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How to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System: 7 Vet-Reviewed Natural & Safe Ways

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

white and brown dog eating in a food bowl

How to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System: 7 Vet-Reviewed Natural & Safe Ways

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

As dog parents, we want our pups always to stay healthy, and the immune system is a crucial component of good health in canines. If your dog’s immune system isn’t working properly, it opens the door to your pet coming down with all sorts of infections. So, ensuring your pup’s immune system stays in working order is vital.

You can boost your dog’s immune system in several ways, but you likely want to go the natural and safe route to do so. Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to keep your pet’s immune system in tip-top shape! Take a look below to find out what you can do to keep your favorite canine healthy and happy.

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The 7 Ways to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System

1. Focusing on Nutrition

Did you know your dog’s gastrointestinal tract comprises approximately 70% of their immune system?1 That makes proper nutrition an essential part of immune health! Studies have shown that nutrition is key when it comes to keeping a dog’s immune system working correctly.2

Unfortunately, nutrition isn’t one-size-fits-all, so what may be suitable dog food for one canine might not be the best for another. If you’re unsure which dog food will provide the nutrition your dog needs,3 ask your vet for advice. Whichever dog food you decide on, though, you’ll want to ensure it contains quality ingredients.

You’ll also want to determine your pet’s ideal weight and keep that in mind when choosing a food. Keeping your pup at a healthy weight is important; extra weight on a dog can create a pro-inflammatory environment and impair immune function.

dog eating dog food
Image By: Ayla Verschueren, Unsplash

2. Regular Vet Visits

Your dog should never skip out on regular check-ups with the vet or vaccines. Vaccines train your dog’s immune system to fight against specific pathogens to ensure they stay healthy. Plus, regular check-ups help your vet catch anything that could be wrong with your pup as early as possible, and it helps you be better informed on how to keep your pet healthy.


3. Plenty of Playtime

Exercise is good for people, and it’s good for our pups, too! Staying fit by getting enough exercise is one of the best ways to boost your dog’s immune system. Exercise releases endorphins, burns fat, supports the lymphatic system so it can get rid of toxins, and so much more! Because canines are active by nature, exercise and playtime are important to keeping them happy, as well.

So, go for a nice walk, grab some toys, and spend 15 minutes playing with your pup! One thing to keep in mind about toys is that they attract bacteria and germs easily. Washing them often will ensure bacteria cannot develop.

woman playing with labrador dog in park
Image By: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. New Adventures

Keeping a dog healthy doesn’t just involve the physical; our pets also need mental stimulation to keep them in good health. An excellent way to provide mental stimulation is by going on new adventures with your dog. You don’t have to do a lot to have a new adventure. You can go for a hike or a walk in a new area so there are new smells and sights, or take your pup to visit a friend or dog park. Having something new to do every once in a while keeps your pet interested in life and mentally stimulated, both of which keep the immune system working well.


5. Less Stress

Stress has a negative effect on our dogs, just like it does on us, and it can be especially bad for the immune system. The body releases cortisol (the stress hormone) when outside stressors occur. Too much cortisol in the body can weaken your pup’s immune system. So, try to keep your dog’s life as stress-free as possible!

owner cuddling and hugging her pet pomeranian dog
Image By: Alina Kruk, Shutterstock

6. Massage

While there hasn’t been much research done on how massage affects animals, in humans, at least, it can reduce stress levels. Also, one study from 2014 said that massage could enhance the immune function in people, so it might do the same for our pups. Either way, giving your dog a nice massage occasionally will undoubtedly go a long way in relaxing them.


7. Supplements

Sometimes, it might be a good idea to boost the immune system by adding some supplements to your dog’s diet. That doesn’t mean getting a different supplement for everything you can think of, but there are a few supplements you might consider.

Probiotics, for example, promote a healthy gut, and since most of the immune system is located in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract, this is beneficial for immune health. Also, fish oil helps fight inflammation, reducing the risk of your pup becoming ill. However, before adding a supplement to your dog’s diet, talk to your vet. Remember that it’s unsafe to give your dog one of your human supplements; dogs need much smaller dosages than humans.

dog waiting for the owner to give the supplement
Image By: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

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In Summary

Keeping your dog healthy is important, and a properly working immune system is vital to good health. That’s why boosting your pet’s immune system naturally and safely is key. Luckily, you can do that in many ways, such as playing with your pup, offering a doggie massage, feeding your pet properly, and going on new adventures. You might even find that some of these tips help you de-stress and boost your immune system!


Featured Image Credit: Kabo, Unsplash

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