The experts say the immune system is the gateway to health, disease or illness, based on it's conditions. There is more information that is linking many common diseases to an unhealthy digestive system. It is echoed throughout the medical community that 70% to 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract. Beginning at the mouth, ending at the anus. The immune system consists of organs, cells, proteins and antibodies. The organs that work together with the immune system is the Thymus, Lymphatic system, Bone Marrow, Tonsils, Spleen and bowel system. In addition, each of these systems working together with another body system. You can see how quickly this can become more involved.
In the digestive system there are a number of bacteria, fungi, viruses and microorganisms. If the wrong ones enter the body's system, it can possibly cause illness. The majority of them are there to assist in the balance of a healthy digestive tract. When something enters the body's system, then the digestive system helpers are there to destroy any threats to the system. When all is balanced and working properly, this in effect, will happen. Beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics are important helpers to keep the intestinal tract healthy. Prebiotic's promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms and bacteria. In essence, Prebiotic's feed Probiotics.
Think of the immune system this way. If you are camping in the woods, not very close to assistance, you want to be prepared for all sorts of situations, whether it is an emergency or not. Having enough food, protection from the weather, place that is warm and free of bugs, a place and way to prepare food (fuel), dry storage, and emergency plans and equipment. That's a way to look at your immune system, offering all the camping supplies it needs to keep it working and operating like a well set up camp site!
Here are is a list I compiled from several sources, along with my own experiences, in optimizing a healthy immune system:
1. Love - Play Time - Social Time
Snuggles, quality time together holding, stroking and cuddling with your pets are very important. It acknowledges that you care, boosts their self-esteem & lowers the level of cortisol (stress hormone).
Include plenty of play time, outdoor time, walks, interaction with other people and time to interact with other animals. Most dogs enjoy interacting with other dogs. Time to play with other dogs. Horse's are herd animals and are happiest when they have a pasture buddy.
Some animals enjoy inter-species interaction and it satisfies the companionship they desire. Some animals find a close bond to their person, and that is most important to them.
Does your pet need a companion?
Are you gone for long hours of the day?
Each animal will require different social and play time. Some animals prefer the quiet time, and not alot of interaction with other people or pets. Other animals are more social and enjoy the activity of being with other people and animals. Learn a balance that satisfies your pet and keeps them content and happy.
The digestive system is about 70% of the immune system.
Understand the importance of feeding a RAW diet for cats and dogs. Kibble or dry food is filled with high carbs, over processed food, GMO foods, artificial colors and preservatives, etc. Even a high quality dry food is filled with potatoes, pea protein, sweet potatoes, soy and other inflammatory foods.
Saying 'no' to treats that are unhealthy is one step in the right direction. Learn how to read labels of your pets food. Take a class in caring for your pet naturally, buy a book on the natural diet for your pet, etc. Learn more about nutrition and having a species specific diet for them.
Extremely important. Many studies have been done on how stress can negatively affect the health of our pets (and ourselves). Reduce anxiety and/or depression. Understand the difference between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Anxiety. Understand what causes your animals stress and work at eliminating the stressors. Keep these levels, at least, to minimum's.
Cleaning dishes and water bowls out on a regular basis to keep bacteria and germs at a minimum. Our pets are already exposed to more toxins and environmental hazards then ever before. We won't ever be able to avoid all of them, but taking control of the parts that we can do something about is minimizing the exposures and offering assistance to the immune system to fight off any invading microorganisms, bacteria and fungi!
Very, very important. I could dedicate several blog posts on this subject! Sleep is the shelter, food & water of your pets immune system. Cognitive, physical, emotional, physiological, organs, and entire running system of their body is dependent on sleep. Even with the right food and water, without sleep, nothing else will matter and the entire immune system will be faltered.
Allow for quiet and down time for your pets, especially during times of travel, when guests visit your home, when schedules change, the arrival of new furry family members, the loss of a companion, etc.
Eliminating or minimizing chemical exposures. This would include household chemicals, chemicals in food, flea & tick chemical repellant's, vaccinations, shampoos, bedding, etc. Household chemicals indoor and outdoor exposures. Such as air freshener, household cleaners, fertilizers & pesticides on the lawn and a long list of many more. Educate yourself about the harms of using chemicals on your pets and understand the hidden messages of advertising on packages and their language.
Taking your dogs for a walk, play time with your cats, riding your horses (in and outside the arena), etc. If you are not a rider or your horse is retired, it's just as enjoyable to take your horse for a walk. When my horse had an injury and was no longer able to go for trail rides, I would take him out for long walks. It was beneficial to his injury as well as his psychological health.
9. Minimize exposure to Electric Magnetic Fields(EMF's)
Turn off the WiFi at night. Put pet beds in areas that are away from WiFi and electronic systems. Don't allow your cats to sit on the cable box or other electronics. Do NOT put your pet's bed on the opposite wall of a smart meter (located outside the home. meter that measure's electricity use digitally & remotely). Let your pet's have time in nature.
10. Supplementing Your Pet's Diet
Enzymes, probiotics, minerals & vitamins are also important to include in an all inclusive dietary program.
Do a google search and find out what are the natural ways of fighting cancer. Take a look at that list and you will gain further information about what will boost the immune system. As an example, antioxidants are commonly suggested to assist in the fight against cancer. Then know that antioxidants are also an important supplement to add to your pets diet, as a cancer preventative. Preventative is key to health.
Boost the immune system, especially during times of stress. 2 weeks before travel, start boosting the immune system. Continue with the boost till 2 weeks after you return or until stress levels have balanced out.
Do regular fecal's and use natural means to control parasites, as much as possible. Use fecal's as a way to measure parasite counts. That way your administering parasite control as needed, instead of over using chemicals, with no idea if your pet has parasites or not. There are also plenty of natural methods to control parasites, without using chemical wormers.
13. Keep Weight Down
Excess weight creates an imbalance in the immune system.
14. Dental Health
Key to heart health. Keep up with their dental health. Plaque built up in the mouth can trigger inflammation and contribute to many health issues, including diabetes, gum disease. This in turn affects the immune system. Any imbalances in the body, such as illness or disease places a strain on the body's immune system, and it ends up working over time to create equilibrium again.
I am a stickler when it comes to having enough water for pets! There was a time when tap water, as well as our well water was never a consideration that there were such toxins as mercury, lead and arsenic in the water. It is a good idea to test your water to determine what your dealing with and then make necessary changes.
Using a filtered water system, reverse osmosis water, are some options to consider.
Today it is a necessity to do regular detoxes on your pets (and ourselves), due to the consistent and uncontrollable exposure's we have to chemicals in our environments. Detoxification is much like a deposit into your savings account. The more exposure your pets have to chemicals, the more often you should consider detoxing them.
Homeopathic's, Herbs, Zeolite & Bentonite Clay, in addition to supplements that can provide the body assistance to slowly eliminate toxins.
Bentonite clay and activated charcoal are some common detoxification methods for the horses. Along with milk thistle being beneficial for most pets, to assist the liver in eliminating toxins.
There are many ideas, programs, and suggestions online from places such as; Dogs Naturally Magazine, Pet Beastro, Mercola, Dr. Dobias, many Equine practitioner's and veterinarian's.
It is best to find something your comfortable with. Do your research, dig deep, ask questions, and don't be afraid to experiment (with experienced guidance) on finding the detox that works best for your pet.