In light of Covid-19, many people are paying closer attention to their immune health. Faced with new and evolving health concerns, we turn to supporting the body’s innate ability to stay strong in the face of disease. This new focus on immune health is well-deserved: the immune system is one of the most influential, yet over-looked, aspects of wellness and always deserves a little extra care.
A strong immune system is the basis for a healthy body and mind for our pets, too. As pet owners start to question their own health, many wonder about how they can help improve their pet’s immunity throughout their lifetime.
Natural immune support through lifestyle and herbal supplements is a fantastic way to help your pet stay healthy and active throughout their lives. Here we’ll learn the basics of pet immunity and learn the simple ways you can boosts your pet’s health with Chinese herbs.
The Pet Immune System
Just like humans, our pet’s immune system is made up of specialized organs, tissues, cells, and chemicals that work to keep the body safe and free of invaders and disease. Pets have both an innate immune system that is pre-wired in the body and brain to defend and protect, and an acquired immunity that they receive from exposure to germs or vaccinations throughout their lifetime. These two systems work together to maintain your pet’s health and fight off infection.
Again, like us humans, the pet’s immunity can decline through lifestyle factors, age, and illnesses. Your pet may be suffering from a weakened immune system if they develop regular skin infections, parasitic infections, stomach issues, eye conditions, or respiratory issues. If minor illnesses tend to develop into serious problems quite quickly, this is also a sign that your pet’s immune system is too weak to properly fight common issues.
Boosting Pet Immune Systems with Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine approaches immune health with a holistic strategy. If the body’s core energy and vitality is weak, the immune system will suffer. This is a double-edged sword, as a weak immune system leads to an increased risk of fatigue and illness which can further weaken the body’s energy and strength.
The immune system in Chinese medicine includes a protective outer defense called “wei qi” and a more internal defense system related to the function of the spleen and lymphatic system. Much of the immune system’s strength relies on the quality of qi, or energy. Strong qi is helpful in maintaining all the body’s immune functions and keeping the body’s strength while fighting an infection or illness. Weak qi, however, tends to allow these functions to slide. The body doesn’t have the strength to fully fight a pathogen and the illness more easily takes over.
The Whole-Body Approach
To truly benefit your pet’s immune health, a whole-body approach is necessary. Here, we’ll look at diet, exercise, lifestyle, and supplements that keep your pet’s health on track.
Build a Good Foundation with a Healthy Diet
What your pet eats is incredibly important in how strong their immune system is. Highly processed dog or cat food tends to be low in nutrients and high in preservatives, texturizers, dyes, fillers, and additives that reduce your pet’s vitality. Instead, consider feeding your pet food that provides better nutrition and leaves the toxic chemicals and fillers out. This not only keeps your pet healthier day-to-day but helps prevent chronic and expensive-to-treat diseases like cancer, allergies, or inflammatory bowel disease later in life.
Best Chinese Medicine Tip: To improve your pet’s diet even further, try using our Real Mushroom Chaga powder on their food daily. Chaga has a powerful effect on the digestive system and helps to improve your pet’s overall health.
Turmeric is also a helpful addition for immune and joint health. Add a small amount to your pet’s food or make these simple “Golden Milk” treats for your pet.
Keep the Immune System Strong with Exercise
Exercise is crucial for a healthy, happy pet. Stress affects our pets just as it does us, and exercise is one of the best ways to keep it at bay. When our pets are stressed, the hormones released in the stress response weaken and suppress the immune system. Exercise effectively reduces stress and eases our pet’s minds. This reserves useful energy for their immune function and health.
Exercise also helps to keep your pet trim and strong. Immune health is compromised in overweight pets or those with chronic inflammation (such as with arthritis and pain), leaving the at higher risk of developing acute or chronic diseases. Keeping your pet’s weight under control with diet and exercise gives their bodies a better chance of fighting disease and infection.
Best Chinese Medicine Tip: If your pet suffers from joint conditions that make exercise painful or difficult, consider supplementing with a Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan tincture. This formula is excellent for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia as it reduces pain and inflammation and allows them to enjoy exercise and move with less restriction. The tincture form allows it to be easily added to your pet’s drinking water or food bowl.
Supercharge Immunity with Chinese Herbs
Diet and exercise are great places to start boosting your pet’s immune health, but adding natural Chinese herbs is an affordable way to enhance their immunity even further. Even when boosting immunity, Chinese herbs do not simply address one symptom or a single area of the body. Their effect is holistic, building up the body’s strength and energy from the root. Because of this, your pet will not only benefit from a strong immune system, but from better overall health and longevity.
At Best Chinese Medicine, we offer several immune-boosting blends to help enhance your pet’s immunity:
Yu Ping Feng Tang Tincture
Yu Ping Feng Tang is a popular preventative formula. As its name “Jade Windscreen” suggests, it is helpful for providing a strong defense against outside invaders. The herbs in this formula work to strengthen the body’s natural outer defense system in both humans and their pets. This formula may be helpful for your pet if they experience frequent illnesses.
Slippery Elm Tincture
Slippery Elm is a commonly used medicinal to treat a wide range of respiratory and digestive complaints. It is particularly helpful for pets with irregular bowel movements or inflammation. Slippery Elm can help reduce the body’s inflammation and restore the immune system back to balance.
Real Mushroom Powders
The Real Mushroom Powders are easy ways to gently boost your pet’s health. Simply sprinkle the recommended dose for your pet’s size on their food. For a focus on immunity, we recommend the 5-Defenders blend, which includes several top medicinal mushrooms for immune health. Turkey Tail is another option that is known to be a strong immune-boosting mushroom.
Improve Your Pet’s Immunity with Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbs can be used to treat a wide range of issues, but Chinese medicine really shines when it comes to preventative medicine. As we all start to focus on protecting and improving our own immunity, let’s not forget about our pets’ defense systems. Boost your pet’s immune strength with the power of natural Chinese herbs.
As with all supplements, it is important to discuss the proper dosage of Chinese herbs for your pet with your trusted veterinarian.