Strengthening and maintaining a dog’s immune system is high on the list of dog health care. Vaccinations, proper diet, vitamins and joint and skin care products accomplish the goal. Vaccinations help a dog build up a defense against disease.
Before puppies are born, they receive antibodies from the placenta of the mother. After birth, puppies receive antibodies from the mother’s milk. The age a puppy is in need of immunization is proportional to the antibody protection it receives from the mother. Antibodies are disease-fighting proteins produced by ‘B cells’ in a dog.
They are made to respond to ‘foreign’ particles such as viruses and bacteria. The antibodies bond with foreign particles such as bacteria to aid in making them inactive. High levels of maternal antibodies block a vaccine’s effectiveness. When maternal antibodies are at a low level, commercial vaccines work to protect dogs against disease.
It is necessary for a dog to have a proper diet for the immune system to function properly. There is no set formula for the frequency of feeding dogs and what they should eat. Nutritional feeding varies based on a dog’s health, age, size, and breed. Ask a veterinarian to recommend the best dog food for your pet.
There are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Commercial dog food meets a dog’s nutritional needs. The majority of them have vitamins, fruit, vegetables, grain, and meat. Commercial foods received approval by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition to be a healthful and safe option for feeding dogs.
The stage of a dog’s life such as adult; nursing or pregnant; or puppy has an impact on the dog food chosen. Choose a package with a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials that says ‘complete and balanced.’ Complete dog food has the nutrients the dog requires for its life stage. Balanced indicates the nutrients are in the proper proportion. Only give pets products that contain antioxidants or have another use such as skin or joint care products or multivitamins.
Vitamins improve the quality of a dog’s life. They break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for the body to utilize them. Vitamins protect from environmental toxins and help regulate body processes. They work with enzymes and minerals for maintenance of healthy hair coat and skin; bone and muscle growth; reproduction; and digestion.
Also essential to a dog’s health are reducing the pet’s exposure to the environment and food in the form of chemicals and pesticides; outdoor exercise; and fresh, clean drinking water.