A Stronger Immune System | Paleo Ridge

A Stronger Immune System

04th January 2021 5 mins read

Maintaining a healthy diet keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight against infection, viruses and microbial attacks.

Your dog's immune system requires healthy foods. A raw, nutrient dense diet should be the top priority for your dog's health.

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Protein - The Building Block

The Immune system and good nutrition are inextricably linked. One is very much dependent on the other. Maintaining a healthy diet keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight against infection, viruses and microbial attacks, to name a few.

Paleo Ridge products are free range, wild and organic where possible. Intensively reared meat is much lower in many essential nutrients. Animals kept in poor conditions will not be healthy animals. When raw feeding, it is imperative that you feed the best quality ingredients available.

A raw diet that is naturally high in protein and essential nutrients with high bioavailability can:

  • boost immune system
  • effectively fight foreign invaders
  • promote muscle building
  • reduce inflammation and arthritis
  • improve coat and skin

Protein is the building block of immune cells. Protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are important, not just for energy, but to gather tissues in your dog. Immune system powerhouses such as antibodies and immune system cells rely on protein. A diet lacking in protein can seriously affect your dog's immune function. They may experience symptoms of fatigue, apathy, weakness, and poor immunity.

Paleo Ridge have specifically designed Classic Range 80-10-10 complete and Paleo Plus complete to meet all the nutritional needs of your dogs. A raw diet is high in essential proteins, amino acids and Omega 3 & 6 along with vitamins and minerals, all readily available in a highly digestible and natural form.

Nutrition and Immunity

The immune system's main function is to protect against foreign invaders, disease and infections, keeping your dog healthy and strong. Almost 70% of the canine immune system is located within the digestive system: mouth, stomach and intestines. In order for a dogs immune system to stay strong, it requires the right kind of fuel. A raw diet is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, with high bioavailability. This allows the body to absorb and use them much more efficiently.

Artificial and synthetic diets cause the same kind of health problems in dogs as they do in humans. Around 40% of dogs die from cancer, this is the same for humans. It's no coincidence that in both humans and dogs, this explosion in cancer, along with other diseases, corelates with the introduction of processed food over 80 years ago. Additives, preservatives and colourants in processed food, lead to all sorts of health problems. All kibbles are high in carbohydrates, this is causing an epidemic of canine obesity.

Dogs are suffering from things like:

  • diabetes
  • pancreatitis
  • IBS
  • allergies
  • skin infections
  • sensitive stomachs
  • anal gland issues
  • premature tooth decay

The list is long. All issues caused by highly processed food. These are rarely seen when feeding a natural and healthy raw diet that is appropriate for their species. A grain-heavy, additive-filled diet puts their whole system under pressure. The organs are overworked trying to digest the indigestible. It's no wonder that the immune system becomes severely compromised.

Immune System Explained

Your dog's are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all sorts. The immune system is a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, that protects against harmful microbes as well as certain diseases. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and takes immediate action.

There are 3 lines of defence against invaders:

  • Physical Barriers

The first lines of defence against invaders are mechanical or physical barriers. These include: skin, mucus that traps pathogens, stomach acid that destroys pathogens and urinary and reproductive tracts. If a barrier is broken, i.e. if the skin is broken by a wound, the risk of infection is increased.

In addition, the physical barriers are defended by "good" bacteria that live in the area and by secretions containing enzymes that can destroy harmful bacteria. Examples are; secretions in the digestive tract and normal "gut flora" (bacteria) that live in the digestive tract.

  • Nonspecific Immunity

Nonspecific (innate) immunity is present at birth. Its components treat all foreign substances in much the same way.

Acute inflammation is the most important process involved in nonspecific immunity. During inflammation, white blood cells rapidly travel from the blood into the tissues to kill invading organisms and remove injured cells.

These nonspecific types of white blood cells usually act on their own to destroy invaders. The complement system also participate in nonspecific immunity.

  • Specific Immunity

Specific (adaptive) immunity is not present at birth. Adaptive or acquired immunity is a system that learns to recognize a pathogen. It is regulated by cells and organs in your dog's body like the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. When a foreign substance enters the body, these cells and organs create antibodies and lead to multiplication of immune cells which attack and destroy it. The immune system then adapts by remembering the foreign substance so that if it enters again, these antibodies and cells are even more efficient and quick to destroy it. If encountered in the future, the response is more rapid and more effective than that generated by nonspecific immunity.

