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December 9, 2009 at 10:20 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Is My Dog's Diet Damaging to the Immune System?

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The immune system is the body's natural line of defense against harmful agents. The immune system can be classified by its two main actions: innate and adaptive. Innate systems are typically nonspecific, and barring medical abnormalities, all animals have an innate immune system. Adaptive immune systems have the ability to change over time with exposure to specific conditions and environments.

The Immune System: Innate Defense Systems

The first line of this defense system for your dog is nonspecific, keeping everything out, and is the same as your first line of defense, the skin. In addition, all entrances have nonspecific defense systems including stomach acid, respiratory mucous and specific chemicals located in the saliva. There are cells located throughout the body of your dog known as phagocytes, nonspecific foreign object eliminators. This line of defense is constantly at work, but is not capable of keeping out all foreign invaders. Due to this fact, your dog has a second system for defense purposes.

The Immune System: Adaptive Defense Systems

The adaptive immune system differs from innate in the fact that it is specific and only activated upon need. Adaptive defense systems are particular to specific foreign objects that enter the body. The adaptive defense system will readily attack any foreign object that enters your dog's body for destruction. This system has a complex memory system, achieved through the use of specific antigens, and readily activates to destroy recognized foreign invaders. Part of this system is inherited from birth, and others parts are developed throughout the dog's life cycle, including exposure to specific conditions and vaccinations.

The Importance of the Food Your Dog Eats

The food you give your dog should encapsulate several necessary obligations. The food should provide all of the nutrients required by the body. Dog foods are available that fulfill this purpose and the federal drug administration ensures that proper requirements are fulfilled. Dog treats are also typically produced in such a manner as to taste satisfactory to the animal while providing nutritional supplementation. Problems are usually confronted when the dog is exposed to people foods that should not be included commonly in the diet.

Immune System Necessities for Optimum Activity: Diets that Damage

As is true for all systems, the immune system has specific requirements for optimum activity. The food eaten should provide all the necessary nutrients for the proper functioning of all systems, including the immune system. The immune system is important for the overall health of your dog, and providing the necessary nutrients is essential. Not providing these nutrients, or over providing your dog with unnecessary treats can damage overall immune system health. The immune system has several key requirements ensuring proper function and overall health including:

  • Selenium: Prohibits fat oxidation and aids in the prevention of the production of free radicals.
  • Potassium: Ensures proper kidney function through fluid maintenance and the balancing of electrolytes.
  • Iron: Found prevalently in blood, is required for the production and maintenance of myoglobin and hemoglobin, responsible for oxygen delivery.


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