Hotspots. Diabetes. Ear Infections. UTIs. Cancer.
What do these prevalent pet diseases have in common, you ask?
Answer: The immune system, or more accurately, an unbalanced immune system… Because at the root of all disease and illness is an immune system that just isn’t working the way it should.
Conventional medicine often treats each of these diseases as individual instances of illness to be suppressed with medications like steroids and antibiotics.
On the other hand, holistic medicine views them as part of a larger picture to be addressed as a whole – and largely based on proper immune system function.
Suppressive medications like steroids hide the real problem and further suppress the immune system, which does nothing but make the patient worse in the long run.
Since the immune system is such a major player in the world of true health and vitality, we should think about boosting it whenever we can.
How can we boost it?
Will Falconer DVM recommends the following immune boosters that can help with immune intelligence, which means the immune system not only knows what to attack and when, but it knows when to stand down and to return to its quiet state of alertness.
5 Ways To Give Your Dog A Boost!
Here are five immune boosters for your dog recommended by Falconer that you can add to your dog’s meals:
1. Transfer Factors
These are tiny proteins in the cytokine class, purified from colostrum, egg yolk and other sources that confer immune intelligence to those taking them. These proteins increase recognition of invaders as well as rapid attacks on them. And they’ve proven invaluable in autoimmune disease down regulation as well.
Echinacea is an herb known particularly for its effectiveness in treating acute infectious illnesses. Unfortunately there are many poor quality supplements on the market, so finding a quality manufacturer is key. Falconer says one supplement that does stand out is MediHerb’s Echinacea Premium.
[Related] For more information on the immune boosting power of Echinacea, click here.
3. Pre and Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your dog’s body. They like to hang out almost everywhere: the mouth, the gut, the organs, even the skin. Probiotics are often called “good bacteria.” Keeping a balance of good (vs bad) bacteria is vital for the immune system and keeping your dog healthy. Natural sources of probiotics include: kefir, fermented veggies and raw goat milk.
But you need to feed probiotics, and that’s where prebiotics come in.
Prebiotics are the foods that nourish the probiotic bacteria and keep them active. Good foods to feed include bananas, green veggies and garlic.
Or, to get the best balance easily, you can also give a supplement that contains both.
There are several types of mushrooms with immune enhancing effects. They including:
- Reishi mushrooms are known for a host of immune system benefits, including inhibiting tumors, and analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral activities. Plus it helps with liver detox.
- Cordyceps enhance stamina and potently boost the immune system.
- Agaricus blazei is a known cancer fighter.
- Shiitake comes in handy for viruses, and is often available fresh, so it could be added to food for its medical benefits as well as for taste.
- Maitake boosts immunity, helps with obesity and contains a host of vitamins.
Falconer uses 4Life Research’s transfer factors, which combines transfer factors with several of these potent mushrooms for a synergistic effect.
[Related] For information on how mushrooms can be used for cancer in dogs, click here.
5. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract checks cell proliferation in tumors and hastens cancer cell death. It also has antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties.
Falconer adds one final note on administering immune boosters – favor change over consistency.
“It’s a good idea to stop and start and change immune boosters, in addition to varying the dosage. The immune system seems to benefit from vacations and changes more than if something is given constantly.”
– Will Falconer
[Related] There are even more things you can do to boost your dog’s immune system. Find them here.