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune issue like symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO), lupus and arthritis can be partly hereditary and cause hypersensitivity. This causes immune cells to attack and destroy healthy cells.

Autoimmune disorders: can supress or completely disable the immune system and may be genetic or acquired. Acquired forms are more common and include cancers. In these cases, their bodies defences are so reduced that it becomes highly susceptible to illness from invading pathogens or antigens.

Age: as your dog gets older, their internal organs may become less efficient. Immune-related organs like bone marrow or the thymus, often don't produce enough immune cells to fight off infections. Getting older is sometimes associated with micronutrient deficiencies, leading to a decline in immune function.

Environmental toxins: like pesticides, herbicides (Glyphosates) and pollution, can negatively impact the normal activity of immune cells.

Obesity: is associated with chronic inflammation. Fat tissue produces cells that can promote inflammatory processes.

Malnutrition: or a diet lacking in nutrients can impact the production of immune cells and antibodies. Diets that are limited in variety and lower in nutrients, such as consisting primarily of ultra-processed foods and lacking in minimally processed foods, can negatively affect a healthy immune system.

Microbiome: is composed of trillions of micro-organisms or microbes that live in ours as well as dogs bodies. The microbiome plays a very important role in supporting the immune system. A mucosal membrane lines your dog’s intestinal tract. This membrane contain the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue). The GALT has special immune cells, such as lymphocytes, T and B cells. The GALT and microbiome work closely together to form up to 90% of your dog’s immune system. These cells are the main workers in the immune system. GALT is the largest organ in your dogs immune system as it is so critical. Your dog’s microbiome plays a key role not just in his nutrition, but in his health and happiness. Diet plays a large role in determining what kinds of microbes live in the intestines.

Chemical wormers, flea treatments and over vaccination: We must add a cautionary note regarding the over use of chemical wormers, flea treatments and vaccinations. As humans, we do not regularly take antibiotics, just in case we get a cold or infection. We are not advised to worm ourselves regularly as we live in close proximity to our dogs (and pick up poop). We also do not need to regularly vaccinate ourselves against an array of possible threats. Why is it then, that vets advise the routine use of harsh drugs on our dogs? If your dog does not have worms, why would you worm them? If they have no fleas, why put a vey toxic chemical treatment on them monthly?

Other Autoimmune Disorders

Over vaccinating: is a growing contributor to autoimmune disorders. Unnecessary, regular chemical worming and flea prevention treatments have a detrimental affect on a dogs immune system and health. If your dog does not have fleas or worms, think very carefully about applying harsh chemicals internally and externally.
Vaccine protocols have changed considerably and are only needed a minimum of every 3-5 years. A senior dog should definitely not be receiving annual boosters. If your vet is still recommending annual boosters, ask why? Over vaccination is extremely detrimental to a healthy immune system.

Antigens: are substances that the body labels as foreign and harmful, which triggers immune cell activity.

Allergens are one type of antigen and include:

  • grass pollen
  • chemical treatments
  • dust
  • food proteins
  • house mites

Antigens can cause a hyper-reactive response in which too many white cells are released. Sensitivity to antigens varies widely. For example, an allergy to pollen, triggers symptoms of intense itching and paw biting in a sensitive dog. However, this does not trigger a reaction in other dogs.

Inflammation: is an important, normal step in the body’s innate immune response. When pathogens attack healthy cells and tissue, a type of immune cell called mast cells counterattack and release proteins called histamines, which cause inflammation. Inflammation may generate pain, swelling, and a release of fluids to help flush out the pathogens. The histamines also send signals to discharge even more white blood cells to fight pathogens. However, prolonged inflammation can lead to tissue damage and may overwhelm the immune system.

The microbiome plays a very important role in supporting the immune system. A mucosal membrane lines your dog’s intestinal tract. This membrane contain the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue). The GALT has special immune cells, such as lymphocytes, T and B cells. The GALT and microbiome work closely together to form up to 90% of your dog’s immune system. These cells are the main workers in the immune system. GALT is the largest organ in your dogs immune system as it is so critical. So your dog’s microbiome plays a key role not just in his nutrition, but in his health and happiness.

Further Reading

15th September 2021

There are two kinds of dogs. The first kind lives to eat, you know the type, they devour anything you put in front of them and quite a few things which you don’t. The second kind of dog eats to live. These dogs are the fussy eaters, they pick and choose what they eat, take forever to finish meals, and sometimes don’t finish them at all.

Read more