Winter Immunity Tips For Your Dog and Cat

dog cat winter immunity

Strengthen your pet's immune system to beat the cold and flu season

Winter in South Africa is well under way! Winter weather for dogs and cats means wet fur, cold shivers and susceptibility to a range of health issues (unless you live in warm climates like Rio De Janiero, Bangkok, Cancun or the likes). If you do live in a place where temperatures tend to drop during winter and rainfall increases - such as South Africa - we suggest that you start strengthening your pet's immune system, so that their bodies can be ready to attack any potential infection.

Winter weather conditions usually bring a variety of health concerns in dogs and cats, such as weakened immune systems, respiratory infections, colds, flu and lethargy! These issues can largely be avoided by following our winter immunity care tips for your pet

Keep your dog or cat warm, dry and snuggly

cold flu winter immunity for dogs and cats

Whether it's better for pets to sleep inside or outside has been an ongoing debate! While some people argue that it's cruel for them to sleep outside, others argue the opposite! While it ultimately comes down to individual preference and circumstance, it's important to mention that animals are not always as fine sleeping outside as you think, especially during cold winter months! Read why HERE.

The truth is that most animals (except hairless breeds) can withstand cooler weather than humans can, due to their fur, body fat and skin! However, animals are still susceptible to risks associated with cold temperatures - it's the responsibility of the pet owner to know when it's too cold for their dog or cat! The best thing you can do as a pet owner is to monitor your dog and look out for signs that they may be cold, which include shaking, whining, keeping their tail and legs tucked under and their ears pinned back against their head. In some places, night temperatures are very warm, in which case it may be ideal for your dog to sleep outside (unless your home is cooler indoors than outdoors)!

If your dog is sleeping outside, it's essential you provide them with a good quality kennel to shelter them from the winter night's elements, including rain, wind and the cold! Besides the obvious qualities like being sturdy and durable, dog kennels should also be water and wind proof, as well as elevated off the ground to prevent your dog from feeling the cold of the ground. Add some warm and soft blankets to the floor of the dog kennel to keep them comfortable and happy!

If you have a cat, you'll know how much felines adore boxes! A great way to keep your cat warm, snug and dry during winter is to put some blankets in a box for them to sleep in. They're sure to be purring away with satisfaction!

Tip: Always ensure that your pet's linen is hygienic and free from fleas or ticks. Use this natural Khakibos Flea & Tick Spray directly on your pet, in their kennel, on blankets and carpets! Make sure daily that bedding is dry as wet bedding can be fatal to pets when temperatures drop at night.

Boost your dog or cat's immune system in advance

dog cat winter cold flu immunity

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure! Many fur parents wait until their pet has caught a winter ailment, and then struggle to treat the infection. Once your pet's immune system becomes compromised, your pet is at risk of various health concerns and sometimes, lifelong health problems! It's by far easier to boost your dog or cat's immune system before problems arise, thereby decreasing their chances of contracting an illness.

We recommend that you start your dog or cat on a natural immunity boosting remedy, like Immunity and Liver Support for pets. This can be started at any time but may be especially important during winter to build up your pet's immune system during the cold winter months. Giving your dog or cat small, regular doses of probiotics will have so many wonderful benefits to boost the immune system, too!

By building up the intestinal flora, this not only promotes healthy digestion, but also creates a strong defence against sickness. It is important however, to use good quality probiotics and the right dosage to suit your dog or cat. Quality probiotics have the potential to boost the immune system by up to 8 times, while some lesser quality probiotics usually contain traces of allergens that some pets have reactions to. Canigest is a quality nutritional supplement for dogs and cats combining a probiotic, prebiotics, glutamine, kaolin and pectin. 

Have effective cold and flu remedies for pets at hand

winter colds flu pets

There are various colds and flu strains which dogs and cats are susceptible to catching, especially during winter when their immune systems may be compromised. For dogs, kennel cough, parvovirus and canine influenza (flu) are contagious infections. For cats, feline herpesvirus, feline distemper and feline calicvirus are the common culprits! Read THIS blog on how to effectively treat each type of infection.

