Every day, your German Shepherd immune system deals with countless germs. It can do with your help to improve its chance of fighting common illness. How to strengthen your dog’s defenses with proper nutrition, read here.
In this post you will learn:
- What impact gut health and mitochondria have on your GSD immune system.
- With which supplementary feed you can support your Shepherd with weak defenses specifically.
What does gut health have to do with your German Shepherd immune system?
It is often said that the skin is the largest organ of the body. However, the gastrointestinal tract has a much larger surface through which the organism is in contact with the outside world. It is the most important and largest gateway for pathogens.
Since it is only logical that the vast majority of the immune system in the immediate vicinity of the gastrointestinal tract is home. An example that everyone knows is the pharynx – the gatekeepers at the entrance. Throughout the rest of the gastrointestinal tract countless lymph nodes, from which the immune cells go on patrol in the intestinal wall.
Inside the intestine, a mucus layer packed with antibodies and a healthy intestinal flora (also called microbiome) ensure that no unwanted germs can settle.
This so-called intestinal barrier can fail if :
- the intestinal flora is disturbed (dysbiosis),
- the intestine is inflamed (enteritis) or even
- the immune system is impaired.
Then pathogens have the chance to cause mischief in the gut or even to get into the organism of your dog and multiply there. External factors such as mental stress or heavy physical stress also have a negative effect on the intestinal barrier.
How to support your GSD intestinal barrier ?
What your dog eats plays a crucial role in gut health and a functioning gut barrier. for example
- Dietary fiber provides valuable nutrition for the desired intestinal bacteria;
- the composition of the microbiome depends on the quantity and quality of the nutrients (eg carbohydrates, proteins).
- Vitamin A and zinc are important for the health of all mucous membranes.
… The list is endless. That’s why it’s so important to feed a high-quality complete feed adapted to the needs of your dog. But that alone is not enough in some life situations. In practice, veterinarians see many dogs struggling with weak defenses and hypersensitive digestion. In these patients, they regularly use supportive bovine colostrum in practice to promote intestinal health and defenses.
Colostrum (or colostrum) is the first milk received by newborn mammals and has little to do with the later “mature milk”. Colostrum provides the crucial kick for starting by adding:
- the immature immune system with antibodies (immunoglobulins) supports the mother
- bring the development of the immune system and the gastrointestinal tract into action with a unique cocktail of bioactive substances (eg growth factors),
- Contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral ingredients that can render pathogens harmless (eg the essential fatty acid DHA, lysozyme, lactose etc.).
Colostrum can also promote intestinal health and the immune system in adult dogs. It:
- acts probiotically (thus promotes a healthy intestinal flora, eg by oligosaccharides)
- and antioxidant,
- strengthens the intestinal barrier and immune defense directly in the intestine
- strengthens the immune system as a whole and brings it into balance (immunomodulation)
For example, people taking bovine colostrum were better protected against influenza viruses. In dogs, it could be shown that they were better protected against distemper if they were fed at the same time as vaccination also bovine colostrum. They had more antibodies in the blood and gut inside than a control group that was only vaccinated.
The colostrum feed supplement only should be from the first ten hours after birth, using valuable, with a high content of protective antibodies (immunoglobulins). It is recommended that only about 15 percent of the colostrum of each cow is used for production, so that more than enough is left for the newborn calf.
Since we know that many chronically ill dogs suffer from vitamin D deficiency, some manufacturers vitamin D which is very important for the immune system.
What gets the immune system going?
As you read this, unimaginably many immune reactions are going on in your body and, of course, your dog’s. Each one requires energy generated by the “power plants of the cells”, the so-called mitochondria . The power plants are weakened, lacking energy for the immune system. But what do the mitochondria need in order to function optimally?
The energy production in the cell power plants is very complicated. Many small intermediate steps and many helpers (enzymes) are needed. The enzymes, in turn, need helpers (co-factors) to work. We know these accomplices as vitamins , minerals and trace elements .
However, mitochondrial energy production (as with large power plants too) is not entirely free of “side effects”. This produces a large number of aggressive chemical compounds, so-called oxidants and free radicals, which can severely damage the body’s cells if they are not kept in check by antioxidants . Of course, the body has developed several security systems to protect against these attacks. But there are stress situations in which the security systems are overwhelmed. The balance between oxidants and antioxidants is disturbed and so-called oxidative stress arises. In the worst case, oxidative stress leads to the death of the affected cell. In any case, she is disturbed in her function.
According to the current state of science, oxidative stress plays a central role in the development of many chronic diseases and impairments of the immune system.
The all-around carefree happy package for the immune system of your German Shepherd.
Who wants to support the immune system of his dog, so must take care of its mitochondria and not always sufficient for a high-quality food alone. At the latest when :
- You find that your dog is sick again and again.
- He develops more health problems as he grows older,
- suffers from a chronic illness,
- recover from surgery or a serious illness (convalescence) or
- exposed to special loads, such as
- social stress in a pack or
- physical stress (eg in hunting or dog sports),
… you should support him with a supplementary feed. It is best not to let it get so far that the immune system is overwhelmed.
Ensuring that the mitochondria are well-supplied and able to work optimally is one of our key goals for patients with immune deficiency. To support the regeneration of mitochondria, you can provide a natural supplement that provides your dog with minerals, trace elements and vitamins, numerous antioxidants, as well as immunostimulating and immune modulating plant polyphenols that can help rebalance the immune system on a natural basis.
As a supplement to a high-quality dog food, you should provide your Shepherd immune system with optimal working conditions. So your dog can develop the best immune protection.