Pup Immune System

by Dr. Susan Hore, DVM November 10, 2016

A new puppy - what an exciting time!  You want your puppy to have the best, to give him all the advantages you can to keep him healthy.  You’ve spent hours researching the type of dog you’d like, where to obtain him, and what to feed him, but have you given any consideration to feeding his microbiome?

The microbiome is the diverse population of microbes living in the gut that helps to breakdown the foods that aren’t digested by your dog.  But did you know that gut bacteria are also a key player in the development of the immune system?  About 70% of the immune system resides around the gut, so this is one of the main defences for the body against foreign invaders.  Just imagine the various things that your pup will encounter as she explores the environment with her mouth!

The gut bacteria and the immune cells “talk” to each other, helping the immune system to learn what it needs to attack (ie. pathogens and foreign invaders) and what to ignore (ie. foods in the diet).  If this process doesn’t work well, your pup may end up with allergies or immune-mediated diseases, where the body over-reacts to normal substances or cells.  The immune system even plays a role in cancer, as it is needed to identify and remove any abnormal cells that may grow.

Since the microbiome plays a pivotal role in developing the immune system, maintaining a healthy microbiome in your puppy should be of utmost importance.  Think of all the stresses that a puppy goes through in their first year of life:  They transition from drinking mother’s milk, a complete food, rich in prebiotics, to eating solid food.  They often must readjust to an unfamiliar environment and the loss of their mother and siblings when they are placed in a new home.  They may be exposed to parasites, viruses, and other pathogens for the first time in their life.  Their immune system may be stressed with responding to vaccinations.  They are growing and learning at an incredible rate.  Later on, they start developing hormonal fluctuations as they enter puberty or they may have a loss of these hormones and the stress of surgery when they are neutered or spayed.  It is a lot to go through in that first year and stress can be detrimental to the gut bacteria!

So when you are deciding on the best nutrition to keep your pup well as he is growing and his immune system is developing, think about keeping his microbiome healthy as well.  Ensuring that the microbiome is given appropriate substrates to nourish a healthy population of gut microbes should be a priority.  Prebiotics, such as MSPeubiotic®, can provide a source of nutrition for the healthy bacteria of the gut and give your pup the start he deserves in your loving home.

Dr. Susan Hore, DVM
Dr. Susan Hore, DVM