How to Boost Your Cat or Dog’s Immune System

With the COVID-19 pandemic among us, people (including myself!) are becoming hyper focused on ways to boost immune function in order to keep themselves well. A healthy immune system stands a better chance at warding off nasty infections and other disease processes. As we review our own wellness plan, improving our pet’s immune function feels more relevant than ever. 

Here are my top 4 suggestions for giving your cat or dog’s immune function a lift: 

1. Supplements.

Adding immune-boosting supplements into your pet’s wellness plan is an excellent way to ramp the vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants they need to stay well.

Dr. Angie’s favorite immune supportive supplements are:

  • CBD. This powerful herb increases immune function and decreases inflammation. We use HempRx products for the animals in Dr. Angie’s practice.
  • Mushrooms – Mushrooms are one of nature’s most overlooked and under-utilized resources. Dr. Angie suggests Rx Coriolus Forte, because it blends five medicinal mushrooms and two Chinese herbs into one formula (aka powerful!).
  • Probiotics. Optimal health starts in the gut. Probiotics are an essential way to manage health, by introducing good bacteria into the gut. Our favorite probiotics are Thorne Bacillus CoagulanVETS and RxBiotics. Dr. Angie even has a recipe for homemade probiotics! For extra support, rotate the probiotics that you’re using to periodically introduce a different strain into your pet’s GI tract.

2. Daily mental and physical exercise.

Good mental and physical outlets reduce anxiety and boredom. When we are less stressed and have adequate mental stimulation, we are healthier. Daily walks with your pup are a great way to get outside, connect with your dog, and promote healthy weight. Laser lights are a fun physical outlet for cats. Adding mental stimulation to meal time using puzzle toys like Toppls and the Dog Tornado for dogs, and the Egg-Cersizer for cats, can greatly reduce stress. They also reduce the chances of the classic “snarf and barf”! 

3. Diet.

Diet has a profound impact on immune function and health. Just as with people, our cats and dogs cannot be expected to stay healthy while eating junk food. A species appropriate diet for cats includes raw or canned food (you can learn more about transitioning from dry kibble here). For dogs, the less processed the diet, the better (think raw, home-cooked or canned). If you home-cook for your pup, I would recommend following Dr. Angie’s steps to ensure the diet is balanced. Adding whole foods into your dog’s meals such as eggs, nut butters, vegetables and shredded chicken is an easy way to add more nutrient packed food into their current diet. Just make sure you avoid toxic foods such as onions, grapes/raisins, macadamia nuts, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners (like xylitol). 

4. Identify underlying health issues early.

Undiagnosed health issues like dental disease, kidney disease or thyroid disease puts extra strain on your pet. Identifying and treating these conditions helps to remove additional discomfort from your pet and alleviate extra stress from their body. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more difficult for some pet parents to make it to the veterinary hospital. Dr. Angie’s Facebook support group is a way to get medical advice for your pet during this pandemic.

This is an unnerving time, and we want you and your pet to feel as supported as possible. We are here. Not only is this our job, it is our passion. What ways are you working to improve your pet’s immune system, and what questions do you still have? Let me know in a comment below! 

Love, 
Claire

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