As I mentioned in my last post, keeping your pet’s natural immune system in good shape will go a long way in preventing ill health and chronic disease.
That post described 5 things you could do to strengthen the immune system: feeding a high quality, natural diet and minimizing exposure to common household toxins.
Here are five more ways to build and support a healthy immune system for your pet:
1. Limit Vaccinations. Many holistic veterinarians agree that over-vaccination is a significant contributor to the rising rates of chronic disease and cancer in cats and dogs. A limited vaccine program is highly recommended– and is especially important if your pet belongs to any of the breeds known to be more susceptible to cancer and chronic disease.
2. Medicate Wisely, and Minimally. Antibiotics and steroids are necessary tools in any veterinarian’s trade, but they are quite often overused. Repeated rounds of antibiotics to address chronic urinary tract issues, or steroids to treat itchy skin and allergies, tax the immune system – sometimes leaving the animal susceptible to greater health problems than it started with. A natural approach to chronic health issues begins with a natural, raw diet and involves supporting the animal’s system in its healing process from within, avoiding suppression of symptoms with medications as much as possible.
3. Exercise. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve immune factors in humans and animals. Natural light is also important, so walks in the great outdoors are the best option for dogs and outdoor cats. Indoor cats should be provided with plenty of toys and climbing structures.
4. Control Weight. Keeping your pet’s weight under control is also key – overweight animals are much more susceptible to chronic and acute diseases and infections. A healthy diet of raw, minimally processed food (point 1 in my previous post) often helps animals maintain a healthy weight.
5. Minimize Stress. Stress affects animals the same way it affects us – weakening the immune system. Dogs and cats with anxiety issues of any kind need assistance in moderating their fears. Flower Essences, Homeopathic Remedies and Herbal Remedies can be highly beneficial for animals with anxiety problems or that are under stress. Behavioral modification training is essential for dogs with anxiety; and environmental alterations such as separate territories for cats that do not get along well, or additional litter boxes and cat trees or safe resting areas can make a big difference for anxious cats.