How to Keep Your Puppy Safe from Digestive Upsets During the ‘Immunity Gap’ Period
If your pup is between 4 to 12 weeks old, he is in an “immunity gap”. Puppies are born with partial immunity. The colostrum-rich “first milk” of the mother provides support. However, this protection does not last long. Immune strength falls through as soon as the puppy is weaned off mother’s milk and solids are introduced, typically, at the age of 4 weeks. The following 8 week period is when the antibodies weaken exposing the pup to a multitude of infections. Digestive upsets become a regular affair. Here’s how you can keep your little one safe.
Probiotics for Gut Health
Probiotics are healthy bacteria living in the gut that helps in converting sugars to fatty acids and vitamins. They also help in fighting respiratory and urinogenital infections. Probiotics are present in meats and yogurt. They can also be administered through supplements. Ask your vet for suggestions.
Prebiotics Play a Key Role
Prebiotics help in multiplying the population of microbes inside the dog’s gut. Adding a prebiotic supplement can even help in reducing inflammation and regulating bowel movements. However, prebiotics can also fuel the growth of harmful bacteria living inside the intestines too. Therefore, they need to be introduced gradually. Once the pup settles with low doses of supplements, higher doses can be advised.
Colostrum for Immune Support
Even after being weaned off mother’s milk, pups will still need colostrum support for strengthening the immune response. The best puppy food during this time is one fortified with colostrum. Colostrum fortified dog food will enhance immunity and protect him from digestive ailments. Dog food brands which provide a combination of colostrum and essential nutrients for joint health is most recommended.
Fermented Foods Work Well
Fermented foods help improve antioxidants and introduce beneficial microorganisms in the pup’s gut. They have a high concentration of live microbes, aiding digestion. Alongside the best puppy food with colostrum, fermented foods like turmeric and glasswort also help in boosting immune response, protecting the dog from intestinal infections. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Unnecessary Vaccines Can Cause More Harm Than Good
Core Vaccines are all your puppy needs for a healthy life. The 5 in 1 DHHPP shot that covers distemper, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and two types of hepatitis is a must. Nothing more is actually required. Unnecessary vaccines can aggravate digestive issues, lead to allergies, lethargy, and lots more.
Never Feed Human Food
This is easier said than done. Throwing scraps of food to your pup during mealtime is a common practice for most dog parents. Letting your dog eat your food can cause serious gut problems for him, leading to stomach aches, gassiness, and indigestion. Stick strictly to the best puppy food with high-class ingredients. Supplement with natural foods that have been suitably prepared for your pup, just as your vet would advise.
Adhere to the deworming schedule laid out by your vet. While medications are available for deworming, herbs like Chamomile and Black Walnut also work wonders when introduced gradually into your puppy’s diet. In fact, there are dog parents who prefer natural herbs since deworming medicines can sometimes cause stomach upsets.