Dog parents are typically concerned about all aspects of their canine’s life. After all, dogs are an essential part of our lives, and they’re more like family members. However, at times certain canine tendencies can be a bit puzzling to owners. For example, how canines don’t fall sick despite not having the best hygiene standards. So, how come dogs don’t get sick?
Generally, dogs don’t get sick due to their lack of exposure to outside elements. Dogs come into contact with pathogens significantly less than humans. They also have a strong immune response due to their saliva, stomach pH levels, and a protein-rich diet.
If you’re curious about learning the secret of your pet’s immunity, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will highlight all possible reasons why dogs tend to tackle pathogens better than humans, along with pointers on how to tell if your pet isn’t feeling well.
Reasons Why Dogs Don’t Get Sick
Before we embark on a quest to figure out the secret to your canine’s super-strong immunity, we’d like to take a moment to discuss how accurate the belief that dogs don’t get sick is.
Experts will tell you that canines are susceptible to a whole host of diseases; these include distemper (doggy version of measles), diabetes, cancer, dementia, etc. Not to mention, dogs also have to watch out for canine-specific diseases like bloat, heartworms, leptospirosis, among others.
So saying dogs don’t get sick is entirely inaccurate. However, certain factors of your canine’s life may offer it an edge in terms of pathogen immunity. In our humble opinion, that is what dog parents should consider when trying to understand their pet’s well-being.
Canine Saliva Is Alkaline And Antibacterial
Unlike humans, a dog’s saliva doesn’t contain any digestive enzymes to help it digest food better. Nonetheless, canine saliva has a pH range of 7.5 to 8 and includes antibacterial properties as well.
But how does any of that help canines stay healthy? To begin with, the fact that canine saliva is alkaline means dogs have fewer chances of developing cavities, which contributes to better oral health. And, oral health, as well all know, is linked to digestive health and overall wellness.
Secondly, canine saliva contains chemicals that make it antibacterial (for dogs, not humans). That’s why wounds on your canine’s body tend to heal faster with licking. This speedy recovery process can be another reason dogs dodge many illnesses because pathogens don’t get the chance to enter through their skin and cause trouble.
Highly Acidic Stomach
Did you know the pH levels of your canine’s stomach acid can hit levels as low as 1.0 (something along the lines of battery acid)? That’s fascinating, right?
The highly acidic nature of a dog’s digestive system is also what helps keep your pet safe from nasties like E.Coli and other contaminants. Pathogens that enter your pet’s system by eating or drinking something full of germs tend to die in its digestive system because of the high pH levels.
See, a dog’s digestive system is a mish-mash of all the best traits of carnivores and omnivores. Their acidic stomach is more of a carnivorous feature – designed to help break down meat and bones without any problems.
On the other hand, their mid-sized intestine helps canines digest plant-based foods better – a trait canines can thank evolution for. When humans started domesticating the wolf-ancestors of present-day dogs, their systems probably adapted to a human diet that includes meat, vegetables, and fruits.
So, long story short, canines have a robust digestive system, equipped to handle a varied diet. What’s more, the high pH level of a canine’s stomach acid also contributes to its immunity by eliminating a variety of pathogens.
Canines require a protein-rich diet for optimal health. Protein is a macronutrient that includes amino acids, essential for tissue growth and repair in dogs.
However, a protein-centric diet can also be one of the reasons behind your pet’s immunity. For instance, humans have been relying on whey protein as an immunity booster for centuries.
With all the benefits of protein for dogs, it’s not difficult to see why it could also contribute to their ability to fight off infections. The best part is that dogs, like humans, can derive protein from meat and other sources like beans, etc.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick
It’s possible that the misconception – dogs don’t get sick – may have developed from the fact that canines can’t communicate when they’re not feeling well. Plus, if you consider that dogs prefer hiding and being on their own when feeling under the weather, the suspicion becomes even likelier.
Whatever the reason behind people feeling doggy immunity is better than human immunity, dog parents need to know if their pet is falling ill. That way, you’ll be able to get your pet the help it deserves all the quicker.
More often than not, even different illnesses can share a symptom or two that can help alert you to your canine’s condition. Here’s what a few of them are:
● Low-energy levels
● Reluctance to move
● Lack of interest in any activity
● Excessive thirst
How Can You Boost Your Dog’s Immunity
When we talk about immunity, we’re referring to several systems of your pet’s body that work in sync to promote your dog’s health. That means there’s no one clear-cut way of boosting a canine’s immunity.
Instead, if you’re interested in boosting your dog’s overall immunity, you need to work on a comprehensive approach. For example, it’s not enough to ensure your pet eats only the best ingredients, but you also need to work on adequate exercise and mental health.
It is always best to rely on reputable dog food brands that don’t use fillers for your pet to ensure your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs. Then, you can add something extra to the routine by relying on natural snacks that also promote health, like dental snacks.
Exercise is an essential component of your canine’s care routine and shouldn’t be overlooked ever. And, finally, work on promoting your dog’s mental health by providing it enough stimulus and care to keep it busy and away from behavioral concerns.