Diet, training, and regular exercise are important for puppies and kittens, and it’s good to start early to help ensure lifelong health. Beyond that, many can also benefit from immune support, especially if you adopted them from a shelter or rescue organization. Let’s find out why these animals might need additional immune support and what you can do to help!
Origin of the Immune System in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats develop antibodies to diseases when they’re vaccinated or exposed to a pathogen. When a female dog or cat gives birth, she passes these antibodies to her young in her first milk, called colostrum. This gives puppies and kittens immune protection from nasty childhood diseases, such as canine or feline distemper, canine parvovirus, and rabies, a fatal zoonotic disease that humans can contract. Immunity from maternal antibodies lasts about 12 weeks. Giving puppies and kittens vaccinations around four or five months boosts this waning protection.
Why Shelter Animals May Need Extra Immune Support
Puppies or kittens who are separated from or abandoned by their mothers don’t always get immune protection from colostrum. And if they’re left to fend for themselves before they’re rescued, then poor nutrition and stress can further weaken their immune systems. These immune-compromised animals are more vulnerable than most to contracting diseases. What’s more, they can’t process vaccinations effectively, leaving them without a strong defense to infections.
Mushrooms to the Rescue!
While it may seem like a no-win situation for immune-compromised puppies and kittens, there’s good news! In 2011, there was a study involving immune-compromised shelter puppies in Eastern Europe. It found that giving the puppies mushroom beta-glucans before vaccinations provided enough immune support that they were all able to build 100% protection against the diseases. All mushrooms contain beta-glucans, and they can improve immune system function.
Lion’s Mane for Immune Support
For young animals, the best mushroom for immune support is Lion’s Mane, and here’s why:
- It contains 25% beta-glucans
- You don’t need much of the mushroom powder extract to see results
- It supports cognitive and memory functions (ideal for training!)
- It can help balance the good and bad microbes in the gut microbiome, which supports immune, gastrointestinal, nervous system, and behavioral health
What to Look for in a Functional Mushroom Supplement
Along with improving your puppy’s or kitten’s response to vaccinations, mushrooms are also tasty, nutritious foods high in protein and fiber but low in carbohydrates and fats. However, not all mushroom supplements offer the same benefits, especially when it comes to beta-glucans and other active ingredients. For the most effective and potent mushroom supplements, choose products that contain actual mushrooms, not grains, fillers, or mycelium.
All Real Mushrooms products, including their Lion’s Mane extract, use pure, organic mushrooms with guaranteed potency. When you want the best immune support for dogs and cats of all ages, you want Real Mushrooms!
Dr. Robert J. Silver is a 1982 graduate of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has pioneered the use of diet, herbs and nutraceuticals in his small animal integrative practice in Boulder, Colorado for the past 25 years. He writes and speaks both domestically and internationally to veterinary audiences on the value of blending holistic modalities with conventional medicine, and is a consultant to the pet food industry. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Real Mushrooms for Pets.