5 Tips to Boost Your Pet’s Immune System
1. Feed more fresh food and less dry kibble.
Feeding overly processed diets such as dry kibble may weaken your pets’ immune system over time. Ideally, dry diets should be eliminated or reduced and replaced with either a balanced home-cooked diet or a commercial fresh diet that is either frozen or freeze dried (click here for link to resources page).
2. Provide fresh, clean, filtered water.
Most tap water is chlorinated. Chlorine has been shown to weaken the immune system and disrupt thyroid and other glandular functions. A basic carbon water filter can remove most chlorine. Filtered water also tastes better and your pet may even drink more as a result!
3. Supplement with fish oil.
Omega-3 fats found in fish oils reduce inflammation and boost immune response and help fight cancer. Be sure to check for quality and purity when choosing an oil as rancid and impure oils can cause more harm than good. When introducing fish oil to your dog or cat, start slowly since fats can be difficult to digest. Dosing can vary, but typically cats and small dogs take ¼ tsp daily and large dogs take 1-2 tsp daily.
4. Avoid lawn and yard chemicals.
Fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides applied to lawns and other yard plants can be dangerous to your animal’s health. Several studies have documented links between certain types of cancer and lawn chemicals. Lower your expectations about weeds or utilize hand weeding over weed killers. Use organic fertilzers and consider essential-oil based insect repellants.
5. Encourage plenty of exercise and keep your pet lean.
Exercise stimulates the immune system and releases endorphins. An added benefit of consistent exercise is increasing gastrointestinal motility, which helps normalize stools and eliminate toxins from the body. It also facilitates weight management, which is important because obesity is a risk factor for some types of cancer as well as a number of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.