The immune system of dogs is a dedicated system that looks after the health of your pet by self-healing. It is also affected by simple factors such as prolonged diseases, irresponsible use of drugs and an improper diet. It has always been recommended that proper nutrients be provided regularly to dogs for maintaining this complex system. Fish oils and herbs make a perfect combination for a natural approach keeping the immune system healthy.
Cod liver oil is usually favored by veterinarians for it high Vitamin A, D and Omega 3 fatty acid content. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy mucous membranes in eyes and ears. It also keeps the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts in proper operable conditions. Vitamin D on the other hand helps in effective metabolism of calcium, which is essential for maintaining bone density. Fish oils, like cod liver oil, are natural sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are necessary to maintain overall health. Many commercial diets for dogs contain Omega 6 fatty acids in higher than recommended proportions, which can prove to be harmful. The Omega 3 fatty acids in cod liver oil acts as a balancing factor and counters the harmful effects of Omega 6 acids.
Fatty acids, to be effective, should be in the form of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and are thus termed as essential fatty acids. Fish oils, including cod liver oil, are natural sources of these forms of fatty acids. Plant-based oils need to be converted from Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA), a process that requires huge amounts of ALA for the required amount of EPA and DHA.
Essential fatty acids are necessary for some critical functions that the body must perform to maintain health.
- Transport and metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides
- Normal brain development and functioning
- Maintaining vision
- Adrenal functioning
- Regulate immune system
Herbs like aloe vera, Echinacea, astragalus, goldenseal, elder and garlic have played a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system helps in preventing certain disease that often cause problems to dogs and dog owners alike. Liver disease in dogs is one ailment that is not easily detected as the symptoms of liver disease in dogs are subdued and difficult to correlate with the liver. It is important for dog owners to learn more about this aspect of dog health so that an early treatment may be given to avoid further complications. Ginseng is most suited for improving liver function, regenerating liver cells and ensuring general immunity against disease. It should however, be avoided in all cases of liver disease including feline liver disease if pets are already suffering from acute infections and anxiety. Shiitake mushrooms are another herb that can be considered for protecting the liver.
The natural and holistic approach to maintain the immune system is always preferred as natural remedies can be included in the routine diet without fear of side effects. Despite this, some herbs are not recommended in certain conditions and in undiluted form. It is better to use herbs after gathering full information or under supervision of a certified herbalist.