Everybody knows that a strong and healthy immune system is the key to a happy lifestyle. Often, people ask, what do you feed your dog to keep it healthy? Of all the answers we heard, 80% of them are of certain supplements. While supplements can bring your dogs’ immune system to a whole new level, the basics are no doubt still the most important. As with everything and anything, without the foundations, supplementing will not work. So what are the foundations of a strong and healthy immune system? Its all about balance. Imagine a car with tyres that are of different sizes, the car will not be able to travel smoothly, if a dog’s body is imbalanced, the body will not function properly.

•Stress levels•
Simply putting it, a stress free person is a happy person, a happy person is healthy person. Translating that into a dog’s life, a stress free dog is a happy dog, a happy dog is a healthy dog. Domestic dogs are naturally stress-free, they have nothing to worry about, they have food and shelter all provided for them. We, humans are the ones that put stress into their lives. When we bring them into a stressful environment or when we get them to do things that are not natural to them, we create stress. In human terms, everyone knows that a stressful person gets agitated easily and it creates a imbalance body system and it is the same with dogs. An imbalance body system can easily contract infections and viruses.

•Metabolism and Exercise•
By definition, metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organism. Simply putting it, metabolism helps to keep the body functioning and running. It helps to transport and eliminate. Exercise boosts metabolism and exercise reduces stress. Adequate exercises with help to keep your dog’s body functioning, and stress-free. Insufficient exercise can lead to obesity. Obesity is one of the biggest health problems that dogs have. Many owners think that a fat dog is a cute dog, but a fat dog is also an unhealthy dog. Obesity can put unnecessary pressure on their joints and it can create heath problems such as heart diseases.

•Diet, Diet, Diet•
60-70% of the immune system is located in the digestive system. A dog’s gut flora is the game changing piece of the puzzle to managing their immunity. A healthy diet is the key to a healthy digestive system. Before any supplementing can happen, the core of building healthy digestive system is to have a clean diet. According to science, 30-40% of all cancer can be prevented by implementing dietary change. In order to know what affects your dog, a clean diet is necessary, what goes in, must comes out. When you give them too much food, food with ingredients that you cannot recognise, you are indirectly setting your dog up for an imbalanced digestive system!

Supplements, the newest hot topic in dog industry. There are hundreds of different supplements in the market, each and every one of them claims to be beneficial to a dog’s body in one way or another. The question is, is it really necessary? A brief touch about supplements (we will cover more about supplements and their uses in near future), while all supplements in the market contain at least one beneficial ingredient, they can still be harmful. First of all, if your dog is healthy, with no health issues, no genetic related issues, with a balanced diet and lifestyle, the dog doesn’t need supplementing. Over supplementing is harmful and over dosing can result in an imbalanced immune system. Secondly, know the ingredients in the supplements, more is not always better. When it comes to supplementing, almost always, the purer the supplement, the better it is. Next, how is the supplement made, how is the herb extracted, how is the oil produced, how is it stored, how is it created, where is it from, all these are the deciding factors to how potent and how beneficial the supplement can be.

Before modern medicine, plants were the only medicine around and used to treat everything for humans. Dogs were not ‘treated’ at all, they counted on their own immune system to treat themselves. We’ve all heard similar phrase like ‘if you expose your kid to many different situation, they learn naturally and become immune to diseases’, so why are we forgetting this simple yet effective phrase when it comes to dogs? Today, owners visit the vets for every little illness. A simple injection or pill seems to suffice for most things. Antibiotics are the most common medications dispensed, it is given for the treatment of infections caused by bacterias. What you may not know is that antibiotics does not only treat harmful bacterias. Antibiotics are poisons that are used to kill. Vets are the only people who are licensed to diagnosis certain illness and prescribe it with appropriate antibiotics. Every time your dog swallows an antibiotic pill, it kills the beneficial bacteria within your dog’s intestines. Yeasts are opportunistic organisms, as the intestinal bacteria die, yeasts thrive and overgrowth of yeasts are the last thing owners want to deal with.

As we mentioned earlier, 70% of the immune system is within the digestive system, in other words, every time your dog takes in anything that is chemically made (in most cases, medications), it is directly and indirectly affecting your dog’s immune system. Its like a smaller scale of chemotherapy. Many people understand chemotherapy does not just attack cancer cells, it attacks even beneficial cells and that’s exactly what medication does. Although, there are certain illness and ailments we are unable to fix on our own, and a vet visit has to be arranged, over reliance on medication is definitely a immune system killer.

While we are grateful for the science and technology that has been developed over the years, we never bring our dogs to the vets unless when we know it’s necessary(if you need a blood test done) and when its an emergency. We have spent so much time building our dogs’ immune system and gut flora for them to be destroyed with just one course of medication.

So what makes a healthy dog? A healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet and a healthy mind. A dog that is sound in body and mind, is a balance dog.