Boosting the Immune System of Senior Dogs
A dog’s full genetic lifespan potential depends to a large extent on many factors including the animal’s size, breed, weight, diet, exercise, and any genetic issues that the dog may have. A dog’s breed has a big say when it comes to the age at which they are considered to be “seniors”.
- Small dogs are considered senior citizens when they’re about 11 years of age.
- Medium-sized dogs become seniors at about 10 years of age.
- Larger-sized dogs become seniors at about 8 years old.
- Giant-breed dogs are seniors at 7 years of age.
As dogs enter their senior twilight years, their bodies start to feel the effects of wear and tear of multiple years of living. They will start to slow down and won’t be as active and interested in activities as they once were.
If you have a senior dog you may notice distinct changes in your pet’s behavior, as he spends more time just lazing around. With aging comes changes in the body’s physical, mental, emotional, and physiological conditions. The deterioration of the body makes a senior dog prone to various age-related issues including bone and joint problems, canine cognitive dysfunction, digestive issues, and skin problems. The integrity and function of the dog’s immune system also undergo a significant decline which can increase an aging dog’s risks to a variety of issues, some of which can be debilitating and life-threatening.
Ways to Help Boost the Immune System of Senior Dogs
Same as us humans, dogs aging is inevitable. Unfortunately, many age-related changes are irreversible. The best way to deal with these problems is to support your pet so he will have a healthy, comfortable, and happy life before he finally bids goodbye. Here are important ways to help boost your senior dog’s immune system:
Certain changes have to be made in your dog’s immediate environment to ensure his comfort. Senior dogs are especially vulnerable to environmental extremes. Aging affects their ability to thermoregulate. This means that they are less efficient in coping with temperature changes. Keep your pet warm with a comfortable blanket during cold weather. Your senior pet will benefit from sleeping on a comfortable bed, such as an orthopedic bed, which is specially designed for dogs suffering from joint pains. Outdoor excursions during very cold or very hot weather should be avoided except to very quickly go potty.
Senior dogs benefit from moderate exercise which is beneficial to heart and lung function as these vital organs also deteriorate as the dog ages. If your senior pet is carrying excess pounds, the extra weight can affect your pet’s joint health. This can increase his risks of joint problems or aggravate existing arthritis. Dog obesity may also be linked to increased incidences of cancer. Regular appropriate exercise can help maintain your senior dog’s weight within a healthy range for the breed.
Diet and Nutrition
The slowing down of vital body processes in senior dogs often requires a change in their diet. If your dog has been diagnosed with a health condition, like reduced kidney function, it is really important that you discuss your dog’s nutritional needs with your veterinarian and in some cases a special medical diet may be necessary.
Sometimes, senior dogs can be picky about their food as they lose appetite and interest in eating. A good way to deal with the issue is to divide your pet’s daily ration into smaller meals and given at designated times throughout the day. Using a Bone Broth or liver or cheese based kibble topper can often help bring interesting flavour notes and make boring stale kibble more interesting to them.
Also, since your senior dog’s digestive system function and metabolism are not as efficient as when they were younger, dog digestive supplements can help a dog extract more nutrients from their food and thus receive more essential nutrients that are needed by a senior dog.
Senior Dog Joint Care
One of the most important causes of aging pains in senior dogs is joint arthritis. In most cases, the symptoms gradually set in so pet parents often fail to notice their dog’s pain and discomfort until such time that the problem is well-advanced and the dog is unable to conceal signs of pain any longer. Unfortunately, arthritis is irreversible. The good news is, it can be effectively managed and improvement of an arthritic dog’s quality of life can be achieved with high quality dog joint supplements. If your dog is obese or overweight, work with your veterinarian in creating a weight-loss regimen for your dog. Maintaining a healthy weight coupled with moderate exercise can do wonders for your senior dog’s aging joints.
Certain supplements can help boost a senior dog’s immune system and overall health and wellbeing. These include the following:
Probioticshelp maintain the population of beneficial helpful microorganisms in the digestive tract. A healthy gut microbiome promotes good gut health and supports a strong immune system, which research demonstrates overall improved immunity.
A dog’s microbiome varies significantly from that of humans, so giving your pet the same probiotic supplement that you are taking is probably just not very beneficial for your furry buddy. A probiotic supplement that also has prebiotics that is specifically formulated for dogs is highly recommended.
EPA & DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Marine Sources = Fish Oil for Dogs
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties among other benefits. EPA & DHA Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) help boost the body’s response to inflammation. Since getting adequate quantities of EFAs via the diet can be difficult, given the senior dog’s deteriorating body, your best bet would be to give a fish oil supplement to your dog.
Other Fish Oil for Dogs Benefits
- Reduces Skin Dryness
- Produces a Glossy Shiny Coat
- Supports Brain Health & Cognitive Function
- Supports Kidney Health
- Supports Immune System Health
TURMERIC = Curcumin
Curcumin is the active functional ingredient in turmeric. It’s known for powerful antioxidant property which helps reduce free radicals thus providing potential anti-cancer properties, as well as being a strong anti-inflammatory an d helping to reduce inflammation and pain.
SUPERFOODS - BERRIES
Anti-oxidant rich Superfoods like Blueberries helps reduce free radicals thus providing potential anti-cancer properties.
Dog Joint Supplements
Joint supplements have also been shown to help slow down the progress of arthritis and alleviate symptoms. A good dog joint Level 3 supplement for help with advanced dog arthritis most often will contain glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, freeze dried New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels, Turmeric and Hyaluronic Acid.