How to Boost Your Dog’s Immunity During the COVID-19 Outbreak?

Dog with surgical mask

 

When news broke that a Pomeranian in Hong Kong had tested positive for COVID-19, it undoubtedly created some fear in us1. Does this now mean that our pets are potential transmitters of this virus? After all, according to WHO, coronavirus is zoonotic – meaning that the virus is transmitted between animals and people2.

Before sending more waves of panic – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that there is currently no evidence on pets becoming sick or carrying potential risks for spreading the disease3. The test results of the Pomeranian were a ‘weak positive’4.

Indeed, such findings would calm us down. However, a German Shepherd has caught the coronavirus from its infected owner – marking it the second human-to-dog transmission case in Hong Kong5. Although chances of dogs spreading the virus are slim, there’s no time like now to start strengthening their immune systems. As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. What better way than to reduce their chances of falling ill in the first place?

Here are four simple meal additions we could consider giving them to bolster their immune systems:

Mangosteen Whole Fruit

 

1. Mangosteen5
They contain a unique group of antioxidants called xanthones, and works in several ways to maintain the immune system. For instance:
• Supporting cardiovascular health
• Optimizing joint flexibility
• Providing antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory support
• Killing cancerous cells(photo)

 

Assortment of fresh mushrooms

 

2. Mushrooms
There are a variety of medicinal mushrooms such as:

    • Reishi: With anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects. It also contains triterpenes that produces a special protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF). TNF regulates immune cells and kills cancer cells.
    • Maitake: Contains a very high concentration of a unique polysaccharide compound called beta-1, 6-glucan. Researchers consider this beta-glucan to be one of the most powerful immune stimulants known. Overall, it helps prevent the spread of cancer (metastasis) and slows or stops the growth of tumours.
      Other immune-boosting mushrooms include chaga, shiitake, cordyceps and Phellinus. The recommended dose of mushroom is 200mg of each mushroom for a medium-sized dog.

 

3. Probiotics
Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids lactic acid and acetic acid, which in turn discourages the growth of pathogenic bacteria. This results in lesser chronic inflammation in the body which helps in disease prevention. They can be fed to your dogs a few times each week as prevention.

 

Fresh-food-with-Vitamin-D

 

4. Vitamin D
Another immune modulator, it is important to keep the Vitamin D levels high. Dogs with low vitamin D levels are more likely to develop pneumonia.

Some other nutrients to be considered would be vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, E and B-6, zinc, selenium, linoleic acid and lutein . These nutrients like herbs and unprocessed vegetables are good sources of antioxidants activity, which make them immune-supportive. Antioxidants are also more profound when they come from a natural source rather than consumed in the form of a pill or capsule.

 

Woman hugging brown dog

 

In a trying and crucial period like this, everybody is doing what they can to fend off the virus. Let us continue working together in keeping ourselves healthy, but not forget our fur buddies who need us to keep them safe from diseases too!

 

References:

[1] https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/8991-dog-infected-by-coronavirus-covid-19-in-hong-kong

[2] https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html

[4] https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/covid-19-faq-pet-owners.pdf

[5] https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/boosting-your-dogs-immune-system/