When your dog is diagnosed with cancer, one of the best approaches to helping them fight their illness is to improve and strengthen their immune system. Naturally, you may be asking “how do you boost your dog’s immune system?”
By implementing a plan that focuses on optimal canine nutrition, fitness and hygiene, and takes your specific dog's needs into account, you can create favorable conditions to fight cancer and restore overall health. To assist you during this challenging time, this article will detail the importance of improving your dog's overall health and provide ways to boost your dog’s immune system.
The Importance of Strong Immune Systems for Dogs with Cancer
Your dog's immune system plays a vital role in their ability to fight various diseases and illnesses. An optimized immune system will not only assist in attacking the cancer itself, but it will also aid in preventing additional illnesses and infections. That’s an important point as cancer can weaken the immune system significantly, making your dog more vulnerable to bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses than usual.
Furthermore, the steps you can take to improve the canine immune system, such as enhancing their nutrition or developing an exercise routine, can assist in recovery if they are taking any medications or require surgery for tumors. These steps can also provide them with the energy they need to drink enough water, eat enough food, play and exercise, feel happy and healthy, and overall, improve their quality of life. Accordingly, it is advantageous to understand how to boost your dog’s immune system.
Benefits of Exercise for Dogs
There are numerous benefits of exercise for dogs, especially for dogs who are fighting illnesses such as cancer. Although you may be concerned about performing strenuous exercise, most dogs can still engage in various activities in ways that will encourage the following:
- Ideal weight: An overweight dog may be at increased risk for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. So, losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight can aid in preventing and fighting cancer.
- Excellent bones and joints: A natural amount of movement keeps bones and joints in exceptional condition, preventing your dog from developing pain in these areas.
- Strong muscles and muscle mass: One concern when dogs develop cancer is their inability to sustain a healthy amount of muscle, due to lack of appetite and energy, or from pain or inflammation issues. If your dog does enjoy exercising comfortably, it can be beneficial to keeping their muscular system strong.
- Healthy digestive system: Since dogs become used to routine, they will usually relieve themselves when they go on walks or are able to play outside. In this way, dogs will maintain a healthy digestive tract and reduce their risks of common bowel or urinary problems.
- Less stress and anxiety: Dogs can become stressed, agitated, or anxious when they do not feel well. As all dog owners understand, your dog simply loves to carry out their typical day-to-day activities happily. Playing and exercising not only help your dog avoid negative emotions, but they also will restore positive emotions.
- Restorative sleep: Burning off energy is an excellent way to have a restorative and restful night’s sleep. A rested body has a stronger ability to fight off disease and heal.
Is Exercise Safe for Dogs with Cancer?
Do you worry about your dog overexerting themselves or causing pain or mobility issues from exercising strenuously? If your dog can move around comfortably, they should be able to exercise safely. If your dog suffers decreased mobility, you can assist your dog with movement by using a towel under their belly to lift them lightly. If you have a larger dog or you cannot lift them, you may wish to purchase a mobility aid. Another excellent option is to consider physical therapy for your dog, which can also provide a few of the benefits of exercise such as stimulating blood flow and relaxing the muscles.
Regularly Give Your Dog A Bath
Although you may know that a dog's skin and coat is an indicator of health status, you may not realize that it also is a significant part of a dog's immune system. If the skin’s immunity becomes compromised in some way, harmful bacteria could cause infections and illnesses. Furthermore, their skin and fur maintain thermoregulation and hydration for your dog. As these are important factors while your dog is battling cancer, it is a good idea to develop a canine-friendly hygiene routine.
In general, you can gently bathe your dog with cancer once a week. However, consult your veterinarian regarding the best practices for your dog’s breed, coat, and health conditions. For instance, some types of cancer may cause your dog to develop lesions or dry areas on their skin that may require specialized soaps and creams.
Clean Dog Toys and Bowls
The American Kennel Club recommends regularly cleaning your dog’s toys and bowls. Look at your dog’s toy basket. Has their favorite ball seen one too many games of catch? After throwing out the broken toys, scrub down the other toys with soap and water. You can throw fabric toys in the washing machine. Take this opportunity to reestablish a routine schedule to play with your dog every day — it’s good for their health and yours!
It's important to clean your dog’s food and water dish at least once a day. However, inspect them regularly and throw out bowls that are too dirty or chewed up to continue using. It's a good idea to keep extras on hand so that you always have a backup. That's particularly true if your dog loves to chew on their dishes. Additionally, it's a good idea to thoroughly clean the rug under your dog’s bowls regularly.
Get Regular Veterinary Checks
A veterinary check, performed on a regular schedule, is one of your best resources during this challenging time. Your veterinarian will notice any subtle changes in your dog’s overall health. Furthermore, a veterinarian can advise on any concerns you may have or provide further tips specific to your dog’s type of cancer.
Give Your Dog Supplements
You can add supplements into your dog’s diet in order to ensure they are receiving an adequate amount of nutrients, special ingredients to target specific symptoms of cancer, enhance cancer treatments, and to boost their immune system. There are specific ingredients that are known to aid in strengthening immune systems, namely:
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oil): Omega 3 has numerous benefits for dogs, mainly reducing inflammation, boosting heart and kidney health, and improving the skin and coat of the dog.
- Essential Amino Acids: Glutamine and arginine amino acids provide energy, and aid in strengthening the immune system, digestive system, and circulatory system.
- Vitamin A or Beta Carotene: Vitamin A supports many cell functions all over the body, as well as improves immune response.
- Zinc: Zinc contributes to keeping a healthy skin and coat and improves the immune system.
- Selenium: Selenium aids in the sufficient functioning of the metabolism and acts as an antioxidant within a dog’s body.
- B-Vitamins: B-Vitamins are excellent for your dog’s overall health, enhancing and supporting many of the body’s functions.
- Medicinal Mushrooms: Many attest that medicinal mushrooms can improve the immune system to fight off or slow down cancer.
- CBD/Hemp Oil: CBD oil may help reduce pain, inflammation, and stress/anxiety.
Canine Biologics Essential Supplements contain plant extracts, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help support your dog while they are fighting cancer and the side-effects of cancer treatments. As the best supplements for a dog’s immune system, Canine Biologics are incorporated into the three-part Integrated Nutrition System. Further, Canine Biologics CBD Oil may help with pain and inflammation while your dog goes through this challenging time.
The Right Nutritional Approach for Dogs with Cancer
A consistent, optimal diet can optimize every function of your dog’s body when they receive all necessary nutrients. It’s important to focus upon the ideal food for dogs. In general, food to build up a dog’s immune system includes:
- Fatty meat such as dark poultry, salmon, lamb, and eggs.
- Additional, healthy fats such as olive oil, flaxseed soil, or avocado oil.
- A supplement that includes antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, especially those that they may be missing from their diet.
To optimize dog food for the immune system, avoid the following foods:
- High carb dog kibble
- High carb treats
- Processed proteins
Unfortunately, when dogs have cancer, they may lack appetite. As they eat less, they may not be able to receive all the energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need to maintain or improve their immune system. Are you concerned your dog may not have the best food for dogs with cancer? If your dog is missing essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for an ideal diet, The Canine Biologics Integrated Nutrition System can help. The food for the immune system is part of a three-tier approach that includes:
By combining all three, you can meet or exceed the daily nutritional requirements of your dog while boosting their overall health and immune system.