What foods bolster a dog’s immune system?

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You’ll want dog foods that incorporate plenty of vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics.

• Vitamins: There are 16 vitamins a dog should have: Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, A, E, D, K, Pantheon, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin (also known as Vitamin H) and Choline (often grouped with the B Vitamins).

• Omega-3 fatty acids: Can prevent irregular heartbeats and obstructed blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in dogs. Can also be found in some foods like salmon and herring.

• Antioxidants: A free radical is the body’s version of rust. What rust does to a car or a boat is exactly what a free radical does to the body. Antioxidants destroy free radicals and keep the dog healthy. What’s more, antioxidants also keep your pet’s food from oxidizing (spoiling).Very often you’ll see a banner with something like “boosts immunity” on the dog food bag which usually means the food includes antioxidants.

Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables but vitamin E is one of a group of vitamins and minerals classified as antioxidants. Antioxidants help the immune system and works as a protector to cells from retroviruses, which may cause lymphoma in dogs. Vitamin E, along with selenium, works to reduce fat oxidation and maintain proper cholesterol levels. The combination with selenium also helps reduce the buildup of toxins in cells.
• Probiotics: Over 70 percent of the immune system is located in the gut. We all have beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, but it can be easily destroyed by diet and environmental factors.

When friendly bacteria is diminished or eliminated, the result is digestive, metabolic and immune disorders. Probiotics contain bacteria which return the system to normalcy and metabolize the food that remains in the animal’s system when he or she is ill, making additional nutrients available.

Probiotics help reduce lactose intolerance, prevent growth of certain yeast bacteria, remove harmful chemicals from the body, regulate bowel movements and even increase energy in the dog.

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