In winter time, we humans try to make sure that our immune systems are strong to help protect us against colds, ‘flu and other infections. For our dogs and cats, however, it is just the opposite! In winter time, our pets spend more time indoors and less time exposed to other animals and outside activity. In summer time, however, because they are outdoors more, dogs and cats are more prone to illness and infection picked up from other animals and the environment. This means they need a healthy immune system to help them!
Here’s how to boost and strengthen your pet’s immune system during the summer months
1. Feed your pet a healthy diet
If you want to strengthen your pet’s immune system all year long, feed him a healthy, balanced diet. While many dog and cat owners opt for premium quality vet recommended food, more people are leaning towards feeding their pets a natural and organic diet. A natural diet like the DoggoBone Active Raw Food for dogs and Vondi’s Natural Food (which is cooked) for dogs and cats offers a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids and antioxidants – available from Feelgood Health Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Drive, Cape Town , 021 797 0193
You may also notice that your pet loses his appetite when the weather is hot. Don’t worry! This is normal and you can solve this easily by adding some tasty foods such as chicken liver, tuna, sardines or home-made chicken stock to tantalise their taste buds.
For added all-round immune support, use our herbal remedy, Immunity & Liver Support, which improves immune functioning, acts as a general tonic and also helps your pet to recover quickly from illness.
2. Keep your pet cool and hydrated
Another important part of a healthy immune system is keeping your pets hydrated with fresh, clean water throughout the day. Water cleanses and flushes out unhealthy toxins in your pet’s system. Make sure that your furry friends always have access to fresh water in summer. On days when it’s very hot, move your pet to a cool, shady area to prevent heat exhaustion. If your dog shows signs of heat stress, drape a damp towel over his body to cool him down and NEVER pour ice water over him as he may he go into shock. Summer is usually the time when we travel more with our pets – be a responsible pet owner and NEVER leave your pet in a car on a HOT DAY even for a few minutes!
Daily exercise is healthy for the immune system. Keep your pet’s immune system strong by making sure that they get regular exercise. Dogs, especially enjoy going for walks, playing fetch or tug-of-war and these activities help them to maintain a healthy weight, keep fit, and stimulate their mental attitude as well as their lymphatic systems – so important in maintaining a healthy immune system for your dog or cat.
4. Treat fleas and ticks
The arrival of summer and the arrival of fleas go hand in hand! This is definitely flea season and they love to flourish in warmer temperatures. Fleas are also usually most attracted to younger animals with weak immune systems, unhealthy, old or weak animals. For this reason, it is very important to reduce your pet pal’s susceptibility to fleas by improving and boosting their overall health and immune system. For Silky, Holly and Felix, I use a vet recommended flea repellent to control fleas and ticks. Even though they don’t have fleas, I religiously treat them for fleas once a month as well as their surrounding environment – their beds and kennels are washed weekly, carpets are vacuumed regularly.
When fleas are not treated, dogs and cats often develop a flea bite allergy which leads to chronic inflammation and scratching of the skin. Allergy Itch Ease is a 100% homeopathic remedy which relieves the itching and scratching quickly and AllergiClear is a herbal remedy which protects your pet’s body from seasonal and flea bite allergies, acts as a natural antihistamine and improves the immune system. Natural alternatives can also be used to fight the flea battle - try adding a pinch of garlic to your pet’s daily diet. You can also add apple cider vinegar to your pet’s drinking water to control fleas.
5. Seasonal Allergies
Just like we suffer from allergies in spring and summer, so do our pets! Dogs and cats are affected by indoor allergens such as house dust, mites, or mould and outdoor allergens such as pollen or grass. Exposure to these allergens can weakens their immune system. These allergens are inhaled or absorbed through the skin causing common allergic skin reactions. Is your pet scratching and itching from morning until night time? This is the “itch-scratch-itch cycle” that causes hair loss. Your pet’s skin becomes dry, flaky and scabby. Allergies can be very difficult to treat because you have to determine what is causing the allergy – trial and error is important!
Diet plays a vital role in the treatment of allergies and switching to a natural raw or cooked food has proven beneficial – if you’re considering switching to a natural diet, try the DoggoBone Active Raw Food and Vondi’s Natural Food (which is cooked) available from our store – Feelgood Health Shop at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake, Cape Town.
Our trio of natural remedies, AllergiClear Pets, Allergy Itch Ease and Skin & Coat Tonic are extremely effective for treating allergies in both dogs and cats. AllergiClear Pets is a herbal remedy which protects your pet’s body from seasonal allergies, acts as a natural antihistamine and improves the immune system. Allergy Itch Ease is a 100% homeopathic remedy which relieves the itching and scratching quickly while Skin & Coat Tonic promotes a healthy skin and coat, and heals chronic and acute skin conditions.
6. Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can also affect your pet’s immune system. During summer, there is so much going on! It’s the holiday season and festivities are usually at an all-time high! We tend to spend more time away from home, going away for holidays, having more gatherings and get-togethers at home, and this excitement and absences from home can affect our pets stress levels. Our PetCalm is a wonderful homeopathic remedy to soothe and calm stressed and anxious pets during this frenetic season and more so for pets who may also suffer from separation anxiety if they are being boarded for the holidays .To help the immune system cope whilst in the kennels, KC Defence for dogs will prevent viruses like kennel cough from becoming a problem. They are both 100% homeopathic remedies which contain nosodes for optimum immunity!
Remember, if you are leaving your pet alone at home for a long period of time, leave him with toys and treats to keep him entertained. A good dose of TLC on your return will do your pet pal the world of good.