Relationship Between Diet And Your Pets Immune System

Photo: WSDA

Studies show that up to 70% of a pet’s immune system is contained in the digestive system, making nutrition essential for maintaining the overall health of dogs and cats. To increase awareness of the importance of gastrointestinal health in pets, Exclusive Pet Foods is proclaiming August as Pet Digestive Health Month. Dr. Michael Hayek of Exclusive Pet Foods explains how a pet’s digestive system and immune system are interconnected.

“The immune system has multiple layers of protection. So, both the skin and the digestive track are those first barriers from preventing things from entering into our system. But then there’s another layer within the digestive system which has within that digestive tissue, there are immune cells, which are surveillance cells. When we food those with things like a fiber, a prebiotic, what we find is that bacteria uses that, and then it has some biproducts that it expresses and those byproducts will interact with the tissue of the digestive system and some of those can be very healthy for the digestive system. Some of those byproducts as well can interact with immune cells and help support that ability to have a good immune system response.”

A healthy digestive system is critical for a pet’s immune system to work at its best. Hayek said the Comfort Care Digestive Health Support System can help.

“The Comfort Care Digestive Health Support System focuses on a specific combination of nutrients including fiber from our beet pulp source which has a lot of benefits, probiotics that are added to the diet, and then there are things called prebiotics which specifically feeds certain populations of the microbiome. And this includes our chicory root that’s in there, as well as our specific yeast that’s in there. And all of these are combined in a specific way at a specific level to support digestive health. We’ve researched this specific combination to make sure through our nutrition studies that we can see markers that tell us that we are providing that digestive health benefit.”

Because animals have a eat first and ask questions later mentality, he said its important to monitor what your pets are eating.

“They don’t always think about everything that they’re digesting and whether or not if we’re going to have a problem. The most dangerous examples I can give you are something like chocolate or some houseplants that actually can go to a point of being totally poisionous. But there are other things in the house. How many times have you had a dog or cat get into the garbage and then have some digestive issues after? Or, I also think about my backyard. I live out in the country, so we have a lot of animals that go through the backyard and they can tend to leave presents that can affect the digestive health of my dog. So, by monitoring and trying to help them avoid some negative things can help them maintain that good digestive system.”

Hayek had additional tips for pet owners.

“The other thing that can be a challenge to them is different types of stress. For example. If you bring a new person, such as a baby, into the family or a new pet into the family, that kind of stress or other stresses such as a lot of fireworks. They’re temporary, but they can have digestive issues from those types of things. Probably the most common thing that we think about is vacation. I know in my household as soon as we bring out suitcases, both of our dog’s start looking a little anxious of where are you going now. So, during those times, really keeping a very consistent diet, being aware of stresses, trying to minimize them if possible, and having diets that contain combinations such as we just described with Comfort Care will help that animal support digestive health through those times of stress as well.”

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