The first line of defence is always a strong and healthy immune system. Dogs and cats that follow a healthy diet, who have regular exercise and take a daily supplement will be less likely to contract any illness.

Tip: Use these following top-selling remedies as both preventative and active treatments for your dog or cat's colds and flu: 1. FeliSafe (for cat flu and sniffles), and 2. Respo-K (for respiratory issues in dogs).

Ensure a nutritious, balanced diet

A balanced diet (providing sufficient minerals, proteins and vitamins) can accomplish so much good for your dog or cat's internal functions, including their immune functioning. You'll be shocked to know that commercial pet food and snacks are full of preservatives, colourants and other chemicals which may harm your pet's health AND the planet!

Yes, commercial pet food and treats do contain a few necessary vitamins and minerals to sustain our pets’ health, but not enough to provide their bodies with everything that they need. Additionally, commercial pet food contains about 35% protein, 19% fat and 37% carbohydrates - an interesting statistic considering cats and dogs are primarily carnivorous. 

You can easily take a few minutes to make a healthy and balanced meal for your dog or cat. Find out which foods are toxic to dogs and cats HERE. If time is an issue, then you may want to put some time and research into finding a holistic pet store or vet, who sells organic, nutritional and healthy pet food!

Tip: Warm up your pet's meals at dinner time during winter - this is a great way to get your pet's body warmed up and ready for a snuggly night's sleep! You may also want to chuck out the pet treats you have stocked up in your cupboard. Too many pet treats and snacks contain high amounts of fat, salt, sugar, xylitol, preservatives or other harmful additives. Browse our collection of healthy pet foods and snacks >>

Encourage your dog or cat to stay active

It goes without saying that a lack of exercise can lead to weight-gain or even obesity! However, lack of exercise may also lead to a series of other health concerns such as depression, heart disease, slow metabolism and low immune system - in both people and animals! Responsible fur parents will ensure that their fur baby gets enough exercise, play time and physical activity.

However, during winter it might be more difficult to get your dog or cat outdoors often enough. Rainy days and cold temperatures deter almost everyone, including animals, from going outside. While dogs love running around parks and beaches, this may no longer be possible in winter. Know that there are other options to keep your dog or cat active during winter!

Dogs can stay active during winter through interactive dog toys. Try giving your dog at least 30 minutes of play time at least 5 days per week. If the skies happen to clear up, take advantage of the good weather and try making exercise for your pooch a priority! Not only will they be relieved to get out the house, but they'll thrive off the excitement, and their well-being will greatly benefit! While cats are unlikely to enjoy parks or going for walks with you, they absolutely love, and benefit from, playing with interactive cat toys on a daily basis.  

Walking, running and playing helps your dog and cat burn unwanted fat cells, promote good circulation, reduce stress, oxygenate cells and will leave them feeling good and happy! Having a well-functioning body makes for a well-functioning immune system to fight off those pesky winter colds and flu.

Supplements

Keeping your pets extra healthy and strong is a priority for good pet owners. There are various organic and healthy supplements on the market to give your pets a daily dose of goodness, which helps to prevent many illnesses and diseases! Just as humans take vitamins and other supplements daily, so do our pets need a little extra help to ensure best health. Health supplements for dogs and cats include vitamins and other dietary supplements to compliment your pet's daily diet.

Everypet Formula is a fantastic daily multivitamin, prebiotic, mineral and herbal supplement for dogs and cats! It contains powerful ingredients like Spirulina, Magnesium, Chia Seeds, Diatomaceous Earth, MSM and Seaweed Meal to name a few. Simply sprinkle over their food to boost their vitality, manage joint health, promote digestion, boost their immune system and maintain a healthy and glossy coat! 

Tip: There are other various pet supplements for specific purposes such as skin conditions, allergies, detoxing, energy and stress. To view the full collection, click HERE.

If you have any questions about your pet's health or diet, please contact us for FREE advice, or leave a comment below. We always love hearing from you!

Saskia Michele natural holistic pet health blog

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