet’s immune system? Just like humans, dogs and cats are at risk for colds and other illnesses that occur when their immune systems are run down. One of the best ways to avoid these health issues is to set your pet up with a supplement regimen. Wapiti Labs offers pet supplements for dogs and cats that support their immune systems and maintain long-term health. But before you decide the best plan of action for your favorite animal, you need to understand just how critical a strong immune system is to their overall wellbeing.
The Importance of Your Pet’s Immune System
Like us humans, your pet needs an immune system that is healthy and properly functioning with the ability to fight off harmful bacteria, kill viruses, and eliminate everyday toxins.
Once his or her immune system becomes compromised, your pet is at risk of various infections and some lifelong health problems. While every pet’s immune system may be different, some common issues that are related to a weaker immune system include, but are not limited to, bacterial and yeast infections, skin allergies, ear infections, and reproductive or degenerative disorders.
The Causes of a Weak Immune System
Several factors can weaken your pet’s internal defenses. An animal’s immune system can take a hit when he or she experiences a great deal of stress. If your dog or cat was adopted from a shelter, he or she might suffer from chronic stress. Even if you provide a loving home with optimal care and attention, your pet’s past may be filled with abuse and neglect or other traumatizing experiences. As a result, they may be prone to anxiety and stress, which can weaken an immune system over time.
Another factor is immunodeficiency diseases, which cause a predisposition to infections. These diseases can be inherited and some breeds are more susceptible to them than others. Immunodeficiency diseases may also stem from a viral infection or even cancer. Cats, for instance, are at a significant risk for contracting the Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), also known as feline distemper. The virus, which is one of the most contagious viral diseases in the cat population, attacks the blood cells and leaves the body at great risk to infections and illnesses.
However, the most common causes of weakened immunity, and possibly the easiest to manage, is poor diet and lack of exercise.
Recognizing Signs of a Compromised Immune System
It can be incredibly challenging to determine whether your pet’s immune system is functioning properly because dogs and cats often try to hide signs of illness and discomfort to avoid appearing weak. Fortunately, there are a few big signs you can look out for. Be alerted if he or she displays a loss of appetite, low energy, or seems more depressed than usual.
It’s important to remember that most animals react differently to pain, infection, and illnesses. While a dog may scratch obsessively at his or her fur, a cat may just stop using the litterbox. If you are in doubt at all, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Building a Strong Immune System
The easiest way to build a strong immune system in your pet is to start at day one. When you adopt a puppy or a kitten, one of the first things you should do is take him or her to the vet for a checkup. Depending on where you adopted him or her, the wellness checkup might have been done prior to adoption. The vet will do a general checkup and give them vital vaccines to keep them healthy and to start building their immune systems.
Even if you have adopted an older animal, you can still take him or her in for a checkup and get updated on the necessary/recommended vaccines.
Boosting an Immune System with Diet
Start with your pet’s diet. Your veterinarian may have some good tips on what kind of food to feed your dog or cat. While they may be “obligated” to push a certain brand, you can ask family, friends, or do some research of your own. Pay attention to high-quality ingredients and select a blend that’s appropriate for their age. Avoid overfeeding and feeding them table scraps, which may add extra weight or cause digestive issues that can be difficult to recover from.
Building Your Pet’s Health with Exercise
Every dog owner knows the importance of regular exercise, but many dogs still don’t get an adequate amount. Rather than only going around the block for a bathroom walk, take your pet out on a regular basis and allow him or her to run and play. Not only is exercise great for your dog’s physical health, but simply having contact with you can minimize stress, thus keeping his or her immunity robust.
As for cats, exercise can be challenging, but not impossible. While taking your cat for a walk is nearly impossible, keeping your cat entertained with toys and even another cat can keep them active and healthy.
Other Ways to Boost Immunity
Regular vet visits, frequent exercise, and proper nutrition will do great things for your pet’s immune system. Remember to consider supplements for your dog and cat too. Some experts recommend certain vitamins, like vitamin C and zinc, but talk with a professional to ensure you are giving a safe and effective dosage.
Because our beloved dogs and cats can’t tell us when they are feeling under the weather, it’s incredibly important to monitor their health carefully. Fortunately, by building and maintaining a healthy immune system for them, you are decreasing your pet’s chances of infection and illness and ultimately extending their life.
Call or message us today for supplies that will keep your cat or dog healthy and active!